Fight the future
August 10, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

The X-Files 20th anniversary reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Youtube) (Podcast version here) (Summary and slideshow), featuring Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, John Shiban, Howard Gordon and James Amann. sex scenes, a third movie and Home are discussed. The Lone Gunmen will return in Season 10. The Guardian picks 13 best X-Files episodes but somehow misses Jose Chung's From Outer Space.
posted by Artw (115 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Guardian picks 13 best X-Files episodes but somehow misses Jose Chung's From Outer Space.

I don't understand. I keep looking at the words, and I can see the words, but I don't understand.
posted by tzikeh at 5:32 PM on August 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


Man, that first Lone Gunmen episode where they are in the cockpit of the plane and you can see NYC ahead is fucking eerie nowadays. Still, I loved the Lone Gunmen, even the x-files episode where they all got together.

*misses the x-files*
posted by marienbad at 5:37 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Argh someone please disable that person's zoom.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:38 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love for there to be a third movie. Surely this time the movie would be good.;-)

Those Guardian picks for the top ten are pretty much whack — there's only a few I agree with. "Chinga" had some good moments, but it wasn't a good episode on the whole. But then they let Stephen King co-write it [ducks].

After the second movie came out, there was some sort of press junket video in which Anderson and Duchovny were asked when we were going to see Scully and Mulder get it on. Anderson quipped, "Oh, that's the fifth movie," and Duchovny put in, "Except by then, no one will want to see it."

Much like the truth, Gillian Anderson insists that a sex scene between Scully and Mulder is out there. When talking about sex between the two, Anderson noted the presence of Scully's son William as evidence of a sexual relationship, and said of a sex scene "We shot it. It's somewhere."

Then, by God, LET'S SEE IT.
posted by orange swan at 5:40 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


but somehow misses Jose Chung's From Outer Space.

...And "War of the Corporophages", and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", and "Small Potatoes...."

Every single damn one of Darin Morgan's episodes should have been on that list. None of them were on the list, therefore it is a bad list written in a bad place by people who are bad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:42 PM on August 10, 2013 [42 favorites]


And Orange swan: this noromo would already rather we not see a sex scene. (Yep, still a noromo after all these years.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 PM on August 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


I can confirm that a rewatch of just the Datin Morgan and Vince Gilligan episodes is an excellent televisual experience.
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Duchovny and Anderson have always had good chemistry. And it's still obviously there even on a panel like this. So much nostalgia from college Justinian!

Anderson was my first serious celebrity crush. (call me)
posted by Justinian at 5:46 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


X Files owing as much as it did to The Silence of the Lambs it's kind of cool seeing her in Hannibal.
posted by Artw at 5:49 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Hollywood Reporter article in the 4th link:
Anderson recalled getting on the phone with Tom Waits, whom the producers wanted for a guest spot. “For some reason I ended up on the phone with him,” she shared, “trying to convince him [to join]."
!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:52 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


They fought the future.

And the future won.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:02 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I watched every episode of The X-Files this past spring. I was very surprised that the episodes from the last couple of seasons were much better than I thought. I basically stopped watching after they replaced Duchovny with the T-1000, but I really should have given it a chance. It's a completely different vibe, but it works well.

I also must admit that I too still have a crush on Gillian Anderson.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:10 PM on August 10, 2013


the T-1000

He has a name!

I think.
posted by Artw at 6:22 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Agent T-1000.
posted by tzikeh at 6:23 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yep, still a noromo after all these years.

They are just very close! Like Jaeger pilots!
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on August 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


For some reason Mulder and Scully are sort of all tied up with my stage managing career.

My very very first gig opened the same week that US Weekly had a big cover story about David Duchovny; a friend was visiting me in the city that week, and the whole day before the show we were walking around, and I was in a nervous and panicky state and she was trying everything she could to calm me down. Finally, at some point we were on a street corner and I was all panicky and nervous and flaily, and she saw the issue on the newsstand, bought it, opened to one of the pictures (David, in a white tank top and jeans, in the front seat of a pickup) and then thrust it into my hands, saying, "here, look at this." I stopped talking mid-sentence, and I think I said "....wow." I went on to prop that photo up next to me in my booth - and the show went off without a hitch. I kept that issue of the magazine, opened to that photo, with me in every single booth I did in every single show I did for ten years.

