Re: The X-Files

ireactions wrote:

Well, it's happening. Currently, it looks like FOX is renegotiating the comics licence with IDW and this five issue arc is conceivably the final set of TXF comics from this publisher.

Wow, some move. This may be a stupid question but do we know anything about Carter's politics?  I know he ran a surfing magazine so I can guess but from what I've seen he's always steered clear of commenting directly on it.

Re: The X-Files

Carter is a liberal liberal. I've seen an old interview where he claims to be more in the center, but the same interview also claimed that government distrust is a liberal mindset, so I think their political scale was broken.

Re: The X-Files

His politics aside....what do Mulder and Scully have to do with mundane political issues?  Even if Trump were the fascist mastermind that people paint him to be (and he's not, he can't get anything done even with control of Congress), that's not even their area of expertise.  For it to be an X-File, he'd have to be an alien or a werewolf or working with aliens and werewolves.

Or is it going to be a straightforward "This is more important than X-Files! This is about America!" kind of thing?

Re: The X-Files

They'll probably make it about the Trump admin covering up Aliens or something. If they do take on other stuff (eg Policies, the Russia stuff etc), I think they'll get a surge of PR and praise, but my hunch is the feeling over time might be that it ultimately veeers too much into a territory folks don't think the X-Files should be operating in.

Re: The X-Files

The only concrete piece of info I have about this upcoming story arc -- it involves aliens having infiltrated the Trump administration.

Chris Carter isn't really involved in the comics. For the comic book SEASON 10, Carter consulted on the first five issues. Writer Joe Harris wanted the villain of SEASON 10 to be a teenaged William with telekinetic and psychic powers, taking control of the Colonists and Rebels with a new faction called the Believers. But Carter vetoed this, saying he wanted William saved for THE X-FILES III if it ever happened.

Carter also provided some guidance so that Harris could steer clear of any plots that would contradict a future feature film finale. But we got a TV series instead, Carter had a different vision for THE X-FILES on TV and the comics became part of an alternate universe that wrapped up (somewhat abruptly) before the comics shifted to the Revival universe (with the same writer). While Carter's name is on the covers and he has an Executive Producer credit and he reads the comic scripts, he's not driving it creatively.

Anyway. Joe Harris and I are of very similar mindsets politically and creatively -- his X-FILES comics are essentially the X-FILES version of SLIDERS REBORN (obsessive love letters to the legacy and history of an unfinished TV show), right to the point of using the same title in our stories where icons of 90s sci-fi TV take on Donald Trump.

So, keeping with that, I imagine a situation where Mulder's old friend, Senator Matheson, recruits Mulder and Scully to investigate potential sleeper agents in the White House administration. It's revealed that the sleepers are actually the fire aliens introduced in THE X-FILES #1 (2017) that have been taking over human hosts for some unknown endgame, and Mulder and Scully find themselves forced to protect Trump and his staff from an enemy only they can fight, wrestling with the conflicts between their beliefs and their duty.

Continuing with the conceit that Harris and I think the same, I'd never have the sliders -- or Mulder and Scully -- defeat Donald Trump. In fact, I think it would be critical that Quinn, Mulder and Scully end completely beaten but score some sort of symbolic, moral victory.

Re: The X-Files

ireactions wrote:

The only concrete piece of info I have about this upcoming story arc -- it involves aliens having infiltrated the Trump administration.

Chris Carter isn't really involved in the comics. For the comic book SEASON 10, Carter consulted on the first five issues. Writer Joe Harris wanted the villain of SEASON 10 to be a teenaged William with telekinetic and psychic powers, taking control of the Colonists and Rebels with a new faction called the Believers. But Carter vetoed this, saying he wanted William saved for THE X-FILES III if it ever happened.

Carter also provided some guidance so that Harris could steer clear of any plots that would contradict a future feature film finale. But we got a TV series instead, Carter had a different vision for THE X-FILES on TV and the comics became part of an alternate universe that wrapped up (somewhat abruptly) before the comics shifted to the Revival universe (with the same writer). While Carter's name is on the covers and he has an Executive Producer credit and he reads the comic scripts, he's not driving it creatively.

Anyway. Joe Harris and I are of very similar mindsets politically and creatively -- his X-FILES comics are essentially the X-FILES version of SLIDERS REBORN (obsessive love letters to the legacy and history of an unfinished TV show), right to the point of using the same title in our stories where icons of 90s sci-fi TV take on Donald Trump.

So, keeping with that, I imagine a situation where Mulder's old friend, Senator Matheson, recruits Mulder and Scully to investigate potential sleeper agents in the White House administration. It's revealed that the sleepers are actually the fire aliens introduced in THE X-FILES #1 (2017) that have been taking over human hosts for some unknown endgame, and Mulder and Scully find themselves forced to protect Trump and his staff from an enemy only they can fight, wrestling with the conflicts between their beliefs and their duty.

Continuing with the conceit that Harris and I think the same, I'd never have the sliders -- or Mulder and Scully -- defeat Donald Trump. In fact, I think it would be critical that Quinn, Mulder and Scully end completely beaten but score some sort of symbolic, moral victory.

Thanks for the info. It sounds interesting. I don't think it will piss anyone off, though it's clear with the Resistance title he's taking a subtle shot, and I would imagine Chris OK'd it.

I once had heard a really good interview with Joe on one of the X-Files podcasts.  Would you happen to have a link or know the podcast name of the latest interview you mentioned?

Re: The X-Files

https://www.ivoox.com/the-x-cast-89-joe … 698_1.html

Re: The X-Files


thanks!

