Sunday, April 20, 2008

x files

Someday I will write about my own writing, I swear.

For Christmas this year, Bill bought me the entire series of The X Files. God, do I love that show. I remember spending pretty much the entire time I was at Black Hawk OBSESSED with this show. I had cable on and off after I left the Quad Cities, so I lost touch with the show somewhere around season six or seven, and it was probably just as well, since it really sucked during what is termed 'The Doggett Years'. But I got it, and it's awesome, so we are watching the entire series.

I have to say, the show is not nearly as good in some respects watching it again. The first season should be handled with kid gloves since the show was still trying to figure out who it was, and Darin Morgan hadn't really started writing regularly (and Chris Carter was, which is to say, similar to George Lucas writing his own dialogue, but I digress...). There were some great episodes in season one though. 'Ice' was so much better than I remember and 'Beyond the Sea' is still one of my all time favorite episodes in terms of writing and acting, and really, Eugene Victor Tooms from 'Squeeze' and 'Tooms' is the total bomb. It's just too bad that character ended the way he did that season because he would have been fun as hell to see again. And 'Eve'. The casting director on that show was a frigging genius. There was never an end to the amazing actors who played total wierdos. But the acting and writing were awkward, Scully needed a desperate wardrobe and make-up make-over, and Mulder wasn't delivering his trademark quips as much.

But season two is where things really start cooking. Gillian Anderson's real life pregnancy caused a serious change in the show. Without it, the rest of the series would have been different. In order to facilitate her absence from the show to give birth, Scully was abducted. There was an amazing two part episode 'Duane Barry' and 'Ascension' during which this happened. There was a really horrible episode between 'Ascension' and 'One Breath' called '3', which will never be spoken of or watched again. Terrible. I can't even adequated describe how badly written this episode was.

Here's the thing. The first season was a slow slow SLOW build. Nothing these days has a build like that. If The X Files started today, it wouldn't have lasted. Obviously, I am glad Fox took the chance on it, but it also shows me that starting in the middle of the action is so important. There were other problems with this show, like creator Chris Carter's lack of planning and his rumored inability to keep a show bible (which shows that when you're writing something of this magnitude, you have to keep a bible to keep it straight, or you end up with everything going to hell in a hand basket.

The thing is, the idea of Scully being abducted seemed so spur of the moment, at least in terms of television. And sometimes that can be good. I am all about spur of the moment and going with the flow of the work. But as I'm watching this show again, I am realizing how much it really does pay off to examine what you're doing closely and try not to force your hand in the work.


Chris said...

I saw one episode of "The X Files." Only one. I felt lost. But I did see the movie. Twice. Felt lost, but somehow I made sense of it and enjoyed it. I liked seeing David Duchovny moon someone... Wait. That was "Evolution." That was a good time. But I really did see the X-Files movie twice. And am considering seeing the new movie that's coming out...

Toni Wilson said...

Obviously, i am all over the new movie coming out. I can understand feeling lost watching the show. I was just lucky i stumbled upon a particularly gripping first part of a three part episode when i first started watching it (during a marathon on thanksgiving one year). After those three episodes, i watched six more, and it was over.

I never saw 'Evolution' but I did see 'Playing God' which was pretty bad. I never cared much for Mr. Duchovny. Gillian Anderson is where it's at.

The way they approach faith and belief on the show was pretty interesting. I'll have to get you some info about that at some point. I do remember the episodes 'All Souls' and 'All Things' being particularly interesting.