And as for Scully - there were times when I really needed to call on some extra shot of bad-ass and command of authority to bring actors or directors or techies into line. And my trick was: there's a scene from the first movie, early on, where Scully has just told a security guy in an office building that there's a bomb in the lobby about to go off and he has ten minutes to evacuate everyone and clear the area for a one-mile radius. She starts to march off, but he starts to stammer out an objection - and she turns around and roars at him, "DON'T THINK! Just PICK UP THAT PHONE and MAKE IT HAPPEN!"

....And thus, every time I had to reach in and bark some orders to get some actors in line, they didn't know it, but I was actually Agent Scully telling them not to think, just pick up that costume/knitting/glo-tape/wrench/cap gun/fake blood/powder/apple/fake pancakes/pillow/gobo/two-by-four/mask of Oprah/rake/fake baby and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 PM on August 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


[the T-100] has a name! I think.

[psst] The name was "John Dogget."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Agreed, ob1quixote, I did my own rewatch maybe a year back and the later seasons are a lot more palatable than I remember from the original run. Maybe the show got shark jumpy and gave the later seasons an ephemeral feeling like it was throwaway fodder after the climax, but as a post-Mulder entity it stands its ground. It's finally the skeptical scientist who knows how it feels like to be a Cassandra.

There was a fantastic bit of realistic-science-on-tv in one of them as Scully runs a Southern blot of herself and some sample. The montage went through most of the main steps and in about the right amount of time for someone who was really good at it with a well stocked and familiar lab. A bit of a stretch for a non-bench person to pull it off that fast and cleanly, but the hands-on science was essentially accurate.

Yeah, couldn't think of Robert Patrick as anything other than the T-1000 either. Not even now. "Hey, Alcide's dad is the T-1000 and he's eating a bucket of fried chicken with a hooker RIGHT NOW ON TV."
posted by porpoise at 6:27 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is nice to see that it has rebounded somewhat in pop culture. For much of the nineties, it was cutting-edge cool, but post-2001 not trusting the government went out of fashion. By about 2005, Carter, Duchovny and Anderson seemed nigh-unemployable, and the show was apparently gone from syndication. Good to see it back to some degree.

And I too have a crush on GA. I watched the whole series and both movies last year. It is quite a testament to her performance and charisma that she became a major sex symbol while baring essentially nothing but her face and hands.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:30 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


As my wife makes me watch Buffy (which I don't mind), I can't help but think the X-Files kicked off both paranormal TV but also the resurgence in long (multiple-season spanning) story arcs. I know STTNG had the Borg, but to me it seems like the X-Files started the at-least-we-wanted-you-to-think-we-knew-what-we're-doing-all-along TV show thing.
posted by mollweide at 6:49 PM on August 10, 2013


porpoise: “Yeah, couldn't think of Robert Patrick as anything other than the T-1000 either. ”
That's it! It was Robert Patrick. It was Robert Patrick, everybody.

ricochet biscuit: “I watched the whole series and both movies last year. It is quite a testament to her performance and charisma that she became a major sex symbol while baring essentially nothing but her face and hands.”
Except for, ya know, in the pilot.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:53 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Robert... Patrick...

/instantly forgets.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was very surprised that the episodes from the last couple of seasons were much better than I thought.

I've always thought it was such a shame that they were so underrated. It's true that they weren't the same without the Mulder/Scully chemistry, and it's unfortunate that they became so humourless — Chris Carter thought the episodes shouldn't be funny given that Mulder had been abducted by aliens and then later was on the run and in danger. Still there were some quite well-written and enjoyable shows in those last two years which were just as good if not better than most TV programming. I think a number of those sans Mulder episodes stand up better conceptually and in terms of the quality of the script better than a number of the episodes from the first two seasons. They were certainly much better than the two episodes from season two without Anderson (she was taking time off to have her first child), which sucked donkey kong.
posted by orange swan at 6:59 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, this series is all tied up in my teenage years and my stumble headlong into fandom through a side door despite being raised on SF and Fantasy. I loved this show so much. I still get "Unmarked Helicopters" stuck in my head every so often, and the presence of "Hunter" on the first movie soundtrack made me fall in love with Bjork AGAIN.

... I will be reading Season 10. Don't fuck it up, guys.
posted by strixus at 7:02 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been in a greatest hits tour of the X-Files recently and I'm still amazd how much groundwork and bone-setting it did for the Modern Genre Show, not to mention X-Files alums going on to riff in the formula in other shows, No X-Files, no Fringe, No Angel, No Warehouse 13, No Supernatural...it's really amazingly how long it went in and how popular it remained.