Re: The X-Files

I wonder how real life for the FBI will affect Mulder and Scully, although, to be blunt, Mulder and Scully and the writers ignored the FBI's mission, purpose, protocol and function so often, they might as well have been Agents Mulder and Scully of PHOENIX, KITT, UNIT, the Lightman Group, GI JOE, SHIELD or some other fictional organization.

Re: The X-Files

Midseason 2018!
http://screenrant.com/x-files-2018-midseason-premiere/

Re: The X-Files

So, we're coming up on the end of THE X-FILES comics where Mulder and Scully take on the Trump administration. Trump doesn't ever appear on the page -- he's heard in a phone call with a hilarious pastiche of his incoherent repetition of key words. The plot is that due to the White House's overall ineptitude, they've failed to notice that their staffers have been infiltrated and replaced by aliens plotting to bring the planet to nuclear war.

Re: The X-Files

Okay, I think that's fair.

Re: The X-Files

I'd assume Trump would be one of two things to The X-Files lore....some kind of alien masquerading as a President, aka an X-File himself.  OR someone who is rabidly interested in the program, I mean, he's basically the editor of the National Enquirer.

Re: The X-Files

My Struggle III...

WTF did I just watch? It was like a film school project, made by the dumb kid in class. How many bad writing/directing cliches did Carter include here? It's like he was working from a checklist.

Re: The X-Files

*facepalm*

A face full of *facepalm*

Re: The X-Files

Perhaps the most telling aspect of "My Struggle III" is how Mulder and Scully are taken to the hospital in dire straits, depart the hospital to engage in meandering drives here and there only to drive right back to where they started with the script trying to use voiceover and quick cutting to clumsily veil how nothing is happening. What we have here is Chris Carter having improvised himself into a brick wall: he scripted "My Struggle" to retcon the alien colonization.

While the fifth episode of the season was filming, he hurriedly scripted the sixth episode, "My Struggle II," in a mad dash of improvisation as well. Carter doesn't like to plan, instead writing to whatever his inclinations are; this is why his continuity across his series has been so full of holes and contradictions. His instinct was to bring about the Colonization event he'd teased for the first nine seasons of the show but through the Spartan Virus, then provide a cure for the virus, then end on a cliffhanger -- and now he must improvise a solution.

His solution is that the Spartan Virus being unleashed was a dream; that it was merely a vision of what will happen when the Smoking Man lets the virus loose. This makes no sense whatsoever; if the virus has been seeded, why is the Smoking Man holding back? Carter's only rationale: the Smoking Man needs William -- except he didn't in the vision, so how can the vision be trusted? What's happened here: Carter, as usual, does not want to lose the standalone monster of the week, so he decided to declare his end of the world scenario a prophetic hallucination, offer a shocking reveal about Scully's child -- and in between, he has the characters drive around in pointless circles.

There is no explanation for why Scully's medical condition ceases to be a concern by the end of the episode. There is no rationale for why Scully trusts her vision when the Spartan Virus clearly hasn't been unleashed. Once again, Carter has declared the end of the world is here -- but awkwardly taken a step back because he has another season of episode's to fill and more monsters of the week to write. So Scully recovers for no reason and offers that tired old chestnut that the answers lie in Mulder and Scully going through the non-myth-arc episodes. And the William revelation is a cumbersome effort to add consequence and weight to an episode that has none whatsoever.

Honestly, I can't believe THE X-FILES is doing something so unbelievably lame as to declare "My Struggle II"'s cliffhanger to be a dream -- except I can because it reflects the same idiocy that had Carter do things like kill Mulder off and then bring him back to life in the silliest way possible or offer a date for Colonization that he unfortunately missed. Carter has often created massive problems without mapping out a solution before lensing his scripts and he's done it here once again.

The simplest way to deal with "My Struggle II" would have been to pick up two years later: the cure was mass produced and distributed, all is well, but Mulder and Scully are missing. Agents Miller and Einstein are investigating a monster of the week and caught in a deadly situation when suddenly, Mulder and Scully reappear to come to the rescue. Where have they been? They decline to explain and get on with the case of the week. It's not like Carter even enjoys these myth-arc episodes anyway; he clearly takes the most pleasure in the standalones. The only reason he perpetuates the myth-arc; he is trapped in this hopeless belief that if the myth-arc ends, the show ends.

I think we know that's not the case. BUFFY wrapped up its myth-arc every year, as did ANGEL. SUPERNATURAL played out its five year arc and came up with a new one. But Chris Carter is still trapped in the 1990s and maybe he should have just stayed there because he's looking embarrassingly out of touch. Maybe he and Tim Kring should start a support group for TV writers who clearly have no idea what they're writing anymore.

Re: The X-Files

Very confusing, I will agree.  The fact that the finale of the previous season is NOW a flashforward is incredibly head spinning.  That being said, I will say that most people I know seemed to enjoy the premiere FWIW....

Re: The X-Files

It's pretty fun being an outsider in the X-Files fandom.  I just sorta watch the "My Struggle" episodes with a child-like "Okay! I guess this is happening now!" way.  Jeffrey Spender shows up and I think "Oh man, I thought he died at some point.  Maybe I'll look that up on the X-Files wiki".  And so I do that and Jeffrey Spender's page is convoluted and it looks like he did die but then was horribly scarred but now is back to normal and I just go "Okay, I guess this is happening now!"

Cigarette Smoking Man is back and seems alive and healthy and has a new name now and I thought he'd died like five times before but I just smile and go "Okay, I guess this is happening now!"

