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The X-Files: The Complete Third Season

Ask any serious X-phile which season is the best of the entire X-Files series, and more often than not you'll hear "Season Three, of course." Why? Conspiracy buffs got their fill with several new installments in the "mythology" saga, while outstanding writing contributed to a handful of memorable "stand-alone" episodes that are now part of X-Files lore. Starting off in the midst of a three-episode arc (with a Mulder-about-to-die cliffhanger at the end of Season Two), the initial episodes "The Blessing Way" and "Paper Clip" provide some insight into the alien conspiracy (we meet the Well-Manicured Man for the first time and also learn why Mulder's sister was abducted). Later episodes — including "Nisei," "731," "Piper Maru," "Apocrypha," and the clever "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space' " — propel the narrative to another cliffhanger in "Talitha Cumi." Additional non-mythology episodes in this box include the much-praised "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," featuring Peter Boyle, and the inventive cockroach creep-out "War of the Coprophages." Fox's seven-disc The X-Files: The Complete Third Season offers 24 episodes and a host of supplements on the final disc, including the 21-minute doc "The Truth About Season Three"; brief segments with series creator Chris Carter, who discusses 12 episodes; 17 "Behind the Truth" promos that originally ran on the F/X cable network during the show's syndicated run; six deleted scenes, five with optional commentary from Carter; a look at the special effects in seven short segments, with commentary by visual effects producer Mat Beck; and the original promos for all 24 episodes, most including both 10-second and 20-second spots. Best of all, and appearing for the first time in the X-Files DVD series, are two full-length commentaries with individual episodes — director Kim Manners offers a track on "Apocrypha," while director Rob Bowman and writer Darren Morgan can be heard during "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space.' " It all comes in a seven-DVD digipak in a paperboard slip-case, an attractive package that is standard for the entire X-Files collection.

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