Also, " Kill Switch" wasn't nearly as bad As I remembered. It actually seems kinda prescient....
posted by The Whelk at 7:03 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wrote, recently, an episode list for Supernatural fans who wanted to get into the X-Files ( cause we all have Netflix Streaming)
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


"First Person Shooter" remains awful.
posted by Artw at 7:07 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes well we can't have everything,
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on August 10, 2013


It does have Jade Blue Afterglow, which is the most Gibsonian stripper name ever.
posted by Artw at 7:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, just checked that list a second time - they also leave out The Unnatural, which makes it an even more bad list.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I still love the story about how Tom Braidwood got cast as Frohike: he was an assistant director, and was walking past the production office at precisely the time that the staff was discussing who to cast as the Lone Gunman. Someone was saying that for Frohike they needed someone really creepy-looking - and one of the other guys in the room saw him walking by the door at precisely that moment, and - just trying to make a joke - quipped, "yeah, creepy-looking, you mean like Tom Braidwood." He was thinking Braidwood was gonna overhear him busting on him like that, but he didn't.

But when that guy said that, everyone else in the room had the light bulb go off over their heads and they all thought, "...hey, yeah." So three minutes later, when Tom Braidwood passed by the door again, the entire production staff called him in, calling out "Hey, Frohike!"

Which I can only imagine must have been a little baffling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh poop it was removed, anyway, I'll type it up later. Basically everything you're thinking. plus that Lilli Tomlinson ghost episode. I like that episode.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I was watching that stupid infuriating turd of a fake documentary on the 'mermaids' from the animal planet that got linked in the jaws thread a couple of days ago I kept thinking how it would have made an awesome premise for another X-Files movie or maybe an entire season. I really miss that show (and the lone gunmen.) And at the same time I was trying not to punch my laptop screen, hard, for what I had to look at instead.
posted by mcrandello at 7:27 PM on August 10, 2013


artw "/instantly forgets.

In death, a member of Project Mayhem has a name.
His name is Robert Paulson.


Yeah, I dunno why Gibson translates so poorly in TV and movies. Although I liked New Rose Hotel with Chris Walken, Willem Dafoe, (maybe it was Asia Argento spoiling things) but it didn`t feel like A Gibson.

I suspect it's a style thing - in FPS and the other cyber-punk TV episodes the fashion is incredibly dated, maybe on purpose, like geeks don't know how to dress. But those costumes run several hundred bucks per piece, IRL. Hackers don't really dress like that, and the hacker actors dressing like that looks really cheesy.

Sorry to bring politics into it, but Snowden reeks, absolutely reeks, of some kind of identity as a shadowrunner or something. Or maybe I'm just old and codgerly and it's just a get-off-my-lawn type reaction.

Even Hackers from '95 was cheesy fake (but fun and enjoyable) but still had the oddly stratospheric fashion.

Yeah EmpressCallipygos! - the very best of X-Files was when they went with the original premise behind all of science fiction in that what if ... and ran with it in a sane speculative manner.
posted by porpoise at 7:29 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


CD-ROM IN DRIVE
PRESS ENTER
TO ACTIVATE
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


plus that Lilli Tomlinson ghost episode. I like that episode.

I was meh on the episode, but it had one of those great twisted moments that I loved about the show - Mulder and Scully, both suffering from gunshot wounds to the stomach, are stuck in this haunted house and dragging themselves painfully across the floor towards each other - as the soundtrack busts out with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

That's right up there with the visual gag from that episode Roland, where right before the opening credits one guy kills another guy by shoving his head into a vat of liquid nitrogen and then, once his head is frozen, just dropping him on the floor. The show cuts back from the credits with a shot of the guy's chalk outline on the floor - panning up the chalk outline of the legs, then the torso, then the shoulders - and then a hundred little tiny chalk circles scattered in a three-foot area around where the head SHOULD be.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:31 PM on August 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


/continues watching Kill Switch.

"But Mulder, what is an Internet?"

The cold open is actually pretty great though.
posted by Artw at 7:35 PM on August 10, 2013


BRIGHT LIGHTS - WARM UP
COMPLETED
TARGET AQUISITION IN
PROGRESS|
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on August 10, 2013


So... This episide really is a completly different genre of show, isn't it? One that has orbital death rays.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on August 10, 2013


Some film and TV buffs you are! Robert Patrick was perfect as the T-1000, and he was great on The Sopranos too.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:45 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get frustrated in X-Files discussions nowadays because they inevitably turn to bashing I Want to Believe, which I seem to be the only human on the planet to basically adore. It was a fine king-size X-Files episode, but mostly it was a lovely, tender, thoughtful goodbye to Mulder and Scully. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to the franchise I grew up on.
posted by eugenen at 8:04 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Robert Patrick was perfect

but aged so very, very quickly. Unless the CGI in T2 made him artificially younger-looking. I loved the gag where T-1000 played a Calvin and Hobbes strip gag of going 1000 and... 7, 1000 and... 8, 1000 and... 9... pushups and then collapsing, less the 1000 part.

