6WH: Televised Miracles, Havens, and more

I love The X-Files. I revisited the series last year, mostly focusing on the one-off creature-of-the-week type episodes (someday, I will go back and revisit the continuity episodes, but that day is not today). Now, we could quibble about it, but to me, The X-Files is a horror show, and it's probably my favorite horror TV show of all time. Sure, there are plenty of Twilight Zone or Tales From the Crypt episodes that I think are great, but they're anthologies and are more uneven experiences than The X-Files, where I generally enjoy spending time with Mulder and Scully, even in lackluster episodes. Since the X-Files has gone off the air, I have often found myself jonesing for this type of show. There are, in fact, many pretenders to the throne, but they never seem to scratch that itch perfectly. This is partly just the nature of the beast: the show I think I want would be seen as derivative and probably very boring. These pretenders, shows like Fringe, Warehouse 13 (which has the added bonus of also being a sorta reprise of that old Friday the 13th series (you remember that, right? The one without Jason?)), and Supernatural (amongst many others), all have their merits and indeed have carved out an identity of their own (as well they should), but they just can't seem to hit that sweet spot the X-Files so consistently targeted. Despite that, I do still find myself checking out shows, new and old, in the hopes that they'll fill the X-Files shaped hole in my media consumption. And what better time to try this out than during the 6 Weeks of Halloween? Here's a few shows/episodes I've watched recently:
  • Miracles - Episode 101 "The Ferguson Syndrome" - Described by the series creators as a "spiritual version of The X-Files", which sounds promising. The premise is interesting too. Paul Callan (played by Skeet Ulrich) is a modern-day investigator of alleged miracles for the Catholic Church. The only problem: Callan is so good at his job that he finds mundane explanations for every supposed "miracle" that comes his way. He gets burnt out and goes on a sabbatical, but it isn't long before his mentor, father "Poppi" Calero (played by Hector Elizondo) calls him and asks him to look into a local kid who may have healing powers. Spoiler alert: the kid's for real, but when he heals someone, he only hurts himself. Convinced that he's witnessed a true miracle, he excitedly reports back to the Church, who brushes the whole incident aside for lack of evidence. Well screw that noise, Callan quits and starts up with Sodalitas Quaerito ("brotherhood in search of truth") who look into all sorts of wacky crap. Yay! Suffers from typical pilot episode issues, but it's all promising enough. And creepy too!
  • Miracles - Episode 102 "The Friendly Skies" - Ah, now we get into real X-Files territory. A plane on approach disappears right in front of the tower's eyes. About a minute later it reappears. The authorities are baffled, and the passengers are all telling weird stories and displaying weird symptoms. Who you gonna call? Sodalitas Quaerito! So it doesn't roll off the tongue like "Ghostbusters" but I guess it's good enough. Decent enough episode, with a bunch of hokey aspects, but it works well.
  • Miracles - Episode 103 "The Patient" - Another very X-Filesy premise here, a doctor working with totally paralyzed patients starts to see signs of intelligence. Is his treatment working, or is it the work of... a demon!? I'll give you one guess. For the first time, the series tries to show a sense of humor (it's been very stoic so far), and it's not quite as effective as it wants to be. There's also a "twist" that you can see coming, oh, within the first 10 minutes. Still, it's fine, if not a prized episode. Thus ended disc 1, and I'm on the fence as to whether or not I'll move disc 2 up in the Netflix queue. It's certainly not a home run, but it ain't bad and there's some potential here. Of course, there's only 13 episodes and this thing got canceled after 6, but it might be worth burning through the rest of them.
  • Haven - Episode 1 "Welcome to Haven" - Based (perhaps loosely so) on a Stephen King novel (The Colorado Kid), this seems to start very much like the X-Files, it even follows an FBI agent! Special Agent Audrey Parker gets sent to the small town called Haven in Maine. Naturally, all sorts of weird crap is going on, like oddly specific weather patterns and whatnot. It's a bit loose, but as a first episode, I think they've set up the main players and it seems fun enough, if not particularly horrific. It's on Netflix Instant, so I'll probably check out at least a few more episodes.
  • Hemlock Grove - Episode 1 "Jellyfish in the Sky" - Hoo boy, this Netflix Original series from Eli Roth is pretty horrible. This first episode is damn near unwatchable. There are some interesting elements, but on the other hand, there are a lot of pointless elements. There's some sort of werewolf thing going on right now, but I get the impression that there's lots of other supernatural junk going on. And gypsies! Again, it's no Netflix Instant, so it's possible that I'll check out another episode... but not likely!
And that's all for now. Stay tuned for some long-shelved movies on Sunday!