Jose Chung’s “The Manna Machine”*

The new X-Files series is three episodes of six in so far, but only begins airing in the UK tomorrow. Whilst I’ve managed to resist the urge to sniff around online for the episodes themselves I’ve quite happily spoiled myself silly, especially reading up on the fan reviews/reaction to the Darin Morgan episode: Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster which stars Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight Of The Conchords and Not-a-Swearwolf from What We Do In The Shadows).

If you don’t know, Darin Morgan is the writer responsible for many of the touchstone humorous, self-aware episodes of the original run, my all time favourite Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (in which the titular psychic reveals in passing how Mulder and Scully** will die), Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (bleep-de-bleep, Jesse Ventura, mandroid with too-red hair), Humbug (Jim Rose circus performers, the proper meaning of the word geek) and War Of The Coprophages (deadly cockroach invasion of Earth or is it?). He also acted, notably playing the schlubby, shapechanging guy who fathers children with tails by impersonating Luke Skywalker and, er, Fox Mulder, in Small Potatoes written by Vince Gilligan.

If this sounds like:

  • I’m more excited to see his new episode than I am by the return of the series;
  • I’ve been reading someone’s Wikipedia page

then you may consider yourself an observant reader.

Jose_Chung

I’ve rewatched favourite X-Files episodes any number of times on my manky old VHS-off-the-telly copies, but the fact had totally escaped me that Darin Morgan also wrote a couple of episodes of Millennium, which I’ve also got kicking about.

Both Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense and Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me are entirely enjoyable as standalone episodes, even for people who’ve never watched the show. JCDD is a typically humorous piece which sees the return of author Jose Chung from his X-Files episode investigating an NRM called “Selfosophy” and the outcast members a.k.a. “Ratfinkovitches”.

S,SGBM is an anthology episode about a group of old devils meeting up and swapping stories of human corruption in a diner, like something out of The Sopranos. It could fit in any supernatural or darkly-comic horror series. Again the humour and the vim of the older actors is a source of joy throughout. If you only try one of the two, watch this.

I do recommend watching both if you’re at all interested in the subject matter. They may or may not be available for streaming, certainly the DVDs are out there on Amazon and elsewhere. Failing that searching YouTube should find lo-res copies if you’re willing to put up with the quality.

Roll on tomorrow’s first X-Files series 10 episode by Chris Carter and that new Darin Morgan one in a fortnight!

TheMannaMachine

*The Manna Machine is actually a 1970s von Däniken-type book which has lurked half-recollected in my mind far longer than my copy held out on this poor Earth, not a custom device for delivering new Darin Morgan X-Files episodes

**auto-erotic asphyxiation and “You don’t” respectively

 

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