I watched My Struggle III having not seen a good chunk of the beginning of the series, a good chunk of the end of the series, and having forgotten huge blocks of the time when I watched the show religiously.  I watched Season 10 but couldn't remember what the cliffhanger was.  I just smiled like Sammy Jankis and went with the flow.

There are no continuity errors when I watch the X-Files because I don't remember enough and I'm not invested enough to worry about what's a continuity error.  It ends up making the show a lot more watchable.

169 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2018-01-08 21:23:23)

Re: The X-Files

I feel similarly, but I also read / listen to what a lot of hardcore X-Files fans say and can't say their hate is unwarranted.  Some just want the mythology to go a certain way (eg less convoluted) others are incredibly offended by how My Struggle III ended.

I thought the episode was entirely rushed from a pacing perspective and wayyyyyy too dense.  It needed another 30 minutes.  It was not good. BUT, I liked the twist at the end. I liked how they referenced an older episode of the X-Files. It gave me a payoff that made the episode overall entertaining.  I was not offended by any of it.  But I respect the position of those who are and can see why.

Either way, I think there may be more too it -- and since they are moving to the MOW stuff until the finale, I think/hope people will be pleased by those stories.  I've seen a couple of good reviews.   As for the finale, I suspect their may be a twist.

I just hate that the narrative has become "Gillian doesn't want to do another X-Files" / "X Files creator says they won't do another season without her" /  "This is the last season for X-Files" etc etc when we basically just are one episode in. Let's enjoy this.  And frankly, X-Files is or has the potential to be one of the shows on TV that we can connect with the characters and have a strong affinity for.  It should not just be thrown away.  Even if Gillian doesn't want to return.  I don't think it has to have her.

I do feel though that David was rough in finding the Mulder character in the first episode.

Re: The X-Files

I don't know that half an hour added to "My Struggle III" would have done anything but drag out the pointless car chases away from the hospital that lead right back to the hospital.

Re: The X-Files

I'm going to have to agree with ireactions on this one. I don't think the problem was that the episode was too dense. I think it was pretty much all fluff.

Re: The X-Files

Fair enough smile

Re: The X-Files

"This" feels like an appropriate title for episode 2 of this season. It's like Glen Morgan just flopped his hands around a keyboard, printed whatever auto-correct typed up, and named it what it was.

The episode has no thrust. The action came to Mulder and Scully, rather than them going to the action. This is rarely a good thing for a series like this. There was no lead-in. We're just thrown into a story, and while I kept hoping that it would be revealed to be a work of genius as the story unraveled... it didn't. Scully is suddenly an action star, and Donald Trump now leads an elite team of Russians who work for an American mercenary company that's based out of Moscow, because... I'm assuming the tax incentives in Moscow are great? Except this group has existed for many years apparently, so the strained connection to the President seems a little awkward.

They did an episode where Langley was uploaded into a computer without referencing "Kill Switch", which was an episode from 1998 that dealt with the same concept.

The episode had more focus and better direction than last week, but it lacked an actual plot.

Gillian Anderson is probably smart for jumping ship. While we'd all love to see The X-Files resurrected in all of its former glory, the revival has never actually felt like The X-Files. When we think back on the series, how many of us will include anything that's happened since the show went off the air all those year ago?

I hope the rest of this season is good. I really do. But it just isn't doing well so far. Chris Carter is not only a bad writer, he's done a horrible job at running this revival as a whole.

Re: The X-Files

I didn't think the episode was perfect but I enjoyed it. But I will never be a big critic of the show, I am just always happy to see it exist.

Now that Gillian has made it clear she's done with Scully, I wonder what you guys think -- would you want to see it continue?  I would, of course, even if it'd be a blow to the content.  There's only one or two other tv shows I care enough to watch live. I love having it back. I think they can find there way if they keep it going but I'm not sure David or Chris would continue.

Re: The X-Files

I'm fine with seeing it continue without Gillian. I'm not okay seeing it continue with Chris Carter.

Re: The X-Files

I'd be okay with it being David Duchovny as a mentor to younger agents.  I don't really see any point in the show continuing as it is now without Gillian Anderson.  I'm also not sure the story would make sense, as things stand now, with Mulder but no Scully.

I'd end it.

I also think Carter is on record as saying that he's going to end the season on a cliffhanger either way. So look forward to that.

Re: The X-Files

Maybe I'll just skip the finale. smile

Re: The X-Files

... I don't believe.

I don't believe Gillian Anderson. She's repeatedly claimed she was done with THE X-FILES; she said she was done in Season 7, again in Season 8. After I WANT TO BELIEVE, she said she was done with THE X-FILES on TV. She said she was done after Season 10. And now she's saying she's done after Season 11. She's said a variety of things: she wanted to spend more time with her daughter, she wanted to play other roles, she wanted to avoid a TV schedule -- but what she really wants, I think, is to get paid a fair wage.

FOX offered her half of Duchovny's salary for Season 10 which pissed her off. Negotiations for Season 11 were contentious again. I think Anderson is fed up with the studio and the network, but if they start treating her with the respect she's earned, she'll come back.

She just won't come back if she has to battle and demand and pull and howl in order to get the same pay as Duchovny.

Re: The X-Files

See, the way I've read the reports, it sounds like Anderson's people are just less demanding than Duchovny's, and that's more of a "them" problem than a "studio" problem.

They pushed for more money after learning that he was making more money, but that's probably because his people asked for more money in the first place.

I'm not really sure what happened, but I have a lot of questions about it. She asked for more and she got more. So the question is, did Fox just run at David with more money, or did his people negotiate better than her people?

