X-FILES‘ third season made a major addition to the mythos in the form of a black, oozing oil that can take over the bodies of whoever it comes in contact with. It’s tied in to the alien agenda, though as usual its hard to say how or what it wants. This also establishes the conspiracy is tied in with Paperclip (the operation that brought Nazi war criminals to the U.S. to work for us) and with various Japanese WW II experiments on POWs. The highlight though was Charles Nelson Reilly as smirking author Jose Chung in “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” Chung is doing a book on UFO beliefs and his clout has gotten him access to the X-Files so he follows along on Scully and Mulder’s latest investigation. As he interviews people we get a great moment where someone who encountered the agents assures Chung they were extraterrestrial men in black (“Her hair was a shade of red not found in nature.”). Overall, a good season.
S4 was a lot less interesting to me. The highpoint was the non-mytharc episode “Never Again” in which Scully refuses one of Mulder’s assignments and then asks the obvious questions: why does he always pick the assignments? Why doesn’t she have a desk in their basement office? Lampshading the sexist aspects doesn’t solve them but it was nice to see her rebel. Otherwise things proceed as normal, though with an unusual finish, “Gethsemane,” in which Mulder apparently commits suicide after learning he’s a dupe. A man tells Fox that the government uses UFO sighting to distract people from other issues they don’t want them thinking about so Mulder promoting the myth is serving the officials he thinks he’s exposing. This isn’t convincing — he’s hardly a public figure, after all — but it is a clever twist. Overall though, the show is running out of steam for me. “The lies are so deep, the only way to cover them is with an even bigger lies.”
LILO AND STITCH (2002) has a mad scientist’s genetically engineered agent of destruction escape confinement and flee to Earth, where it’s taken in by lonely little Lilo in the belief he’s a strange-looking dog. This would double-bill well with The Iron Giant for another example of a living weapon tamed by a child’s friendship. It becomes quite charming as it progresses but in the early scenes Stitch isn’t that different from ALF. With Ving Rhames as CIA agent Cobra Bubbles, Tia Carrera as Lilo’s big sister and caregiver and David Ogden Stier as Stitch’s creator. “In case you’re wondering, things did not go well.”
ALIENS ATE MY HOMEWORK (2018) has a tween boy enlisted by action figure-sized alien cops to help track down an alien supervillain plotting the conquest of Earth. Unremarkable kidvid, based on the first of a four-book series by Bruce Coville. “In a civilized galaxy, cruelty to others is the greatest crime of all.”
I had more fun with CAN OF WORMS (1999) in which a teenage nerd’s Worst Day Ever convinces him to call outer space for someone to take him away, as he’ll clearly never be happy on Earth. This gets him saddled with an oozing blob of an alien lawyer (“We could sue the pants off planet Earth!”), a wise talking dog voiced by Malcolm McDowell and a villain exploiting a legal loophole (contacting galactic civilization proves Earth’s advanced enough it doesn’t need protection). This had way too much teen angst for me to get into it, but it definitely had its moments. “You made me feel something no-one else did — that I belonged here.”
#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.