Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nostalgia Trip: The X-Files

I wasn't born yet when JFK was assassinated, but I can tell you exactly where I was on January 12, 1997 when I saw my first episode of The X-Files. I was at a Holiday Inn in Seattle, on my very first USA trip, when I saw the Season 4 episode El Mundo Gira, about a mythical mexican beast. I then started following the adventures of FBI agents Mulder and Scully with keen interest.

Now you may get the impression that, yet again, I was showing up late to what had been something of a TV phenomenon for several years. In my defence, this was at a time when most houses in the UK had no access to satellite TV, and the terrestrial station, the BBC, was currently running episodes from the series about two years behind the US schedule. It's hard to believe now, just ten years later, that we used to have to wait so long to see the programs. This was also before TV on DVD became popular, so the best you could get was a VHS tape with two or three episodes, and even then, the options were limited.

It's also true that to an extent I was guilty of dismissing a show that had a central premise of aliens existing, governments involved in shadowy conspiracies, and the weird and horrific were part of everyday life. But by the end of 1996 I was disillusioned enough with life to begin to enjoy the more sinister aspects of these kinds of shows.

What attracted me initially to the series was the production values. Each episode screened like a short movie. It was also the first show I had seen in a long time where you had to see the opening scene, and watch the mystery unfolding. It was like a magic trick.

As a twenty-something, I have to say I also had a fanboy crush on Gillian Anderson, whose character Scully was so measured, so scientific, and yet also quite feminine, with that gorgeous hair. I liked the fact that she was short ( in one episode Mulder sarcastically tells her, "I'm surprised your feet reach the pedals!") but always seemed to handle the weirdest situations.

Like a lot of other people, I think the show peaked in seasons 3 and 4 and never really cared for the ongoing conspiracy plot. I kept thinking that there was no good way to resolve the ever-increasingly convoluted threads that would make sense and be a satisfactory payoff - and so it proved. I did like the Cigarette Smoking Man, though.

Now of course, the new movie is about to be released, which I'm sure will renew interest in the show again.

How about a couple of related mp3's?

Catatonia - Mulder & Scully
Mike Oldfield - Tubular X
Mark Snow - The X-Files Theme

I was going to post Gillian Anderson's CD Single until I remembered I had already posted it here.


Miss Parker said...

This show had a huge impact on my life. I dislike TV intensely, but tuned in every week faithfully to see X-Files. The same goes for The Pretender (obviously).

Very rarely do we see shows that have that type of raw chemistry between the leading characters, plus enormously entertaining storylines. It's why I no longer watch TV - both of these shows have ruined me for life.

Perhaps if the X-Files movie is successful, Miss Parker and Jarrod might consider another doing another, as well. One can only hope. :-)

Rissan said...

I remeber the first episode as well. The funny thing was in the Netherlands we were only one season behind the US, so it all started in 1994, and I remeber I became a hugh fan from the the first episode on.

BTW I have my own blog ( started from today. Check out and find a nice live version of The More You Life The More You Love by AFOS.

Spread the word.

Miss Parker said...

OK, here's a mysterious conspiracy for you....what happened to your "90's Video Vault" entry from the 26th?