But yeah, I do think that if they upped her pay enough, she'd return. Hell, they could move production to the UK if they had to. There's no reason why they couldn't tell a few stories there.

180 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2018-01-12 12:14:32)

Re: The X-Files

ireactions wrote:

... I don't believe.

I don't believe Gillian Anderson. She's repeatedly claimed she was done with THE X-FILES; she said she was done in Season 7, again in Season 8. After I WANT TO BELIEVE, she said she was done with THE X-FILES on TV. She said she was done after Season 10. And now she's saying she's done after Season 11. She's said a variety of things: she wanted to spend more time with her daughter, she wanted to play other roles, she wanted to avoid a TV schedule -- but what she really wants, I think, is to get paid a fair wage.

FOX offered her half of Duchovny's salary for Season 10 which pissed her off. Negotiations for Season 11 were contentious again. I think Anderson is fed up with the studio and the network, but if they start treating her with the respect she's earned, she'll come back.

She just won't come back if she has to battle and demand and pull and howl in order to get the same pay as Duchovny.

I've thought about this a lot myself... but Gillian keeps doubling down, especially at yesterday's event, that I don't think this is a negotiating tactic. The fact that it took them so long to be able to go ahead with a season 11 was a negotiating tactic.

I just wish season 11 wasn't draped in negativity.  People don't like what they have produced (fair).  It's not coming back.  Gillian doesn't want to do it again.  Rather than getting to enjoy the thing while its still alive, everything has become about it's death.

David made a good point yesterday, saying the X Files is essentially a frame.  I agree with that and with so much bad stuff on air, I'd like to see FOX invest in the franchise long term.  With enough trial and error you can find a rhythm and what works. Sometimes invention is messy, and they've had to experience that a bit since bringing it back.  But it can be ironed out.

Re: The X-Files

Well doesn't Disney own it now?  Wouldn't it be up to them if they want to bring it back or not?

Re: The X-Files

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Well doesn't Disney own it now?  Wouldn't it be up to them if they want to bring it back or not?

Disney bought the movie studio but FOX Network I believe is still separate, as is News Corp.

Re: The X-Files

They didn't buy the network, but they did buy a lot of the properties (including the Simpsons, Family Guy, etc).  Fairly certain X-Files would've been in that box.

Re: The X-Files

Ooh. Maybe they can boot Chris Carter like George Lucas!

The X-Files is a great frame. If I were in charge, I would bring in a showrunner to at least co-run the show with Carter. An equal voice who could not be overruled. If Carter didn't like that, he could leave. Because he can't do the job.

I would keep the known writers, but I would also fill out the writers room (which I'd actually have) with new writers. A lot of writers today grew up with The X-Files and know the tone of the show and what works. Let them work on it. I'd get rid of the Mulder and Scully clone agents that are on the new show, but bring in some new agents who could carry the show. Make Mulder a mentor or a source that they go to from time to time, but not the star of the show. We can't keep one foot in and one foot out like that. Maybe Skinner can stay.

New mythology too.

Re: The X-Files

I hadn't thought about the Disney side, but I wonder if that's a brand they even want to cultivate.  I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't shelve a lot of the "FOX" stuff and try and build a softer image for the network.  There's a ton of wiggle room between being not as edgy as FOX used to be and being edgier than ABC.

I just have a feeling that, as soon as the purchase is done, Disney is gonna toss a lot of older/flailing properties in the trash.  This is a potential one, especially if viewership isn't strong and costs are.

Re: The X-Files

Hard to say. The X-Files is a known name that could make money. It also isn't super edgy or offensive (except for some bad writing), so I could see it being reworked. I could see some less marketable titles being tossed and forgotten though.

I hate this whole deal.

Re: The X-Files

They made less mythology this year than MOW. In fact, I think it's 8 MOW, two mythology. That's what people wanted.  I think on balance, fans probably will like this season.  The narrative is a bit different now because a lot of hardcore fans hated the premiere.  But as this season wears on hopefully people will like what it delivers, and want to see if continue. Scully was a special character, so it might not be as great, but I think they can do fine MOW without her, too.

Re: The X-Files

I really enjoyed "This," but it wasn't an episode of THE X-FILES as generally defined. Which is to say -- the average episode of THE X-FILES has Mulder and Scully being passive investigators in a world beyond human understanding or control. "This" shows Mulder and Scully as action heroes pursuing the conspiracy to stop it rather than investigating to uncover it and they're much more combat-proficient than ever. It's at odds with the majority of other episodes.

One in-universe possibility: the onscreen events of "This" could be a simulation.

The simulated Langley tells Mulder and Scully that he exists in a world of perfection in which all his wants and desires are met, but the artificiality has become maddening for him while Erica Price declares that few if any of the digital personalities ever discover their artificial existence.

When Mulder and Scully are in the bar and narrowing down their investigation, the lighting around them darkens and dims to show them alone in shadow; neither of them react or seem to notice and it creates the sense that the world around them is a computer generated construct that's experiencing a service interruption.

There are also a number of errors throughout the episode that are clearly deliberate: Mulder refers to the National Security Agency as the NSI. Byers' headstone has a mis-spelled middle name, an error that writer/director Glen Morgan (the co-creator of the Lone Gunmen) would not make.

There is no explanation for how Langly created a cemetery based puzzle for a grave he didn't know he'd be buried in. At one point, Mulder is pretending to be handcuffed but raises his unbound hands in full view of a guard; it goes unnoticed.

The existence of a backup, unremarked upon until the final scene, is inexplicably never raised before then.