On the plus side, he can be the best Sinister and Vaguely Deadly Father Figure for the rest of his career if he keeps on his current trajectory.
posted by porpoise at 8:05 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I'm going to have to go with the consensus opinion on Kill Switch. I bet Stieg Larsson is a bit fan of it though.
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on August 10, 2013


God, that Guardian list is atrocious. Were they picked by lottery?

I, too, enjoyed the Dogget stuff more on a recent rewatch, but I'd only extend that as far as the ones that had him partnered with Scully. It was a fun role reversal where he plays the skeptic, and they genuinely had some good on-screen chemistry. But the very final season with Dogget and er... whatshername, was nearly unwatchable.
posted by cj_ at 8:15 PM on August 10, 2013


Except for, ya know, the pilot.

Hence the word 'essentially.'
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I gotta say, anyone who doesn't put "Small Potatoes" on their top 5 doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about.
posted by googly at 8:39 PM on August 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Keeping in mind this list was intended to bring in people who like Supernatural (another Kim Manners joint) into watching the X-files, a list I basically created to get my SO on board (he had never seen A SINGLE EPISODE of the X-files). So "funny"-ish, forth-wall-breaking Americana self-contained episodes ..mostly with some more serious ones as indicators of overall tone.hh

So in no particular order....

Jose Chung's From Outer Space - an author's attempt to tell the story of an alien abduction turns into a story about all the alien abduction tropes.
Small Potatoes - Not all mutants and paranormal loci are hellbent on destruction. Sometimes it's just like, you know some guy.
Bad Blood - A vampire story about vampire stories, and the importance of point of view when telling a story.
Triangle - NAZI BOAT.
Home - Because it's famous.
The Post-Modern Prometheus - A 50s Monster Movie homage turns the Young Frankenstein to 11.
Darkness Falls - Just a solid horror story with all the gears running smoothly and cleanly.
How The Ghosts Stole Christmas - Another meta episode, this time about haunted houses. Lilli Tompin people.
Je Souhaite - another well-executed genre exercise cause genies never give you want to really want.
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on August 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


One that has orbital death rays.

Drones! It's all super dated and cheesy but I literally haven't seen it since it aired when there ALL THIS PRESSURE on it to be perfect. And seeing it again was more "Oh this is just a strange, goofy, tonally all over the place outing, and I'm fine with that."
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: “Except for, ya know, the pilot.

Hence the word 'essentially.'”
For what it's worth, I actually agree with you. My apologies for taking an easy joke rather than saying what I really thought: Ricochet biscuit is quite right. Anderson mostly wore sensible, although still flattering, clothing throughout the rest of the series. I would guess that hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people had or still have a crush on her because of the character she played in the other 201 episodes, not that one scene in her underwear.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:00 PM on August 10, 2013


I can't help but think the X-Files kicked off both paranormal TV

There would have been no X-Files without Kolchak, and no Kolchak without Dark Shadows.

I wouldn't necessarily call myself a noromo, but I would stil rather not SEE the sex scene. I like the mystery.

Scully is still my model of a strong, smart professional woman. Nobody in pop culture since has done it better.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


LOVED Doggett, wasn't a huge fan of Reyes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:10 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]



There would have been no X-Files without Kolchak, and no Kolchak without Dark Shadows.

And Twin Peaks, from which we get Gravity Falls, of all things.

I've long had this feeling that in the mid to late 90s, The X-files held the manner for how genre shows would get their tone and moods and Buffy : TVS was giving us the structure and pacing.

And it's interesting to think that we're now growing out of that model for SF/F-tinged shows into something new or even more throw back (What is True Blood but Dark Shadows with more full frontal?).
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


(anyway, if they get through all of that, you show them "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" )
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on August 10, 2013


The Whelk: “It's all super dated and cheesy[…]”
During my recent re-watching of The X-Files, along with Miami Vice and other suspense and police procedural shows of the pre-Internet era, I realized that many of the plots just couldn't take place today. While they did have cell phones in some cases, today I imagine most investigators have a mini-computer in their pocket with which they can connect to just about any other computer on the planet or call up almost any information in an instant. I imagine it makes it much harder to write suspense stories set in the present day.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:21 PM on August 10, 2013


Small Potatoes

Darin Morgan as Eddie Van Blundht.
posted by Artw at 9:23 PM on August 10, 2013


with an H.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The H is silent.
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on August 10, 2013


While they did have cell phones in some cases, today I imagine most investigators have a mini-computer in their pocket with which they can connect to just about any other computer on the planet or call up almost any information in an instant. I imagine it makes it much harder to write suspense stories set in the present day

It didn't seem to prevent Fringe doing essentially they same kind of stories.
posted by Artw at 9:26 PM on August 10, 2013


Fringe just put people on public transportation and then melted their skin off.


I may have put the smallest possible 'Small Potatoes' reference in my current going-to-press script.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on August 10, 2013


As a seventh grade girl, I was interested in The X Files before my friends. After we watched Irresistible during a sleepover, clutching pillows and stuffed animals during the scary parts, they were hooked.
posted by kat518 at 9:31 PM on August 10, 2013


It's funny cause I haven't really re-watched the show since I was in my teens but I don't remember thinking Scully was this funny. The eye-rolls! The huffiness! The bordering on sarcastic professionalism! She's subtle and hilarious!

I so did not get that at 16.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


[That's right, Empress. I'm going to favorite every single thing you say in this thread. That's how right you are.]
posted by koeselitz at 9:40 PM on August 10, 2013


Artw: “It didn't seem to prevent Fringe doing essentially they same kind of stories.”
I… never made it through the pilot of Fringe. Mostly on the strength of my "whatsherface is no Agent Scully" reaction.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:50 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fringe doesn't get good until the last episode of the first season, then it gets increasingly better.

Also Dr. Agent. Olivia Olive Jean Grey Scully turns a hard pivot and makes an entire season of off-key characterization make sense, like it was on purpose. I did go whoa.
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


ob1quixote: "For what it's worth, I actually agree with you. [...] I would guess that hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people had or still have a crush on her because of the character she played in the other 201 episodes, not that one scene in her underwear."

Gillian Anderson was my second celebrity crush (after Julia Sawalha). I definitely agree with what you're saying - her character was so funny and smart, and she had such wonderful chemistry with Duchovny's Mulder. Not detracting from any of these things was that she was (and is) also very beautiful.

During the initial run, when Anderson was walking off with a bunch of "Sexiest Woman Alive" etc. awards and enjoying the popular acclamation of the style press, that same press would occasionally make noises as to whether they were seeing the emergence (and/or emergency) of some kind of "smart chic" shift in attractiveness norms. Then Rolling Stone Australia #517 dropped at the end of 1995, and I knew our kind would triumph and that I didn't have to feel bad about not being particularly interested in Pamela Anderson in her swimsuit. I wasn't even 16 yet, and good lord, those pictures were formative of my adolescence. (And no, I don't remember anything about the Jerry Garcia interview.)
posted by curious.jp at 10:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Terrible hair in her initial episodes though.
posted by Artw at 10:10 PM on August 10, 2013


Do I have to be the one to say X-Cops?

Still the Best. Series. Crossover. Ever.

I've discovered that as good a place as any to start watching the series is just by playing: Spot the celebrity!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:10 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fringe had the problem that it often made supposedly smart characters say incredibly dumb things and abandon all verisimilitude. Every X-Files episode inevitably had Mulder spout some sort of Gish Gallop about cryptids, aliens, secret government programs, and/or conspiracy theories, but it made sense for the character -- an otherwise brilliant dude -- to have that kind of idiosyncracy. And there was always Scully there to stand in the audience members who weren't Coast to Coast fans to say, "But Mulder, [SOMETHING SKEPTICAL WITH SCIENCE 101 CHASER] exasperated sigh."

Meanwhile, I still remember a very early episode of Fringe where the plot hinges on Walter rigging up some sort of machine to capture the last image of dead person, because apparently that gets imprinted on your retina when you die. Except it doesn't. Eyes clearly and obviously don't work like that. Yet, they had Walter -- the show's supposed resident supergenius savant -- spouting off about it without a trace of doubt or irony. The X-Files, no matter how fantastic the plots got, at least tried to give some sort of reasonable, Scully-approved, explanation.

Also, no mention of The Host or Agua Mala, the best aquatic parasite themed episodes of any show ever?
posted by Panjandrum at 10:14 PM on August 10, 2013


Boy, I specifically loved The Lone Gunmen and was always rooting for them to appear on each episode. I stopped watching The X-Files on the very episode where they died.

