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The Truth Is Still Out There
March 27, 2008 10:41 PM   Subscribe

The Truth Is Still Out There [link includes embedded video, scroll down for article]. Members of The X-Files' cast and crew (minus Anderson/Scully and Duchovny/Mulder) discuss the myths and legends surrounding the show, as well as the upcoming new movie, at the 2008 Paley Festival, sponsored by The Paley Center for Media (named for broadcaster William S. Paley, and formerly known as The Museum of Television & Radio). [Previous X-Files-related posts here.]
posted by amyms (23 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for the link Amyms! The coverage from the first link seems a bit disjunctive, but the nuggets of X-File info has definitely made me want to catch the film this summer.

I wish however that they actually do deal with the mythology more. A tv-show format makes it sound like a 2-hour-long $15 buck CSI or Law and Order episode.
posted by phyrewerx at 11:54 PM on March 27, 2008


I preferred the "monster of the week" episodes over the mythology ones, myself, mainly because I hardly ever watched the show apart from the occasional re-run. This of course made the over-arching story seem like a disjointed mess, so the one-offs were much easier to enjoy. So you can imagine my excitement to hear that this new film is rumored to be a self-contained thing, with no sprawling backstory conspiracies. Some leaked on-set snapshots suggest it will deal with werewolves, which seems like an odd choice. But others are saying that the prop is a red-herring. Oh well, wait and see, I guess.

Also: leaked teaser trailer!
posted by Rhaomi at 1:10 AM on March 28, 2008


I preferred the "monster of the week" episodes over the mythology ones, myself, mainly because I hardly ever watched the show apart from the occasional re-run.

I actually loved both, or moreover the combination of both. It doesn't hold up well 10 years later, but at the time, I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen on television. What I enjoyed was that you could pick up plot strands from earlier episodes or seasons that hadn't been mentioned in weeks or months or years, and that it all tied together. I suppose it laid the groundwork for Lost and 24, but that concept still seems even more progressive any popular show on today.

But now that I think of it, my favorite shows where when Mulder was brought into something (always begrudgingly) to help use his profiling skills to catch a serial murderer that was confounding the FBI.
posted by psmealey at 2:47 AM on March 28, 2008


I actually loved both, or moreover the combination of both. It doesn't hold up well 10 years later...

That's exactly how I feel. I think the hazard of a lot of "mythology" shows is that unless the creator has a game plan with a beginning, middle and end at the start, and sticks to it until the finish, they start off strong but wind up sprawling and dull. "Lost" and "Heroes" risk going the X-Files route; by contrast, Carnavale looked like it would be a solid mythology show but got cancelled after two seasons.

My irrelevant order of preference for an X-Files film:

Excellent Monster Movie
Excellent Mythology Movie
Mediocre Mythology Movie
Mediocre Monster Movie

The monster episodes were the best ones when they pulled them off well, but the worst ones when they didn't do a good job with them.
posted by Shepherd at 5:52 AM on March 28, 2008


When people want to indicate that something is weird, are they now more likely to sing a Twilight Zone doo-doo-doo-doo or an X-Files bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum?
posted by pracowity at 6:03 AM on March 28, 2008


If they made a full length movie version of Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space', I would not only name my first born child Chris Carter but would also lift the price on his namesake's head I levied for the debacles that were "Harsh Realm" and "The Lone Gunmen."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:10 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Robocop didn't like 'Harsh Realm'? Was it the lawsuits (uncredited comic book provenance) or the lack of resolution?
posted by vhsiv at 6:38 AM on March 28, 2008


What are we doing up here, Scully? It's hotter than hell.
posted by kbanas at 6:51 AM on March 28, 2008


It was the cancellation of Millennium in favor of Harsh Realm that did it for me. I remember reading an interview with Carter where he said he had to pick between Realm or Millennium and he chose Realm, even though Millennium wasn't like, finished.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:51 AM on March 28, 2008


Unless Darin Morgan is writing this movie, it will likely be a dreary mess.
posted by dzot at 6:55 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks for these links. I've been following coverage of the Buffy Paley panel, but not the X-Files. This saves me some digging around.

So you can imagine my excitement to hear that this new film is rumored to be a self-contained thing, with no sprawling backstory conspiracies. Some leaked on-set snapshots suggest it will deal with werewolves

Huh. That is a bit odd. But I did love the monster of the week type episodes.
posted by Tehanu at 7:26 AM on March 28, 2008


It was the cancellation of Millennium in favor of Harsh Realm that did it for me.

Amen to that. I still maintain that at its best Millennium was better than X-files, it just didn't hit those high points as often or as consistently as X-files. It also introduced me to Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts who remains one of the best 'is he or isn't he' baddies of TV history.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:25 AM on March 28, 2008


I preferred the "monster of the week" episodes over the mythology ones, myself, mainly because I hardly ever watched the show apart from the occasional re-run.

My sentiments exactly. There were some classics in there, like the one where the Tulpa terrorizes a suburb. The alien thing was just dumb and doesn't deserve any metaphorical analysis.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 AM on March 28, 2008


Thanks for the X-Files love, even though I'm not really sure of the show's staying power or potential sequel success. Man if anything is a watertight example of why a show shouldn't drag on and on this is it. It went downhill fast in season 5, got somewhat rejuvenated in S7, and well... let's not even discuss the last two seasons, hmm?

I've seen most episodes and still don't really know what happened to Mulder's sister. She was cloned, right? As a child and later as an adult? But she really went to live with Cancer man and died long ago? What a mess.