Then there's Mulder and Scully's close relationship in "This." In "My Struggle II," Mulder didn't bother to call Scully or answer her when heading off to confront the Smoking Man. Previous episodes had shown him saddened by their breakup and withholding his feelings about William from her.

But "This" shows Mulder and Scully falling asleep on the sofa together and Scully refers to Mulder's house as "our home." And then there's Mulder and Scully as seemingly invincible action stars.

Noticeably -- the conceit that the digital personalities only go online when the real person has died doesn't make sense. There is no reason why the simulation and the real-world person could not co-exist.

However, it's possible that the actual meaning is: the simulation only permits one instance of the digital personality at any given time to avoid conflicts and redundant processes, and the backups of the personalities are only activated if the current iteration is erased or otherwise ceases to function. Furthermore, the simulations may exist in sandboxed situations in multiple planes of digital reality.

Is any of "This" actually happening? Or is it a digital dreamworld in which the simulated Mulder and Scully were given an existence in which their fondest desire -- a romantic relationship with endless cases to investigate together and forever -- was granted with reality bending at the seams in order to give them what they want? The fact that William is missing and the Lone Gunmen are still dead in their perfect world indicates that their greatest wish is to be with each other without anyone else in the way -- which is selfish but human.

...

Moving on. "This" is an episode where Mulder and Scully are targeted by a technological phenomenon and act as action heroes in a sci-fi adventure as they go on the run from the authorities, storm the citadel of the conspiracy using subterfuge, weapons, deception and total confidence in their ability to topple any physical threat. It's strange because in the first nine seasons and two films, Mulder and Scully were hardly ever in combat situations and when they were, their attitude was generally to flee in terror from bees and choppers and tanks and gunmen.

They were regularly overpowered, beaten up, shot, pummelled, knocked out and tied up. "This" has Mulder and Scully sliding across floors, punching out assassins, shooting down enemies and Mulder, whose defining attribute in Seasons 1 - 7 was to regularly drop his gun, is suddenly a capable marksman whose uncharacteristic profiency in "My Struggle II" with defeating a thug has become the new normal.

Admittedly, there is a huge time gap between Seasons 9 and I WANT TO BELIEVE during which Mulder and Scully were fugitives and conceivably spent a lot of time retraining themselves for their lives on the run. But the structure of "This" is most unlike THE X-FILES: Mulder and Scully are the focus and the protagonists, and their abilities are well above what's been previously established.

And yet, this is actually very much in tune with how THE X-FILES worked in Seasons 1 - 9. It was a different era of TV where viewers were unlikely and unable to watch every single episode. Chris Carter, as a showrunner, rarely rewrote scripts the way modern lead producers do. Instead, his attitude was to invite each individual writer to produce their scripts from writing to airing and he encouraged each individual writer to present their unique, personal vision of THE X-FILES.

For example, Chris Carter generally writes Mulder as a stalwart hero with a meaningful purpose and mission, but Darin Morgan ("Were Monster") writes Mulder as dysfunctional and fundamentally hopeless in his goals. Chris Carter wrote aliens as unknowable, inhuman monsters of horror and madness; James Wong wrote aliens as figures of unimaginable wonder and beauty.

Vince Gilligan wrote monsters as troubled representations of the dark side of humanity which could be confronted and defeated; Chris Carter wrote monsters as beyond human understanding or control. And Chris Carter writes Mulder and Scully as passive investigators, but Glen Morgan writes them as involved action heroes. So, "This" being nothing like the other episodes of THE X-FILES is actually being quite true to THE X-FILES.

This conflicting, contradictory approach is also within Chris Carter's own episodes: he writes monster of the week episodes that are clearly set in a universe of supernatural, magical, unknowable forces, but his alien episodes are written in a universe of scientific and technological concepts in which voodoo and ghosts don't fit. His Season 1 - 9 myth-arc episodes are about aliens as a terrifying force outside humanity infiltrating our civilization and infecting it with savagery and monstrosity; his Season 10 - 11 myth-arc episodes are about humans who have co-opted the wonder and beauty of benign aliens to take advantage of humanity's weaknesses and failings. Alien colonization and the Spartan Virus are two different conspiracies; Carter treats them as the same conspiracy (aside from two lines in "My Struggle III" where the conspirator says that the aliens are not going to colonize Earth as the planet's no longer worth their while).

This is why continuity both for the myth-arc and for the characters has always been a pointless waste of time in this show. THE X-FILES was written in the 90s where episodes were written as self-directing, standalone products without much concern for what aired last week or what would air next week. This was true of both the writers and the majority of the audience and Carter has maintained this approach for Seasons 10 - 11.

Looking at "This" independently as it was meant to be seen: it's clearly about establishing Mulder and Scully as a couple with the plot being at best an afterthought, a framework to put Mulder and Scully together in every scene with the entire episode never showing them apart at all. They are a pair who are so comfortable with each other that they fall asleep on the sofa watching television, reviewing casefiles and eating junk food. They are so familiar that even as fugitives pursued by assassins, they are cheerily at ease with each other in the woods or in parking lots or in a cafe or in a restaurant or on a bus. They are so acclimated that Scully refers to Mulder's house as "home." They are so warm with each other that they can both silently decide not to bother cleaning up the house and will silently let rubbish fall to the floor and head back to the sofa where they were when the episode began.

These are not coworkers or colleagues; THE X-FILES (this week) is a love story about two people who are uniquely and intimately suited to each other to the point where their marital status and professional standing are completely irrelevant because they are a team, they are a couple, they are together and they are completely infatuated with each other and their lives. God knows what they'll be like next week, but this is what they're like in "This." It's how Glen Morgan sees them. It may not be how the other writers see them.

If you look at it from a continuity minded standpoint -- which is not how THE X-FILES was designed -- you may see an arc. In Seasons 1 - 6, Mulder and Scully went from colleagues who trusted each other to best friends and comrades to the point where even when they'd been reassigned and the X-Files office was closed or kept from them, they would investigate cases in their spare time together to the point where "Dreamland" essentially has them as a sexless couple going to Area 51 and "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" show them spending their holidays staking out a haunted house as civilians instead of FBI agents. In Season 7, they kissed on New Year's Eve but it went no further and the Smoking Man remarked to Scully: "You'd die for Mulder, but you won't allow yourself to love him." The episode "all things" revealed that Scully had an affair with her professor in her college years that left her feeling that love was somehow a betrayal of indepedence but finally making her peace with that; the teaser and tag scene suggested that Mulder and Scully had finally consummated their relationship.

"Hollywood AD" and "Je Souhaite" showed Mulder and Scully distinctly romantic with each other, "Requiem" had Scully overjoyed to discover she was pregnant, the Season 8 finale had Scully holding her baby and Mulder kissing her and "The Truth" has them running away together. However, I WANT TO BELIEVE shows Mulder and Scully in conflict with the chemistry of a long-divorced couple reluctantly adjusted to how they'll never be rid of each other. "My Struggle I" showed them separated with Scully calling a relationship with Mulder "quite impossible" and Mulder sadly but gently saying that he and Scully had gone their separate ways "for better or for worse" while Scully said to Mulder, "I'm always happy to see you," establishing them as amicably broken up and maintaining constant contact.

However, their relationship starts to get closer. "Home Again" has Scully confiding in Mulder that she longs desperately to see William; "Founders Mutation" has Mulder claiming he has had to forget William but later revealing that he hasn't at all. "Babylon" has Scully getting over the death of her mother and then this reinvigorated Scully visits Mulder at his house and they're holding hands and walking joyfully at the end. They have only one scene together in "My Struggle II" and they have brief interaction in "My Struggle III," but "This" would suggest that after "Babylon," Mulder and Scully have become a couple again. Scully called Mulder's house "our home."

Or the next episode will resume having them living in separate dwellings and only seeing each other at the office and, retroactively, "This" was a late night work session that became movies and snacking and it was an anomaly, not a regularity. Who knows what the next episode will be? You never know what THE X-FILES is from week to week -- that's the show. It could just as easily be argued that the romantic episodes of Season 7 were simply those writers' personal visions of the Mulder/Scully relationship which exist alongside episodes in which they're platonically friendly or professionally amicable. It's almost like each episode of THE X-FILES is set in a different parallel universe.

For better or for worse, THE X-FILES is not really a series as we understand it today; it's an anthology show that features the same actors playing characters with the same names and jobs but with relationships and settings that are radically different from episode to episode and writer to writer with little to no concern for ongoing development or consistency and continuity.

"This" may be the first episode to actually silo its own episode from the rest of the series by proposing that the onscreen are all a simulation -- and it may even explain why Mulder and Scully are so different from week to week, why the conspiracy was in Seasons 1- 9 about an invasion but in Season 10 became population control without alien involvement, why THE X-FILES goes back and forth from sci-fi to supernatural -- these are all different versions of the simulation.

Re: The X-Files

Wow, that actually makes sense in some weird way.

I was watching the episode under the assumption that Mulder and Scully were in a simulation, but the episode never went there. In the end, it seemed like an absurd waste of time, where Scully could infiltrate a highly secured government facility by winking at a stupid guy.

Your way works better. Especially because it allows for a universe where Mulder and Scully were never a couple. That never should have happened.

Re: The X-Files

This week actually... Didn't suck. I'm surprised.

If they cut out the relationship crap that always kills the Mulder/Scully dynamic, this would have felt like a classic X-Files episode.

Also, the Trump jabs. It's just petty. And at this point in the series, the FBI has been proven to be horribly corrupt and possibly genocidal, so shutting them down would probably not be the worst idea.

191 (edited by Slider_Quinn21 2018-01-19 08:48:02)

Re: The X-Files

In my continuing "casual X-Files fan" mode of watching this show, I was confused - I thought Mulder and Scully were actively a couple.  Weren't they living together and snuggling on the couch last episode?

(I just read irreactions' "This" review so maybe that was a simulation or an individual's vision of Mulder and Scully?)

Re: The X-Files

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

In my continuing "casual X-Files fan" mode of watching this show, I was confused - I thought Mulder and Scully were actively a couple.  Weren't they living together and snuggling on the couch last episode? (I just read irreactions' "This" review so maybe that was a simulation or an individual's vision of Mulder and Scully?)

Glen Morgan sees them as a couple. Chris Carter sees them as colleagues and friends, but he doesn't see them as husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend because he feels that is too conventional for them. Darin Morgan sees them as amicably broken up but still good friends. James Wong sees them as wisecracking coworkers.

And THE X-FILES isn't really about continuity, so each writer writes their own individual version of Mulder and Scully and Carter doesn't force them to conform, instead encouraging each episode to represent the author's vision even when it contradicts what was onscreen last week and what will air next week.