In fact, when I was a teenager watching the show I imagined that when I grew up I would have friends like that (and that I would be the bearded Beyers, beard being the only thing that actually happened).

So, if there's someone else on metafilter open to the idea of renting an underground loft and buying a VW Transporter, please contact me using some really complicated and surveillance evasive means.
posted by Weltschmerz at 10:15 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The X-Files takes place in a universe where events described in the Fortean times might have a core of truth. Fringe takes place in an alternate universe where everything in the Fortean Times is true. EVERYTHING.

Fringe is also sort of opposite X-Files in that the monster-of-the-week episodes are awful and the mythology ones are the ones you watch it for...

But in terms of the kinds of stories they do they are pretty similar and pocket sized internet doesn't seem to have changed that at all.
posted by Artw at 10:20 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also Angel, also Supernatural, although even that show had to begrudgingly accept pocket computers into the narrative ("I've got an excorcsim on here!")

What I find interesting is how many children of the X-Files took the basic concept and tones and ran with it in different directions. That you can ook at an idea for a story and an execution of that story and figure out what subtle tonal shifts make it more of a Fringe/Supernatural/Angel/Whatever flavored story and how all these shows developed distinct aesthetic sensibilities despite all coming from the same place.
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The truth is out there.


Waaaaaay out there...
posted by mazola at 10:55 PM on August 10, 2013


There was some BuzzFeed "90s child memories" list that mentioned being on the phone with your BFF for the entirety of an episode of 90210 or some shit like that. My BFF and I saw it and said "oh we totally did that! Except with X-Files." Ahhh, Sunday nights as a teenager.

Also, the earlier episodes need more shout out for having some really creepy shit. Seeing Tooms when it first aired, as a 9 year old or whatever, scared the living crap out of me about escalators for quite some time, and I didn't pick it up again for about three years. But then I could much better appreciate the conspiracies and the (almost) romance.

Also let us not forget the valuable lessons to be learned from the X-Files: (1) don't get attached to a character (2) if you don't see a body, they're probably not dead.

These have served me extremely well in later fandoms.

And can I get a shout-out for Krycek? Oh yeah.
posted by olinerd at 11:25 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(What is True Blood but Dark Shadows with more full frontal?)

And fried chicken.
posted by homunculus at 11:41 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The T-1000 was literally Robert Patrick's second film role! What does somebody have to do to get recognized for their excellent work in, um, Fire in the Sky, Cop Land, The Faculty, The Men Who State at Goats, and Gangster Squad ---

Wait. I'm the only person who saw those films, aren't I?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:45 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had a feverish, High-school related drama related episode connected to a near private viewing of The Faculty due to the fact that literally no one else was in the theater so we could scream as much as we wanted.
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 PM on August 10, 2013


I went on my very first date, with someone who was waaay out of my league, on the strength of our mutual affection for X-Files.

What a great show.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:52 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also let us not forget the valuable lessons to be learned from the X-Files: (1) don't get attached to a character (2) if you don't see a body, they're probably not dead.

I used to co-host season premiere and season finale viewing parties every year, and the season finale for the second season - where Mulder's trapped in that underground boxcar, and the Cancer Man orders it firebombed - had us all in shock.

But the fourth season finale - which ends with Scully announcing to a review panel - that "Agent Mulder died this morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot", just left us all in silence for a moment, until someone finally scoffed, "Feh, he's been dead before."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 AM on August 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


One difference between Fringe and X Files is that, while both shows are full of monsters and evil men, the Fringe universe(s) still has hope. The X Files universe is dark - deep dark, darker than a black cat at midnight. Everything in it is trying to kill us, or manipulate us towards unknown, but probably malign ends. Very Lovecraftian, in that way.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:45 AM on August 11, 2013


Aw man, the first three seasons of X-Files, where we all bought trenchcoats because Mulder wore a trenchcoat, and one of my best friends had a picture of Mulder on her keys and we'd all sit at home on Friday nights watching it, and then thinking about it the whole weekend so that on Monday, we could go "Holy smokes, did you see that?"

I didn't actually want to start watching The X-Files. I watched The Adventures of Brisco County Jr (because, hello, Bruce Campbell), and it seemed like all the ads for The X-Files consisted of Scully yelling "Mulder!"

And then I watched one. And I think it was "Tooms". And, yeah. HOOKED.

