I was never a big fan of the X-Files in it’s hey-day. I watched some episodes and usually enjoyed them but there was something a bit science-ey that threw me off back then.Over the years I have watched episodes spasmodically and I actually may have already watched S1 in order from E1 as many of the episodes seem eerily familiar (or was that a memory implant?). A couple of days ago, still on the throes of denial about my looming life decision, I
downloaded, acquired, started watching Season One from the beginning.
My first thoughts are that the two main characters – Scully and Mulder, are rather one-dimensional and awkward. Although Duchovney is pretty as hell, there is not much depth bought to the roles by either actor. So it’s really scripting and storyline that must have engaged audiences in the beginning (it’s certainly NOT Scully’s wardrobe – was that really the height in professional woman wear in the mid 90’s? – I must have been in denial), “Spooky” Mulder’s basement of creepy stuff is a bonus and some of the storylines are quite interesting. But, the show runs on standalones at this stage – a ‘monster’ or riddle that is introduced, examined and dealt with in the same episode. The 90’s were when TV began to get very interesting for me. TV shows moved from standalones to exploit what is TV’s biggest advantage over film – the ongoing narrative. The X-files eventually offered this to its viewers through the Smoking Man for example but, in Season 1, it’s mostly a ‘case closed’ (or gone missing) and on to the next problem/episode. The one standout from this is the two-parter of Tooms – the creepy guy who can stretch his limbs to crawl through air vents or chimneys, who has weird glow-ey green eyes and a penchant for ripping out the liver of his victim with his bare hands .. he makes an appearance early in the season and then reappears in his own episode much later on. I remember seeing this episode and I remember being terrified. For TV, in those days, it was pretty shit-hot stuff.
Like all long-running series, I believe in starting from the beginning, episode 1, season 1, and taking it from there. And while, for the moment I am not riveted, I have the privilege of hindsight and I know that this early viewing is going to pay off during later seasons.
Interesting note: My favourite TV writer – Joss Whedon seems to have been a fan. I identified a couple of storylines that were re-worked for Angel (see if you can spot them).
Get your own at Amazon: The X-Files: The Complete Collector’s Edition