The X-Files: Black Oil

Twentieth Century Fox plunges ahead with the release of its second X-Files "mythology" box set, Black Oil, this time featuring 15 select episodes from seasons three to five, all dealing with a few of the show's many conspiracy plot lines. The episodes in this set cover, as the title suggests, the mysterious black oil, Scully's ongoing battle with the cancer purportedly given to her as a result of her abduction (though the actual abduction episodes are housed in the first "mythology" box) and the deadly swarms of bees. For the uninitiated, it should be noted that the shows that make up the Black Oil box are the same ones that begin to set the stage for The X-Files feature film Fight The Future, which falls just after season five in the show's mythos. More important than the plot points, however, are the special features, especially considering that most fans will already own the complete series on DVD. In terms of the "mythology" boxes alone, the Black Oil collection is slightly more disappointing than the previous Abduction set. Black Oil only adds three new director commentaries (R.W. Goodwin on "Talitha Cumi," Rob Bowman on "Memento Mori," and Kim Manners on "Max") to those previously available in the season boxes, while Abduction added five. There is also another all-new "Threads of Mythology" documentary by Chris Carter here, similar to the one included with the first box, and a second collectible "mythology" timeline fold-out. The most curious aspect of watching the "mythology" episodes on their own and out of context with the rest of the series is that one loses the sense of time between shows, something that is necessary to keep the pacing believable. It has yet to be seen if fans will embrace this new form of delivery but truth be told, even though almost every fan has at one point or another considered watching a marathon of "mythology" episodes, it still feels like a blatant cash grab by Fox to milk an old franchise while they still can, especially when you consider that the complete season DVD box sets of The X-Files were among the highest priced for a TV series ever. (Fox)