(but now I love Millennium more. Which means I love Hannibal to gooey bloody pieces.)
posted by Katemonkey at 2:13 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm too drunk to talk much about it/hunt down a link right now, but a couple of years ago during the lead-up to the second movie, I watched all 9 seasons of The X-Files in 9 weeks and blogged about it for a weird start-up gig I had. Everyone got laid off the day before I published the final entry. I love this show deeply, and that was a deeply weird experience. The X-Files is inside of me now, black-oil-like, forever.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:51 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I made it this far into this thread and no mention of Tunguska/Terma? For shame, MeFites, for shame.

I always was a story-arc girl rather than MOTW.
posted by kariebookish at 6:07 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think my problem with the story-arc in x-files is that it seems like its going all right up until a certain point (for me it was somewhere in season 5). Then I realized it was a half baked mess and it ruined all of those episodes, including the earlier ones that probably aren't so bad.
posted by lownote at 6:32 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, Dana Scully, No is an amusing tumblr about the show's poor fashion choices.
posted by desjardins at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think aliens erased most of my memories of Fire in the Sky.
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2013


Oh, Dana Scully, No is an amusing tumblr about the show's poor fashion choices.


Mulder's suits are always like three sizes too big and his tie is never on straight and once you see it you can't Unsee it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved this show for the longest time. I gave up on it somewhere around season 6; the mythos had become just too incoherent for me.

I've always thought I need to go back and watch it again, now with the bemusement that comes from watching a show set in the 1990s - the odd, antique technology, the primitive understanding of the internet, and so forth.

If I wasn't on my own with the kids today, there would be an X-files marathon underway already.

(and I'm still disappointed about the stagnation of Mulder's Big Adventure, but whatever - I'm the last person who should complain about web projects not getting anywhere.)
posted by nubs at 8:23 AM on August 11, 2013


Mulder's suits are always like three sizes too big and his tie is never on straight and once you see it you can't Unsee it.

Mulder's head isn't screwed on quite right. If he didn't need his government job for the resources it provides, he'd probably be wearing whatever Goodwill didn't want, with one sock and a good pair of old running shoes. His suits were a grudging drag to get him in the right doors, just like Kolchak's.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:08 AM on August 11, 2013


Plus Mulder is also ostensibly red-green colorblind.

how do I still know that
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:11 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I gave up after Season 3 - around the point they "resolved" Samantha Mulder's storyline (again). Season 6 did have a few charming episodes, but the magic was lost once they moved the shoot from Vancouver (imo).

God, I cannot believe how big an XF geek I used to be. I even wrote two fanfics - the only ones I ever wrote - and they were all pseudo-intellectual and full of signs taken for wonders.
posted by kariebookish at 9:26 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was an intermittent X-Files viewer, but the best episode I saw was "Triangle."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:48 AM on August 11, 2013


I also must admit that I too still have a crush on Gillian Anderson.

She gets lovelier every year. I suspect something paranormal is afoot. Someone should investigate.
posted by homunculus at 9:55 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Not season 3. season 7.

I'll slink off now.
posted by kariebookish at 10:06 AM on August 11, 2013


I loved the X-Files growing up as a teen, and I'm re-watching it right now on Netflix with my Husband who's only seen a sporadic few episodes.

It really never gets old saying "Oh, this is the one where Mulder/Scully/Everyone dies". I'll have to stop the joke when the Lone Gunmen really do die. :( I never understood why they had to die. I know the spin off was axed, but they could have just retired, been uploaded to the Internet, move someplace tropical, etc.

And I think a lot of those incredibly bad Scully wardrobe choices are from when she was super pregnant in the early seasons. It was pretty easy to point out: huge trench coats indoors, chest high framing, seated on park benches shot over her shoulder from behind. She might as well have been carrying a big cardboard box in front of her, like some kind of Austin Powers gag.
posted by fontophilic at 10:08 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, one of the things I adored most about Scully was that she managed to be drop-dead gorgeous and inspire tons of crushes from viewers and guest characters without wearing stupid, impractical clothes that were a size too small and showed a ton of skin, but looking back, I wonder if TPTB would have let that happen if the actress hadn't been pregnant during those crucial seasons.

I'd love to see Gillian Anderson and Elisabeth Moss play mother and daughter in something good.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:25 AM on August 11, 2013


Oh, yay! This is the thread where I can point out the amazing Shaenon Garrity's Monster of the Week series, where she draws a recap of an X-Files episode every Friday. She's up to S03E06, and you can start here with the pilot.
posted by hades at 10:52 AM on August 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Heh. I like the one for Soft Light.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on August 11, 2013


Gillian Anderson...sigh. Gorgeous.

