Thoughts on The X Files

The X Files was probably the first show I fell in love with. It was on a school field trip somewhere (I honestly have no recollection where) and an episode played on the tiny bus televisions. It was my first time. I was hooked.

Back then, it came on Sunday nights at 10pm (maybe 9pm? Who can remember?), which means by the time I caught on to it, the rest of the country had, too, because it had been moved from it's death-by-timeslot initial night of Friday. And after that bus trip, I became obsessed with it. The thing is, it wasn't even necessarily about the aliens or conspiracies (though those helped); it was about Mulder and Scully. Their multi-layered relationship was pure brilliance. I knew they were in love, because Scully would quickly glance back and forth between Mulder's eyes and his mouth, seemingly unconsciously. (I recently read an interview with Nathan Fillion where he tells his Castle co-star Stana Katic that she does that to him on camera, too, which is true. She claimed to not realize she did it. Either way, it works.) It was about the two of them - how they interacted, their body language, their longing glances. Yes, I am still one of those people who believes that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny belong together. It's why I never took to Tea Leoni. (Sorry, Tea, it's nothing personal.)

A few holidays ago someone - maybe my brother? - bought me one of The X Files mythologies DVD sets and it was incredible to watch from beginning to end. So incredible, in fact, that I splurged and bought the complete series on DVD. Tonight I pulled out Season 6, episodes 3 and 4 (both sort of stand-alone episodes, which I wanted, rather than mythology eps). And you know what? I still love love love the show, but it's pretty clear now, in retrospect, that it's not perhaps the finest television ever created. Most of the scenes are too dark (in the literal sense - I often can't see what's happening on screen), and occasionally Mulder has a line that is utterly cringe-worthy.

But still. The components that I watched it for back in the 90s are still there, and still why I will love the series forever. And it made me think -- they're the same components that make me love my favorite books. I can overlook flaws when the relationships are there, and when the author has made me care deeply about the characters. I can overlook a bad line or two of dialogue, or a muddled scene, if I'm still finding new layers to the characters.  And yes, I am willing to overlook aliens in Mulder's apartment and an implanted chip in Scully's brain, just like I'm willing to overlook a book based on kids who get sent to kill other kids while a nation watches on live television*. Because I need to know how all those characters survive. I care about them.

*Omg. Are Katniss and Gale the new Scully and Mulder?