For a show that basically lived off its mythology, it was wildly inconsistent. My favourite example is I think from Season 7. Scully asks Mulder why someone would commit such a terrible murder. And he replies, and I quote "How should I know, I'm not a psychologist." Despite the fact that he is a psychologist, and according to the first season, made his name as an outstanding (if spooky) profiler.

The X-Files scared the shit out of me when I was 13 and my best friend and I would have Friday night sleepovers to get freaked out. I still watch it occasionally, but the only value I find is unintentional hilarity.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2008


slimepuppy: Amen to that. I still maintain that at its best Millennium was better than X-files, it just didn't hit those high points as often or as consistently as X-files.

I'm in this choir too. Millennium stumbled around a bit to find itself in the first season, but did so a lot quicker than X-Files did, and I love the second season still. I greatly preferred its imminent occult mishmash apocalypse mythology more than X-Files' meandering and ultimately directionless sci-fi conspiracy mythology.

At the time, I viewed what booting Morgan and Wong from the helm did to the show as a war crime, but have softened on that stance considerably as I've lately revisited it on DVD.
posted by Drastic at 8:56 AM on March 28, 2008


Those William Gibson scripted episodes were terrible...

For anyone who wishes Call of Cthulhu was more like the X Files: Delta Green
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on March 28, 2008


It was the cancellation of Millennium in favor of Harsh Realm that did it for me.

That's kind of sad, but at the same time it really seemed like the second-season finale of Millennium should've been the end (though I didn't follow the series that closely and so can't say if there were a whole lot of loose ends to tie up). Considering the number of decent shows Fox was busy killing at the time (Harsh Realm only lasted a couple of episodes itself, Space: Above and Beyond was cancelled after a season, and, well, the list of shows Fox cancelled is as long as the earth is round), I think maybe some of the blame should go to the network as well.

All that said: not long after Harsh Realm I discovered I'd gotten well and truly sick of Chris Carter. He was basically the Joss Whedon of the mid-to-late-90s—he had a large cult following that thought he could do no wrong, but to anyone outside that cult following, his signature style could be as much a hinderance as a help.
posted by chrominance at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2008


Huh, that's weird... for some reason the links I posted to the leaked images lead to a broken page, even though the pictures are still there if you copy the URL from the link and paste it in directly. I'll try linking to them again (the links work in preview), and, if those break, here are copies of them on Imageshack: One, Two
posted by Rhaomi at 12:39 PM on March 28, 2008


Yeah, I have to 2nd “Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space” as a favorite.

And yeah, the mythology was inconsistent. But the flaw in structure for writing is that it kind of has to be.
Ever notice that a LOT of t.v. characters are barely self-aware and have little sense of history?
(Well, not surprising many people seem to fall into that category, Bush has been saying “Well, it’s going to take some time, but we’re making progress” for years now and no one seems to remember it’s the same schtick over and over, but still...)

Like on Star Trek (the original series) they discover all sorts of bad-ass technology and do nothing with it.
Same thing on X-Files. I’d pack a flame thrower in my trunk, at the very least. Discovering there were vampires would radically change how I deal with the world on a daily basis. That telepathic/psychic kid and Bruckman? That wouldn’t fundamentally alter your conception of the universe? As would all the metaphysical and occult discoveries. I mean - demons exist?
The mutations would radically alter the genetics field, I’d definately pack something to counter the electronic mind control devices, not to mention living off the grid because there are AIs out there. I’d wear a lot of rubber (because there are apparently people who can control lighning). You wouldn’t shoot the CGM on sight knowing what you (as Mulder or Skully) know about him? (Reminds me of The Joker in Batman - cops report seeing him? They don’t just open fire? “Was he armed?” “I don’t know - does it matter? It’s the Joker man”)

The whole spooky “trust no one” paranoia thing doesn’t fly as well if your characters don’t react or their lives aren’t impacted. I understand it’s plot driven, but c’mon. They still run around with their little pistols and (*gasp*) use cell phones.

That said, the Lone Gunmen make total sense. Particularly Byers.
(And that WTC thing was freaky. But they died well.) If you see solid evidence of something like that, your move has to be (for anyone of conscience) to fight it. Or take up drinking. Either way, your life is changed.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:02 PM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, happy days of unemployment, thy name is X-files.
Clyde Bruckman indeed.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2008


Preach on, brother Smedleyman. I remember the very first episode of X-Files, when Mulder and Scully lose time, Mulder takes notes about where and how much. I thought maybe, at last, here was a character who had absorbed the fantastic into his worldview and was trying to make it work for him. Instead we get this silly believer-skeptic skit which they replayed every episode. I would have given up early on but kept watching for the funny monster shows, and the occasional all-out terror episodes (seriously, no matter how absurd the setup, I remember feeling my blood freezing in my heart for some shows).

No matter what anyone enjoys about the X-Files, I recommend The Puppet Masters (1994, imdb). It's more like X-Files than the source material, and is actually, in spite of that, pretty good.
posted by wobh at 3:22 PM on March 28, 2008


I still maintain that at its best Millennium was better than X-files

The first episode of Millennium remains the scariest thing I have ever seen on regular TV. I actually had trouble sleeping afterward.

I was a loyal X-Files junkie for years, even after I realized that they'd painted themselves into a corner with the black oil storyline and were just going to keep repeating the tired old bait and switch ad infinitum. But the creature of the week episodes were golden, and I wish they would put them on DVD by themselves.
posted by biscotti at 7:14 AM on March 29, 2008


I can't believe there's still life in it... but then I bailed out back at 'Paper Clip' when I sensed they were just going to spin it out for ever (but I so loved it when it first started)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:52 AM on March 29, 2008


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