E. B. E. was a first season X-Files episode. For the most part it was very much like any other episode in the early years of the hit series, except it wasn’t. The story introduced us to three of Mulder’s friends/contacts, The Lone Gunmen. Basically Frohike, Langly, and Byers were your typical 80’s dot com geeks who used their computer skills to seek out government conspiracies instead of striking it rich. They self-published a tabloid paper that revealed all to a small conspiracy obsessed following. The appearance was always intended as a one time deal. One of the show’s DP’s, Tom Braidwood, was tapped to fill the shoes of Frohike. Who could have imagined that these throwaway characters would become so popular that they would become a staple on the rising series. They were a perfect comedic touch to a series that often took itself too seriously. In their own words their ideas were even weirder than Mulder’s Finally in 2001 the boys got their own show. Unfortunately the series only lasted 13 episodes.
Note should be made of the pilot episode. If you are very sensitive to the events of 9/11 you should seriously consider not watching this episode. The plot involves a shadow element in the government attempting to crash a jetliner into the Twin Towers. The episode aired barely 6 months before the tragic reality. This sad coincidence has since delayed the release of this worthy show as studio execs debated the impact of the story.
Frohike (Braidwood), Langly (Haglund), and Byers (Harwood) publish a small tabloid called The Lone Gunmen. As the name suggests they specialize in government conspiracy and cover-ups. Running low on money, they team up with the wealthy Jimmy Bond (Sneeden). What Jimmy lacked in brains he more than made up for in heart. They were often helped and equally often hindered in their schemes by the mysterious Yves Harllow (Robinson).
The set offers a decent Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. There are times when a little more sound separation would have been nice but this serves almost as well. Snow’s outstanding theme music is a mix of classic James Bond and The Pink Panther. It comes through quite well here. Like all of Chris Carter’s shows, this is a heavy dialogue series. You’ll be very happy with the clear and well placed dialogue in The Lone Gunmen.
Each episode of The Lone Gunmen comes in an impressive 16×9 wide screen presentation, and this show looks very nice indeed. Colors are subdued, but that is consistent with Carter’s style. There are no artifacts or blemishes to be found on any of the episodes. Blacks are quite impressive, particularly for a short-lived television series. I found the quality very much on par with the X-Files releases. Flesh tones are dead on reference. There is the occasional grain in darker scenes but nothing to distract from an otherwise near perfect television presentation.
The most important extra is the X-Files episode “Jump The Shark”. Since The Lone Gunmen were rather abruptly removed from the air, Carter decided to use his remaining X-Files series to resolve the cliffhanger that ended the series’ run. Everyone is brought back. This is really a Lone Gunmen episode and needed to be included. The boys are given a wonderful and even touching sendoff.
There are 5 audio commentaries. The entire cast and most of the key crewmembers can be found on these wonderfully candid commentaries. On the pilot the production team take the time to address the tragic coincidence of that episode’s story.
“Defender’s Of Justice: The Story Of The Lone Gunmen” is a half hour documentary with some great interviews with almost everyone involved. The feature is often funny and quite informative. The feature makes you wonder what we might have expected had the show been given a fair chance.
I recently met Braidwood and Haglund at a convention in Orlando. They very much mirror the characters they played. Braidwood is very reserved with little to say unless confronted with a specific question. Haglund seems to be full of energy. He can take a small inquiry and run with it for 20 minutes. It’s obvious they enjoyed the roles. Haglund suspects the boys are not really dead at all and doesn’t discount them showing up again in an X-Files feature. I felt this show was even better than I remembered it to have been. I couldn’t stop watching and viewed all 13 episodes and extras in just a couple of days. If you’ve ever found yourself laughing or even smiling once during their many visits to the X-Files you need to buy this set. After all these boys are “Genuine American Heroes”.