TV - The X-Files Season 1, Introduction

The X-Files

Our own alien, Steve Taylor-Bryant, is going to spend the week looking back over the cult TV classic The X-Files. Today is season 1...

"You know, they say when you talk to God it's prayer, but when God talks to you, it's schizophrenia."

I love birthdays. I have no qualms with the ageing process, whilst I'd appreciate a little of the energy I expended as a youth, growing old suits me. The other thing I love about birthdays is presents. Don't pretend like they're not an important facet of the day. I am today turning 40 years old and was up at the crack of dawn on the anniversary of my birth excitingly expectant, waiting on my children to wake and shower me with their love. As you might expect, I received lots of Doctor Who related items, including a beautiful TARDIS watch from my beloved, but the gift that will bring the most enjoyment actually arrived from my parents this year. Gone were the clothes vouchers of yesteryear and, in their place, 202 episodes and 2 feature films from Chris Carter in a box. Yes folks, I got The X-Files complete collection and was immediately transported back to the early 1990's.

This was police procedural drama at its best, whilst the added supernatural elements made it something different, Twin Peaks for those who didn't 'get' all things Lynch. Over the next few days I am going to remember each season and my stand-out episodes in a series of articles but for now let's return to the very beginning and the pilot episode. Join me in 1993 as I shout from the rooftops 'I want to believe'.

The pilot was a great introduction into exactly what the next nine or so years were going to be like with conspiracy, ridicule, and paranoia aplenty. A woman runs through the woods when she is confronted by a bright light and a shadowy figure. The girl is then left for dead with strange marks on her body. Ooh chills already! Special Agent Dana Scully is called to a meeting with her superiors, a shady cigarette smoking man in background, and tasked with reporting on Special Agent Fox 'Spooky' Mulder, an Oxford educated psychologist that spurns the friendship of the Bureau to chase down the unexplained phenomena in the X-Files. Mulder instantly takes to Scully, a sign of the chemistry to come, and with his excitement to have scientific input on his case load, Scully is slightly taken aback.

The X-Files

The strange behaviour of the local police and mental institution is sort of a side story. The strangeness of the world, Alien abduction and the like will be covered throughout the show in better storylines from Chris Carter, but as a set up for the shows to come the pilot really works. Mulder is not even remotely 'Spooky,' in fact he comes across as the smart man in any scene due mainly to his ability to have an open mind and a one liner or quip for everyone. Scully is a very by the book scientist in that, whilst she is not sure of where the feelings that Mulder gets about cases comes from, she uses her own forensic way of thinking to try and validate his findings.

Chris Carter hasn't produced something uniquely new by any stretch of the imagination. The whole series could quite easily fit within Tales of the Unexpected or something similar, and Gillian Anderson's portrayal of Scully owes more than a little thanks to Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs. That is not a criticism though. Why not take the best bits of various shows and films and make them better? Why not make a show that pushes the realm of possibility at the same time as bringing a new generation of fans to sci-fi?

The Pilot is not the best story or episode in the show’s history but the instant chemistry and character creation from David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, along with the subtle introduction of The Cigarette Smoking Man and the nod to Indiana Jones with the warehouse at the end, makes The Pilot the most important.

Image - XFiles Wiki.