Re: The X-Files

Yeah, after reading your "This" post, I can buy that logic.  So my casual watching of the show works fine because it isn't important to understand what came before smile

Re: The X-Files

There are times when THE X-FILES' anthology approach is quite maddening and infuriating -- specifically with the myth-arc episodes trying to tell an epic story with numerous pieces that don't fit together and lacking much effort to at least make them feel like they're part of the same show. I have very mixed feelings about the non-existent script editing except to say it often drives a lot of people crazy and makes them stop watching the show, and that it's very unusual in a TV landscape of serialization.

It is admirable, however, that Chris Carter has one view of Mulder and Scully -- but declines to insist that his writers follow it, instead telling them to pursue their vision and passions on his show. He could rewrite them. He could mandate that they revise their romcoms and amiable exes attitude and have them replace it with Carter's preference for platonic intimacy. But he doesn't. And he won't. He wants his writers to write their stories, not Chris Carter's stories.

Re: The X-Files

I have to disagree about this approach being admirable.  Each writer approaches the characters differently, and that usually resulted in characters who were layered and complicated. It added to the show. However, Carter's inability to run the show has constantly damaged the series. Someone needs to figure out what's going on and what path they're going to take when it comes to major developments. That is the job of the showrunner. Carter's job is to steer the writers in the right direction. He is failing at that.

I kinda wish they would do an X-Files multiverse episode, where all of these different versions of Mulder and Scully are in the same room together. It'd be hilarious to see platonic Scully's reaction to relationship Scully's romance with Mulder. That'd be a fun episode. However, all of these are supposed to be the same person as far as the show is concerned, so it makes no sense!

Star Trek The Next Generation wasn't heavily serialized and even they could keep track of when Troi and Worf were dating.


The problem here is that Mulder and Scully shouldn't be a couple. It kills their dynamic. It is an awkward beat for characters who are partners at the FBI. They're best when they're pushing against each other (verbally) and that allows them to be sarcastic and super close in a way that a romantic involvement doesn't. Now they're trying to have it all, and it doesn't work. Maybe it'd play better if they weren't agents anymore, and they were just partners in some supernatural PI office or something, but that's not what this show is. Mulder and Scully should be like Ken and Barbie (junkless) around each other. It's irritating that they've been forced together, probably because of some vocal shippers, and Carter's inability to make a decision and hold people to it.

The relationship scenes this week were like brick walls that the story kept crashing into.

Re: The X-Files

This in no way addresses Informant's criticisms except to say: because Carter encouraged each writer to do their own version of the show, produce their scripts and direct their episodes, Vince Gilligan created Breaking Bad, Howard Gordon helped create Homeland, David Greenwalt led Angel, Tim Minear produced Wonderfalls, Darin Morgan gave Fringe its weirdness -- and Carter nourished and encouraged all these writers and their voices and talents and gave them experience to produce and sell other shows -- although none ever ran their writing rooms the way Carter (doesn't) run his. Nearly every X-FILES writer has gone onto huge success and acclaim.

Re: The X-Files

Yeah, but Carter's job wasn't to mentor the executive producers of tomorrow. His job was to run The X-Files, and because he ran it like some sort of writing hippie commune where everyone just did their own thing, Carter failed at his primary job.

There is a balance to be struck between allowing different writers to have their own style, and keeping the show consistent. I hate to give Joss Whedon praise, but Buffy was a good example of this. There's no confusing a Marti Noxon episode for a Jane Espenson episode, but the show didn't suffer because of it... Until Marti took over running the show.

Re: The X-Files

I think the decision to give each writer has his own personal X-FILES universe was a good approach in the 90s. The casual viewer, which was most of the viewers, wouldn't be particularly aware of the inconsistencies because the majority of the audience wouldn't have seen all the episodes.

For viewers with at best Slider_Quinn21 level memories of the show, aliens being malevolent monsters in Carter episodes but innocent and benign in a Morgan/Wong episode could be part of the mystery. Scully having a dog in Darin Morgan episodes but making no reference to her pet in any other episodes would go unnoticed. Scully could lose a child in one episode and be back to normal next week.

This was TV before DVD sets and viewing on demand; only a small percentage of the viewers were going to be rewatching homemade or official VHS cassettes or marathoning reruns in syndication. Carter's hands-off style has fallen out of vogue in a modern era where serialization is now possible and effective thanks to streaming and each episode is part of a greater whole.

Carter's approach has not translated well to the modern era, but I can appreciate his wish to keep the anthology approach for the revival.

**

Chris Carter and Informant are actually in total agreement on Mulder and Scully's romance. Carter didn't want to have one, never has and still doesn't. It annoys him greatly. When first casting Dana Scully, FOX urged him to cast Pamela Anderson. This drove Carter crazy and he fought hard to have a real actress who could play a scientist, a doctor and an FBI agent.

Part of his distaste for hiring an lead actress simply to objectify her is present in the pilot where Scully, thinking she's found alien implant marks, runs into Mulder's hotel room and strips for him to examine her. Carter's script and Duchovny's performance are very determinedly sexless as Mulder recognizes the marks as mosquito bites, and the moment leads to Mulder sharing his traumatic childhood with Scully.

It's pretty clear from the Pilot that Carter wanted to explore Mulder and Scully as platonic friends and partners with a depth of connection well beyond just boyfriend/girlfriend. He wanted to focus on the conflict between the believer and the skeptic and romance was not his area of interest. Also, THE X-FILES wasn't really about relationships anyway; it was about scary stories, monsters of the week and two characters who would be static and unchanging, more icons than people.

However, something strange happened: there was a peculiar romantic chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson that Carter did not want, did not plan for and couldn't understand. Carter was mystified. Duchovny and Anderson did not get along well at all; Duchovny was a studied, serious, thoughtful, nerdy, restrained thespian. Anderson was a hyperactive punk rocker. They chafed against each other. Neither enjoyed Vancouver, both expected THE X-FILES to be cancelled inside six weeks, both were astonished by the success and the renewal and the increasing horror that they were totally mismatched to each other and would never be rid of each other. Carter wanted to put them in couples' counselling after Season 1 and it baffled him that onscreen, Mulder and Scully had a chemistry that the audience viewed as romantic.

He refused to acknowledge it for a long time and wrote against it. However, the other writers resisted him and Carter, being laid back with his writers, allowed them to write scripts which played up the romance. Most notable was Darin Morgan's "War of the Coprophages" in which Scully refuses to leave her apartment despite Mulder's tales of killer cockroaches -- until she hears that Mulder has met a lady scientist who finds his theories intriguing, then suddenly Scully's hauling ass to catch up with him.

Then came the movie where Carter, accepting that the audience wanted a romance, had a near-kiss between Mulder and Scully. And with the move to Los Angeles and Season 6, Carter found himself struggling to maintain THE X-FILES' originality when five years of monsters of the week had exhausted all the obvious stories.

The writing staff suggested they liven up the show by having a run of romantic comedy episodes. Duchovny and Anderson also pushed for this. Carter conceded that they needed the fresh material that this would bring, but mandated they could only bait the fans with teases and never allow the romance to actually come to fruition.

So we had Mulder kissing a Scully doppelganger in "Triangle" and telling the real Scully he loved her only to be dismissed, "Rain King" where Scully expresses her love for Mulder unknowingly, "Arcadia" where the go undercover as a married couple.

But then came Season 7 where Gillian Anderson effectively overruled him and wrote and directed "all things" where Mulder and Scully finally become a couple. Carter insisted on maintaining deniability where the romance is largely offscreen and indicated only through Mulder and Scully being in really good moods, but then decided to use Scully getting pregnant as a season-ending cliffhanger. Season 8 ended with Mulder and Scully kissing and holding their baby, a final scene that sadly wasn't final.The showrunner had effectively been defeated on this front by his writers, the fans and also the actress.

The romance wasn't something Carter wanted, but as it became a selling point and the series' longevity extended well beyond the five seasons Carter had expected, he gave in and he wasn't happy about it.

The Season 9 finale, "The Truth," has Scully losing all credibility in court as a witness to the alien conspiracy because her romance with Mulder has undermined her as a scientist. This was Carter's grim observation that Mulder and Scully as a couple instantly reduced Scully to Mulder's love interest. In "My Struggle I," he broke them up immediately, but due to the actors' insistence, he was forced to script them as reconnecting again by "Babylon."

It exasperates him, but Carter has grudgingly accepted that the characters he created have shifted due to the actors playing them and what ended up onscreen wasn't what he'd conceived or scripted in the beginning.

Re: The X-Files

And this is where I think a lot of TV writers have problems. Whenever you put two characters in a room together, there will be shippers. Mulder/Scully shippers, Dean/Castiel shippers, Sam/Dean shippers, Buffy/Giles shippers, Oliver/Felicity shippers... pretty much any time there are two (or more!) characters interacting with each other, a percentage of the audience will want them to start jumping each other. And a lot of the time, those fans are very, very vocal. With Supernatural, a lot of the fans ship themselves with the characters and screech every time a woman appears on screen with the guys.

Sometimes, the characters naturally do move toward a relationship (Fringe, Chuck, Psych), but other times, they are better left separate. Sometimes knowing when to deny the audience what they want is as vital as knowing when to give them what they want. Sometimes the plot the story needs isn't the same thing as what the audience wants. In fact, sometimes it's best to recognize what the audience wants, and write in the opposite direction entirely.

Dear lord, I'm about to give Whedon credit again... but the truth is that I did learn a lot about writing from him, before he totally sold out...

On Buffy, there was a certain death that I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't watched the show yet. It happened in season 2, and it was shocking. In playing the reaction to that death, Anthony Stewart Head's instinct was to cry, but Joss told him not to. He said that the second Giles releases that emotion, the audience will feel the release of theirs. By denying the expectation and denying the strong instinct in that moment, the story becomes much more powerful. Not to the characters, but to the audience. This is a lesson that I've carried with me for many years now.

It comes down to the instinct of the writer. To know the characters and know the story, and to hold true to it. The X-Files was Chris Carter's responsibility, not his writers and not the audience. He owed it to the story and to the characters to keep that story on course and to stay true to the characters. Many people probably just wanted Mulder and Scully to end up together because that's what's supposed to happen with any male/female interaction, and that's what the audience has been programmed to expect from the story. This situation was one where working against those expectations would have made the story so much stronger. Working against the expectations would have made the Mulder/Scully bond much more unique, much stronger, and much more interesting. Now they are exes with benefits, who are partners at the FBI (is that even allowed?). Instead of being special and compelling, their relationship devolved into a cliche that checked every box that we've come to expect.

Carter knew what the right choice was. Good for him. However, he allowed himself to be overruled by people who worked for him and whose job it was to fulfill his vision. He let the animals run the zoo. Even when he makes the right decision, he proves that he shouldn't be running the show by allowing his decision to be overruled.


There's no reason why Mulder and Scully needed to be romantic with each other in order to have a baby together. It sounds weird, but welcome to the 20th century! We have IVF now!

Re: The X-Files

I don't really have an opinion on the Mulder and Scully romance except to say: I see lots of storytelling potential with them as lovers and I see just as much with them as platonic partners.