I’ve prevaricated this week, it’s been that sort of week – I’ve not done enough reading, life has been getting in the way, and every time I pick up my book my eyes feel rather heavy. So, all in all, everything seems to have been rather against me sitting down and crafting what I wanted to say in this Friday’s post.
I think everyone else has those weeks? It’s a pain. Reading is one of my great passions in my life and I always feel frustrated when I don’t get enough time in to do it, especially if my book is good (the review will be next week, fingers crossed and all that malarkey). Nothing beats sticking something on the vinyl player and curling up with a good book, or even just plucking my book out of my bag and grabbing a couple of minutes immersed whilst waiting in a queue. I feel the same frustration when it comes to my favourite TV programmes (yes, I’m guilty of watching the googlebox).
Which is probably why I let out a small (ish) squeal when I heard that the X Files was returning to our screens – with Gillian Anderson! With David Duchovny! My heart skipped a beat. Ok, this probably makes me sound really incredibly sad/geeky, but I never tire of watching it. Some people have Star Trek, others Star Wars (there seems to be a pattern there) from which they can endlessly quote – I have the X Files. It was the first programme that I can say changed my life and consumed me as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of it. Thursday nights were sacrosanct, I had to sit down at 9pm and get transported into the world of “The Truth is Out There”. Come hell or high water, I was there. My bedroom was plastered with posters, fan memorabilia and anything I could rip out of magazines. I probably bored the pants off most people I spoke to (I include my parents, God bless them but they really did have to deal with me as a 16-year-old who could only talk about The Beatles and the X Files). Everyone else had their bands, I had Mulder and Scully.
Scarily the programme started in 1993, which was a shock to the system – really can that be all that time ago? Watching it back now, whilst the clothes may feel incredibly dated (only Gillian Anderson could make pantsuits look half decent), the series still feels fresh as a daisy. It still has the pulling power to suck you in and transport. The best bit – like a good book, was that you never knew where you were being taken.
Over the nine series (seasons for my American readers, sorry) and two films – I include the so/so last film, my passion remains undiminished. Weekly we were treated to a new chapter. Whether it was the over-arching alien conspiracy, or the creepy monster of the week – each series was like its own self-contained book. It unfolded as you watched along. The characters developed from two disparate people with palpable, almost insane sexual tension that could give Jane Austen a run for her money (I’d just like to say, the bee scene in the first film – I don’t need to say anymore). But there were spooky goings on, and romance! You couldn’t go wrong. I know that the paranormal is divisive, yet this series somehow managed to challenge how we thought about it, and indeed how the main characters thought – both Mulder and Scully changed how they believed over the course of the series.
That’s not to say that the series was perfection, like anything it had its ups and downs. (I only reserve that title for Mad Men, and even the final episodes could ruin that). It could produce horrifying monsters – I dare you to watch the episode with the necrophiliac that collects hair and finger nails late at night – but it could produce dud episodes in equal measure. I usually lost interest when it tackled technology, these were the days before smart phones etc and I just felt that technology should be left to Asimov. By the ninth series, the alien conspiracy had turned into the War and Peace of the televisual world. Did I care? Was that one plot twist too many? I still couldn’t tell you whether Mulder’s sister was dead or had been abducted. It was still fun, but like War and Peace, there were one too many patronymics and I had stopped wanting to flick to the front of the book to find out who was who.
With the new episodes I have two hopes – that they’re good enough to spawn more episodes or a film, or that they bring closure to it all. I’m scared that perhaps the X Files is a programme that should be left alone and be remembered for a TV defining show of the 90s. I become very defensive about the X Files (even about the second film), I just hope that they manage to pull this off – ok, so you may all get bored hearing me squeal every week – but it will be worth it.
Plus I need to see Gillian Anderson rocking the shit out of her wardrobe from The Fall some more. Can you imagine Scully in seriously high stilettos? I really hope she can give Claire Underwood from House of Cards a run for her money.
That and I firmly believe Gillian and David have paintings that are ageing in the attic. (They don’t age!)
Now that’s an X File in itself.
Oh, and this is the bee scene (I need to go and sit down after this).
The Knitty Gritty
Available on: DVD, iTunes and I believe you lucky people in the US can watch it on Netflix
Original Run (TV): 1993 – 2002
Films: The X Files: Fight the Future (1996) & The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008)