Oh, did I say that out loud? Good.
posted by the sobsister at 12:11 PM on August 11, 2013


I remember running to alt.tv.x-files right after each episode to see what people were saying. The relationshippers (soon shortened to just 'shippers--is this where the term shipper originated? It was certainly the first place I heard it...) would count all the times Mulder touched Scully or Scully gazed at Mulder (it MEANS SOMETHING!), and the no-romancers (Noromos) would scoff (they're FBI agents! They have a working professional relationship!).

Then alt.tv.x-files.creative came into being and some vocal noromos wanted shipping talk banished to there with all the fanfic and there was a whole big fight about it one weekend.

I was totally OTP about Mulder/Scully, but man... the existence of Mulder/Krycek sure lifted some wool out of my young eyes.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:00 PM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, yay! This is the thread where I can point out the amazing Shaenon Garrity's Monster of the Week series, where she draws a recap of an X-Files episode every Friday.

These are amazing.
posted by sparkletone at 1:55 PM on August 11, 2013


I just wanna chime in and say that I really like Robert Patrick in pretty much everything he does and wanna remind you of his chuckle-worthy T-1000 cameo in Last Action Hero which is also actually quite good.

Also Gillian Anderson/Scully is my first TV crush too apart from Punky Brewster when I was however old I was when that was on, not recently you guys.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:29 PM on August 11, 2013


I was Rewatching from the bowls of memory came the words to the theme song I read on some alt.whatever a million years ago

The X-Files is a shooooooow
With music by Mark Snooooow......


Also, Rewatching Triangle, I wonder if this is the reason I tend to set important scenes at gala balls and have an affientity for Hot Jazz Nazi Punching Music.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2013


So Scully was the guy who was always smoking?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:11 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surprised this isn't here... Obligatory for the ladies...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:59 AM on August 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't forget; without the X-Files, there's no Breaking Bad.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:44 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I forgot how good the Huge Fungus Cave episode was, if only if you take it as an extended meta riff on Bad TV Writing ("wait, how did we get here?") and I do.
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 PM on August 12, 2013


I didn't actually want to start watching The X-Files. I watched The Adventures of Brisco County Jr (because, hello, Bruce Campbell), and it seemed like all the ads for The X-Files consisted of Scully yelling "Mulder!

I swear that someone made some kind of video compilation of something like this. Or maybe it was a compilation of all the times that Scully said, "Mulder, are you saying/suggesting....."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Empress, are you thinking of the video of all the times they said the word "phenomenon" and it turned into the Muppets' song "Mahna Mahna"?

sorry for the earworm
posted by desjardins at 10:32 AM on August 13, 2013


No, there definitely was at least an are-you-suggesting one I saw.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:42 AM on August 13, 2013


desjardins, I hadn't seen that video before, and it didn't disappoint.
posted by fontophilic at 6:19 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


(and I'm still disappointed about the stagnation of Mulder's Big Adventure, but whatever - I'm the last person who should complain about web projects not getting anywhere.)

I feel you. I miss doing it. Maybe, maybe, maybe some day me and the wife will get back to it somehow. In the mean time, have you considered hyper-niche Trek fandom?

I'd love to see Gillian Anderson and Elisabeth Moss play mother and daughter in something good.

I watched Top of the Lake recently and Moss was fantastic in it as an unraveling detective, and at more intense moments reminded me of nothing so much as a young Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully. I'd love to see this too.

> and it seemed like all the ads for The X-Files consisted of Scully yelling "Mulder!

I swear that someone made some kind of video compilation of something like this.


I am sure someone else has done a much more thorough job, but I took a brief (single-episode) stab at something like that a few years back. That was enough to convince me that doing every instance in the show would be a crazily tall order.

So Scully was the guy who was always smoking?

So named for his prominent cheekbones, yes.
posted by cortex at 10:27 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the mean time, have you considered hyper-niche Trek fandom?

Dude, I am still there.

and trying to get my own idea going, not a webcomic, but inspired a bit by the love and discussions of things coming out of LARPtrek. But hey, my city got flooded and it's summer and sitting around grabbing screencaps right now just isn't on my list of things to do. For the fall.
posted by nubs at 7:53 AM on August 14, 2013


New sci-fi series from X-Files creator Chris Carter back on track
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gillian Anderson: The X-smiles, Alison King, The Independent, 27 August 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 12:03 AM on August 27, 2013


Chris Carter on The X-Files, His Sopranos Jealousy, and Rewriting Vince Gilligan
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Matte Shot - A Tribute to Golden Era Special FX...  |  DEFCON is one of the world's l... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments