Monsters of the Week: The X-Files Complete Critical Companion

Monsters of the Week: The X-Files Complete Critical Companion 1

The Complete Critical Companion to the X-Files

by Zack HandlenEmily Todd VanDerWerff and Patrick Leger

Hardback Publication Date: 16/10/2018

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $39.99 $31.50

In 1993, Fox debuted a strange new television show called The X-Files. Little did anyone suspect that the series would become one of the network's biggest hits-and change the landscape of television in the process.

Now, on the occasion of the show's 25th anniversary, TV critics Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff unpack exactly what made this haunting show so groundbreaking. Witty and insightful reviews of every episode of the series, revised and updated from the authors' popular A.V. Club recaps, leave no mystery unsolved and no monster unexplained.

This crucial collection even includes exclusive interviews with some of the stars and screenwriters, as well as an original foreword by X-Files creator and showrunner Chris Carter. This complete critical companion is the book about The X-Files, the definitive guide whether you're a lifelong viewer wanting to relive memories of watching the show when it first aired or a new fan uncovering the conspiracy for the first time.

Literary essays
Publication Date:
Abrams, Inc.
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):
Zack Handlen

Zack Handlen is a freelance writer whose critical work regularly appears online at The A.V. Club. He has written for io9, Inverse, and the now shuttered The Toast. He is the author of If You Like Monty Python (Limelight, 2011), an entry in Hal Leonard's If You Like... series.

This item is in stock in our Sydney warehouse and typically delivered to you within 4 working days for most Australian capitals. 

Once despatched we will send you a Shipping Notification which includes online tracking.


An overall delivery time for this item to your address is:

NSW Metro: 2 - 4 working days.
NSW Regional: 3 - 5 working days.
VIC & SA Metro: 2 - 4 working days.
VIC & SA Regional: 3 - 5 working days.
QLD Metro: 3 - 5 working days.
QLD Regional: 8 - 14 working days.
TAS: 3 - 5 working days.
WA Metro: 5 - 7 working days.
WA Regional: 6 - 9 working days.
NT Metro: 6 - 8 working days.
NT Regional: 8 - 14 working days.


Express Post is available if ALL items in your Shopping Cart are listed as 'In Stock 2-4 days'. Express Post orders are delivered in two business days to the following locations:

NSW - Sydney, Gosford, Newcastle, Wollongong.
VIC - Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo.
ACT - Canberra.
SA - Adelaide.
QLD - Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast.
TAS - Hobart, Launceston.
WA - Perth CBD postcode 6000 only.
NT - Express Post is not available.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Mostly Balanced Critiques

    by on

    There was always going to be some disagreement between myself and the authors; you can’t be this invested in a series for so long and not have strong opinions about it. While the writers shredded some episodes that I count amongst my favourites, most of their comments were a fair balance of the good, the bad and the creepy. However, sometimes the criticism was so critical that it had me wondering at times if this pair even liked The X-Files.

    I adored Patrick Leger’s cover artwork and the illustrations accompanying each section of the book. There are several of these that I’d love to have framed. I do appreciate how much time and effort has gone into this book. Besides watching or rewatching 11 series of TV and two movies between them, Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff have tackled all of the monsters and mythology in a fair amount of detail; ranging from half a page to over three pages of commentary per episode. The authors also really like footnotes; most pages have several, ranging from really interesting extra information to seemingly random.

    As a huge fan I wanted this read to feel as passionate about the series as I am and it was to a point. There were some quotes I loved:

    “Mulder’s defining trait is his willingness to charge headlong into danger if he thinks he will find the answers he seeks, and Scully’s defining trait is her willingness to ultimately trust her partner, even when she doesn’t believe him.”

    “The X-Files is a cop show, yes, but it’s also one in which you could wake up in a safe, standard reality, then turn the wrong corner and end up becoming a thing that goes bump in the night. No one is safe, and any given door could lead to madness.”

    While I loved most of their take on the first few seasons I found the book became a bit of a slog to get through towards the end as it became more focused on the negative when discussing the later seasons:

    “you won’t just be wondering why you decided to watch this episode; you’ll be wondering why you decided to watch a show that could produce an episode this bad at all.”

    “The X-Files has been reheating its leftovers for several seasons now”

    “The X-Files is frantically trying to find a new reason to justify its own existence as it circles the drain.”

    I had some objections when criticisms were made based on what is or isn’t acceptable today without consideration for the time that the majority of this series was made, when we thought computers were going to do some really scary things once the clock stuck midnight at the end of 1999. In particular the embarrassment the writers supposedly felt by being two white men critiquing a TV show written predominantly by white men irked me. By focusing so much on the gender, racial and cultural inequalities of the show they missed the obvious; Scully, being such a strong lead, inspired so many women to study and go on to work in STEM.

    If you’re not already a fan you probably won’t pick this book up anyway but if you are just beginning your journey to find the truth out there I’d definitely recommend watching each episode prior to reading the commentary about them to avoid spoilers.

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Abrams Press for the opportunity to read this book.

You can find this item in: