When good tv shows go bad: "The X-Files", What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rex Bachmann, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    When good tv shows go bad: "The X-Files", What Went Wrong?
    Now that the dust has settled on the finale of one of tv's best shows ever, I thought it timely and appropriate to do an analyis on the decline of this by now classic. I'm trying to develop a theory of what it is about great tv programs that characterizes their decline and The X-Files is a prime example of a show that, somewhere along the line, took a wrong turn on the road to forever.
    I don't hold with the critics of the show who claim the show "went to hell" after the fourth or fifth year (unless they are speaking solely of the "mythology" thread ). I believe something else is going on, but will restrain myself from commentary on that for now.
    In any event, it will be seen, perhaps rightly so, as an oversimplification that the show can basically be divided into two periods:
    (a) the first five years, the period of Vancouver production (or X-Files, V.C.). I would assume most, if not all, devotees will agree that these seasons, or some subset thereof, constitute the heyday or the pinnacle of the show.
    (b) the last four years, the period of what I will call the "LA Captivity" (or X-Files, C.A.), a time of spottier quality and increasing fan discontent and viewer fall-off.
    I invite reader participation and feedback in this thread, which is---let's be honest---basically an X-Files gripe thread. But as with the Star Trek gripes thread of not long ago, I would like to construct a systematization of regular viewers' gripes, not just to air kvetching about something in one episode or another that this person or the other may not like. I had sought some time during the weekly discussions of ninth-season episodes of The X-Files to elicit other participants' ideas on what they saw as the markers/indicators of the decline that they so often complained about. I got very little feedback, so I hope a whole thread dedicated to such a discussion will succeed where that failed.
    I think, in order to present such a systematic view of the decline of The X-Files, one must first state why one liked The X-Files in general during its heyday. What was it about the show that made you at one time a regular, devoted viewer? One might exemplify by citing these qualities in one's favorite individual episode (or two/three-parter, if that is your choice). Go on to demonstrate how that/those feature(s) or characteristic(s) were lost over time. Perhaps cite an episode or two as examples. One might---and this is tough and time-consuming ---compare two scenes from totally different episodes treating the same-type situation; one where the show "got it right", the other where you think it went wrong in handling a parallel or similar situation.
    Also, if there are things you didn't like about the show from the beginning that only got worse, or more annoying, as time went on, you might state and exemplify them as well. Please try to keep it "generic". In other words, anything you bring up should be part of a trend or be a general characteristic of the show, rather just one flaw in one episode. Ask yourself: can this (in theory, at least) be cited for earlier or later episodes of the program as well?
    Like any long-running show The X-Files has been subject to certain trends and ailments.
    Some of the (for me) obvious downward trends:
    1. lack of dramatic or situational verisimilitude:
    ---Just off the bat, a small detail that may be niggling: characters enter dark rooms most often without trying to cut on the lights (now that's a pet peeve!). Not in America!
    ---The actual likelihood of FBI intervention/involvement in some of the cases investigated. The "Hollywood convenience", as it may be called.
    ---The too facile giving-up of baby Bill by Scully. (A biggie!)
    2. "Haven't we met somewhere before?" or "deja view", that is, seeming repetitiveness of theme and/or presentation:
    ---"Teliko" : "Squeeze"/ "Tooms" (supple monster after vital human body fluids or body parts)
    ---"Redrum" (reverse re-living of events) : "Monday" (repeated telling of same events from different camera angles)
    ---most of the "mythology" episodes ('nuff said!)
    ---"Demons" (Mulder goes bonkers) : "Wetwired" (Scully goes bonkers)
    ---"Mind's Eye" (blind woman sees through eyes of a killer) : "Oubliette" (ex-kidnap victim sees through the eyes of present kidnap victim of the same offender)
    ---"Young at Heart" : "Pusher"/"Kitsunegari" : "Paper Hearts" (super-villains pushing Mulder's buttons and/or those out for personal revenge)
    This is not to say necessarily that all later episodes with similar themes are bad, just that they tend to remind one of earlier, sometimes better (or fresher-seeming) episodes. The stronger the premise, the less flexible the allowance on its variance (the less "wiggle room"). Sf- or supernatural-themed fiction has, by its very definition, strong premises. Comes with the territory.
    3. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall . . .", or ever increasing series self-referentiality. It got really bad in the last half of the final season (e.g., X-Files-history-recounting Agent Leyla Harrison ("Scary Monsters", "Alone" (8th season)); the Brady Bunch (i.e., covert X-Files) references of "Sunshine Days"). When the producers and writers feel the need to talk or reply directly to the "fans" through the script, you know you're in trouble. The story should be about the story, not about fan reaction(s) to the story or to the actors' off-screen lives, or whatever.
    4. scientific inaccuracy implausibility. Not too high on my list, since it's the supernatural and horror ---the irrational---elements of the show that appeal to me, and they tend to mix with the science anyway.) It does sometimes beg questions, but, unlike in other places, they are far more easily overlooked.
    What makes your list?
    Note: Now that I've (hopefully) set the scene (laid out the premises and bases for the discussion), I ask only that you please, please, please(!), confine your remarks to effects, not (presumed) causes. I can't emphasize that enough. This thread discussion is meant as a descriptive excercise. Although I'm in the process of theory formation, I need others' perspectives on the nature of the decline. At this point, at least, speculation on causation would be futile and useless, as well as counterproductive, in my opinion.
     
  2. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Now to practice what I preach.
    Why I liked The X-Files:
    Plainly speaking, I like science fiction and supernatural fiction. When they are good and true to their names they are each in their own way fictions of ideas, first and foremost. Fictions that make one reflect on ordinary existence by introducing the extra-ordinary. They can be interpolative (the strange is introduced into the midst of the familiar) or extrapolative (the familiar is displaced into the midst of the strange).
    To begin with, the unusual, frequently obscure, thought- provoking X-Files episode titles, with their sometimes mystifying---even unfathomable---allusions, which, frustratingly (given the heaps of credits that burden the run-time of each episode), are never shown to the viewer. (Is that technique, or what?)
    The best horror, in my opinion, (a) is dependent on building and maintaining a creepy mood (the "creep factor") that includes both a sense of intimacy and a sense of isolation, (b) plays into some aspect of our existence, and, consequently, (c) lasts long after the immediate danger seems at an end (dread). The X-Files regularly played into such a mood of lasting dread better than any series I've seen since the original Twilight Zone, which did it occasionally (e.g., in "Mirror Image") with either supernatural or (pseudo-)scientific story elements. Even the visual darkness of the production---I still find it sometimes almost impossible to see precisely what is going on in given scenes, even after repeated viewings---plays into this mood.
    It's the mystery and horror elements of The X-Files that made the show for me
    horror (dread) ----- intimacy and sense of isolation
    mystery: no one ([no human) knows, or really can know, the answer to all the questions raised
    One attribute of true mystery is that all the questions aren't neatly wrapped up with a pretty pink ribbon at the end of events. The unknown remains fundamentally unknown at the end of the story. And, in many cases (e.g., "Chinga", "Fearful Symmetry", and the like), it's just as well. With many of the monster episodes we have no idea where these beings/freaks of nature have come from, nor do we know what will become of them ("Folie a Deux", "Home").
    It's not for nothing that the majority of horror situations in film feature a lone victim stalked by a lone pursuer. There is, contrarily speaking, a certain "safety in numbers" that the conspiracy thread of the program, too, promotes, in my opinion. Sometimes that can be good, sometimes not so good. That's a factor in what makes Alien (1979) "chilling", but Aliens (1986) "thrilling" (a "thrill-ride" in today's "marketing-speak" (ugh!)).
    What I disliked about The X-Files:
    That's easy for me. The government-alien conspirary/ intrigue/"black ops" thread, the show's so-called "mythology". I know I'm in a distinct minority in this forum (if posts tell anything), but so be it. I could never stand spy and conspiracy stuff: James Bond, the ultra-tedious Prisoner, and the like. With the exception of "Patient X"/"The Red and the Black" (where it's the aliens interacting both with humans and with each other, for a change), I could scarcely think of these stories as science fiction, but as mostly standard spy, car-/helicopter-chasin', ass-whuppin', explodin', incoherently plotted messes. In a word: standard tv.
    The involvement of a crowd---a worldwide conspiracy---in the proceedings, to my mind, absolutely destroys any sense of isolation or intimacy and, for that matter, any sense of dread. And, even if the proceedings had been coherent and consistent---which they weren't---I could never follow it. It's too mundane for my tastes for me even to try. The happenings in the mythology episodes for the most part seemed the most mundane of the series.
    intrigue/conspiracy ----- non-isolation/paranoia
    ("Everybody's out to get me!")
    secrecy: lots of people know the answer but struggle to keep it hidden
    That the conspiracy came to center directly on the main characters was a grave turn for the worse that made it for me even less palatable than it had been in the beginning. Finally, as every devotee of the show should know by now, things came to the point where the very foundations of Mulder's pursuits are his own family's central involvement in the alien invasion/government cover-up conspiracy. The primary impetus to all Mulder's activities, the abduction of his sister by aliens---what should have remained an ultimate mystery (unknowable) for the character
    and the show, with no connexion to mundane goings-on among humans---gets a pedestrian explanation as part of the collaboration/invasion conspiracy. Although it makes as much sense in that context as anything else to be found there, it robs the series of its fundamental prima causa (just as the explanations in 2010 (a.k.a. The Year We Got Ripped Off) did---or tried to do---to Stanley Kubrick's mystery science-fiction masterpiece 2001). For, despite the science trappings, it's at the instigation of the irrational---the unknown and unknowable---that all subsequent (relevant) events of the X-Files story are set into motion. To try to explain it rationally goes against the grain of the series and can only ruin the concept. Every time.
    As the series develops more and more, the "this-time- its-personal"-syndrome rubs off on too many of the non-mythology episodes and the adventures become about the investigators themselves (and I don't just mean Mulder, either). A sad turn that often means no longer need there be files for The X-Files. The characters know things first hand since their cases become centered on them ("4-D", "John Doe", "Release"). They don't investigate cases any more as much as they stumble upon strange phenomena week after week, as one poster to an earlier thread put it.
    Thinking of some of those later episodes I am reminded once again of the kind of show The X-Files once was by a re-viewing of "Folie a Deux" the other day. The amount of research and sit-down investigative work on display in that episode is amazing: the search through goo-gobs of files for the term "hiding in the light" and its variants, coming up with documented cases of similar work-place occurrences, mapping them out over time and space to come up with a pattern of movement, and then connecting that pattern with boss Pincus who's been accused of being a "monster's" history. ("I have relatives in Florida." Yeah, right! In the Everglades, no doubt!) That to me is real detective work and what ultimately lends a realistic versimilitude to an otherwise fantastic plot. Later episodes, even when they do some of this, have a perfunctoriness about them that leaves one unconvinced as to how much work must be put in before the "action" can begin or proceed. ("You've seen it all before, so let's move on." Ho-hum.) There was most often a sense of history to whatever case Mulder and Scully pursued that was just plain missing in the last few seasons.
     
  3. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    X-Files humor
    In general, I do not favor X-Files comedy, 'cause I think that comedy is basically incongruent with the X-Files' subject matter, if not the format itself. Nevertheless some of my favorite episodes are also comedies or semi-comedies.
    Each of the good comedy episodes is also characterized by a thoroughly spooky, usually horrific, serious plot thread. In other words, the comedy is part of the story, not necessarily the main focus of the story (unlike in, say, "Small Potatoes", which I didn't enjoy so much). My favorite episode in that particular regard is "Detour", which starts out wonderfully comedic (Mulder subtly "dissing" his FBI colleagues for their trivialities) and moves seamlessly into the darkness---or ad noctum as the bad Latin of the episode's cryptic inscription declares---of the chilling real story. I can't think off hand of any other episode that so skillfully combined comedic and horrific elements so well. I think comedy works best in The X-Files when it has something concrete to work against: the horror itself. In fact, some of the best comedic moments in the series take place in the deadly serious episodes: Mulder and Scully discussing (her) reproduction in a quiet moment in "Home"; every third line of dialog in "Clyde Bruckman's . . . ." against the back-drop of serial murders by a psychic (and psycho) killer; the multiple-points-of-view techniques in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"(with the foul language conveniently "BLEEPED" out) and "Bad Blood")
    In none of the limp or uninteresting comedy from X-Files, C.A., such as "Rain King", "Je Souhaite", "The Amazing Maleeni", "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", "Fight Club", or the Lone Gunmen caper comedies, is there any real horror to play off of. In fact, some of these strain so terribly to be funny that the element of the "strange" almost gets lost.
    My question: whatever happened to Darren Morgan, who did some of those wonderful early comedies, and where was he in the show's declining years when his writing skills were sorely
    needed?
     
  4. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I think it's simply a matter of not knowing when to quit. Personally, I thought season 6 was excellent. And season 7 was pretty great. Seasons 8 and 9 should have been cancelled retroactively.

    I think they did more damage to X-files in having S8/9 than any monetary benefit. I will only be buying through 7 on DVD.

    I thinks films after S7 would have been great. They are in a condierably weaker position for making films having had 8&9. Both with regards to the storyline and fan interest.

    Had they stopped at 7, a spinoff with Dogget and Reyes would not have been out of the question, and may have succeeded. Their choice was not a good one.
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    The Conspiracy was the lifeblood of the show. THey killed them, they killed the show

    Then Carter had NO clue where to go, and it painfully showed. Once I ran out of T-1000 jokes, the Dogget years of XF were painfully dull. I managed to enjoy about 3 episodes of the final 10
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Well, Rex, said a mouthful. It's quite a challenge to meet all of those requirements about how this thread should go. [​IMG]
    How / why I watch television
    People like different things about TV, and I think to get a feel for where someone is coming from regarding X-Files, you should understand how they watch TV in general.
    IMO, television is both the most successful and most failed form of entertainment. It is the only A/V form of expression that allows for continuous stories, which can develop characters and events to be more life-like. Their is not two-hour limit as in movies. This allows an audience to feel more involved. Once a week, you get to see what your fictional "friends" are up to, how their world plays out, etc. This is its success.
    Its failure is that this is rarely done.
    IMO, television is more powerful with story arcs and "mythology" for this reason. You have a whole universe to build weekly stories from, and things change and evolve, like in real life. Sadly, the only type of TV that regularly takes advantage of this is soap operas (blech).
    How X-Files fits in
    When X-Files attempted to do this, and this is what got me interested. Contrary to Rex, I enjoy the conspiracy stuff. I wanted to know what was up with the Smoking Man, what was the relationship with the aliens, Mulder's father, etc.
    Frankly, a "monster of the week" format bores me. I usually didn't care for that: "It's an alien/ghost/wolfman." "No, that's impossible." And so on.
    What happened to the X-Files
    A good story arc succeeds when it is planned out in advanced. The X-Files demonstrates what happens when it is not: elements get thrown in and taken out willy-nilly and explanations don't quite cut it. Characters end up doing things for reasons that don't fit in with anything else, and it just becomes a mess. A story is successful when charaters have goals and we see how they try to achieve them. A non-planned story arc does not allow this to happen.
    For examples of pre-planned story arcs that work, no one does it better than Straczynski, who showed and is showing everyone what could really be done with the television format.
    Simply put: if you're going to do a contiguous story arc show, figure out what you're going to do, then do it. If you're not, that's perfectly fine, but I'll probably not be interested.
     
  7. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  9. Mike Franklin

    Mike Franklin Stunt Coordinator

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    John Berggren you hit the nail on the head. I have said the same thing you are saying. They should have stopped the show after season 7 and finished the series with one last movie. There should have two spinoffs one being the Lone Gunman and the other a Doggit and Reyes x-files type show. After the 7th season there just wasnt much left to do with the show and that is what ultimately killed it in my opinion.
     
  10. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    Although I hesitate to join yet another discussion as to why the X-Files turned to crap, Rex clearly started the thread to analyze a greater problem with television and wants to hear constructive criticism backed up with some casual knowledge of the series; here goes:
    Age
    The primary cause of the X-Files' downfall was simply its age. One of the show's attractive qualities is its unique originality that made it a genre standout. After a while, the plots could be described as a combination of older episodes, much like we do with newer Trek episodes today.
    Real People Make The X-Files
    Perhaps one of the biggest hooplas involving an actor being dissatisfied with location is David Duchovny, who seemed to be very vocal (and often misquoted) in the media about his desire to work in L.A. First off, DD wasn't the only one who would gain from the show being produced in L.A., since that's where the show's post-production and writing staff were already based. Carter kept telling DD that he would eventually move the production south in due time, and DD finally called his bluff.
    As for the leads themselves, who can blame DD and Gillian Anderson for becoming bored with the series? Nine years of being the series main leads can cause a lot of stress and take up a lot of time. Also, this series wasn't NYPD Blue or ER. It was a genre series that demanded you can work in a freezer, the desert, and meet the other physical demands of the role. The focus was always on Mulder and Scully, as the series never fully developed into an ensemble cast well.
    Concerning the producers themselves, I would imagine they're experiencing some bewilderment as well. This year the show took some heat because of Scully's baby and how poorly the stand alone episodes followed the mythology installments. Sadly, this was true of the series' entire run. For example, at the beginning of Season 4 with "Herrenvolk", Mulder's mother suffers a stroke and lies in a coma for a month. At the end of the episode, CSM orders the Alien Bounty Hunter to heal her. She miraculously wakes. The following episode that was produced ("Unruhe") only made small mention of the fact that Mulder's mom was completely cured, and even that scene was actually cut. I believe that these continuity scenes from mythology to stand alone were consistently cut over the series' nine year run. I guess there's a reason they're called "stand alone" episodes. [​IMG]
    Carter and Spotnitz wrote some spectacular episodes in the first four seasons, but after a while I believe they began to stray from the path of success that they setup. There was less time to research a script, and this really held them back in the last few years.
    On the topic of people, I don't believe the series' move from Vancouver to L.A. was the cause of its creative troubles. Both crews have incredible production standards, but they're involvement in no way limited what you could do in Vancouver or L.A. In Canada, they were able to do some foggy, spooky episodes nicely, while in L.A. they were able to do some nicely crafted installments like "Triangle" and "Drive".
    The X-Files Became A Franchise
    The saddest thing about being a cult show is that it leads to three distinct possibilities:
    1 - you remain a small time cult show
    2 - your ratings eventually slip, and the network has no qualms about cancelling you, and you're forever remembered on some long forgotten webpage
    3 - you become a franchise
    The first two possibilites are the standard procedures in television, while the 3 possibility can lead to disaster. FOX wanted to keep the show going as long as possible. Many give Carter and Co. heat for staying on, but if they quit their positions could have been filled very quickly. So now you have the series being continued on purely monetary basis.
    The X-Files' Best Writers Are Vagrants
    Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, James Wong, and Howard Gordon were all heavily involved with the series in its first four years. Glen Morgan and James Wong were brought onto the series to help produce the show, and they basically set the standard for the series. Half way through season two, however, they wanted to run their own creative projects and left to pursue them (with mixed results). Besides a brief producing and 4 episode stint in Season 4, Morgan and Wong moved on to movies.
    Howard Gordon was one of the series' best producers, but he went on to do other television, such as 24.
    Daring Morgan was notorious for writing the least amount of scripts possible, even though he did wonderful rewrites that made episodes like "Quagmire" such a pleasure to watch. He made two of Millennium's best episodes for Morgan and Wong when they took over Carter's other 1013 production in 1997-98 season. He's apparently dropped off the radar, but I especially hope he resurfaces sooner rather then later.
    Expectations
    Finally, my belief is that the series was just so damn good in its first four seasons that it would be hard time following it up. The creative talent involved at the time was so phenonmenal. Everyone was excited about being involved with it, from the producing staff to the actors. Plus, the series literally came out of nowhere on Friday nights and blew everyone out of the water. After the buzz died off, the rest of the series was nothing but standard sci-fi fare.
    Bottom line, this is by far one of the best series to be produced on North American commercial television that set the standard for everything afterward. Its mistakes and triumphs will make TV all the better.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i don't have specifics, but here's how i (more or less) would summarize the show:
    in the beginning, the show was "fresh". it was something that hadn't been done before...or at least not well done. the idea of aliens, conspiracies, the government, and supernatural was very well integrated into the developing arcs.
    i distinctly remember watching the show and thinking, "wow, these are great stories!".
    plus dd and ga had chemistry - you really felt like they were polar opposites trying to achieve the same goal.
    i also enjoyed the "raw" feel of the film.
    as the show moved on, it got much "slicker". better stories and effects helped to widen the scope of possible stories and scenarios. they developed some interesting arc's with plausible storylines.
    by now the show was a definite hit. but...
    near the end, the show just didn't seem to make much sense anymore. i still enjoyed the "monster" episodes, but the story arc just became annoying. it got to the point where i almost didn't want to watch it if i knew it was going to involve a conspiracy or an alien.
    i am glad the show is over...it was becoming too unbearable to see where the show had fallen. i still hold on to good memories of watching the shows with my friends and following the characters.
    i feel like my sunday night's will never be the same. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tony_P

    Tony_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting thread. I'm not sure I can summarize my feelings on the X-files with quite the rigor and precision Rex is asking for, but I'll give it my best shot! [​IMG]
    For the first five seasons, I loved X-Files to death. It used to be my favorite show of all time, but its awful decline allowed a certain perky vampire slayer to take its place. I liked the MOTW, comedy, and conspiracy episodes on a fairly equal level and I really enjoyed the X-Files movie as well. I watched faithfully through the seventh season and then gave up mid-way through the eighth. A few years ago I wouldn't answer the phone while X-files was on...this year I only watched three episodes. Why?
    1) The Mulder/Scully relationship
    The absolute best thing about the show for me was the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. I really liked these characters and I liked how they treated each other. They were allowed to be intelligent and many of the episodes depended on them outwitting their opponents or obstacles. They were dedicated, honest, and usually uncompromising.
    They were also very lonely people. Duchovny and Anderson both tapped into the pathos of those who sacrifice too much of their personal lives for their job. Without any external social life to speak of, both characters grew to depend on each other for personal support. This is characterized by little moments throughout the first five seasons. You can see the characters becoming best friends, even falling in love. The moments in the series where these two characters really talk to one another are my favorite.
    But, the creators knew that if Mulder and Scully ever "really" got together, that would ruin the formula. So they dragged it out. I mean, REALLY dragged it out. Logically speaking, the relationship Mulder and Sully had formed by the fourth season should have had some form of resolution. Scully was dying of cancer and Mulder was despondent at losing his life-partner. In "Memento Mori", we see both Mulder's desperation and Scully's feelings for him (in the form of her journal writings). But after Scully recovers in season five, all of this is forgotten and the character arc is reset and never again addressed in a coherent fashion.
    The writers could have continued a platonic relationship between the two by introducing a love interest for either Mulder or Scully. Or they could have explored the M/S relationship further. Instead they put it on a holding pattern and I believe the actors began to lose interest. This may have occurred for various other reasons (length of service on the show, repetitive plot lines, etc.), but Duchovny and Anderson's boredom with their characters started eroding at the Mulder-Scully relationship. During the latter seasons, they really began mailing it in. Once Duchovny left, I had the distinct impression Anderson was just there to collect a paycheck. There was a paucity of little "character moments" between the two. At times, they acted like strangers.
    2) The "sweeps" formula gone awry
    Another problem I had with the show was the trap the writers created with the conspiracy arc. I really enjoyed the conspiracy episodes at the beginning, but after a while they dragged the show down. This was because conspiracy episodes were only "allowed" during the sweeps months. Huge changes in the plot would occur in these episodes and then be disregarded in between. At least in the early seasons they tried to put in some continuity. X would show up in an occasional MOTW, or Scully would get a nosebleed to remind us she still had cancer. But in the latter seasons, they got lazy. Mulder would be in the hospital with his brain going haywire one week, the next there would be no mention of it. After a while, this just became too aggravating.
    Also, I began to lose trust in the writers. I expected them to not adequately resolve plot threads. I expected them to use "cheats" to get our heros out of danger. Once this happened, the show was not able to make me care as much about the characters. And I began to lose interest.
    X-Files was a truly great show. I will always watch my early season DVDs, but I will probably not bother to get the latter seasons. I don't begrudge Chris Carter or Fox from making the show into a franchise, but I wish they had been daring enough to keep upping the ante in the latter seasons. They could have really done some interesting work with the characters and kept the show interesting for both cast and audience.
     
  13. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Mike, I agree with most of what you said. The first 4 years were awesome becuase of the creative team involved. This show nosedived with Season 5. I rememeber watching it and being so disappointed. I remember enjoying maybe 7 episodes that season(and that may be a generous estimate).Later seasons were even worse.Even when was Scully was dying I began loosing interest. You knew they werent gonna kill her so...
    I do think that Andersons "brokenhearted Scully" was affective when Mulder disappeared and actually felt something for the character again, but it didnt last.


    "Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, James Wong, and Howard Gordon were all heavily involved with the series in its first
    four years...."

    IMHO,Millenniums first 2 seasons were just fabulous (before they left that show and it got lost)
     
  14. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    Truer words have never been spoken. The first and second seasons of Millennium rank up there with the X-Files as its best. Lance Henriksen owned the role of Frank Black, while Terry O'Quinn (Peter Watts) proved himself worthy of holding his own on screen as well. The finale of the second season was by far some of the best television I've ever seen. The series finale the following year was very, very well done too.

    Its a shame the original creative talent behind the show never returned after Season 4. I believe their contributions could have made some wonderful highlights.

    While on the topic of writers, I'd like to mention Vince Gilligan. This dude wrote wonderful episodes from the end of Season 2 til the end of Season 9. Given a chance, I believe he could rank up there with Morgan and Wong.
     
  15. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    What Tony said.

    Also, the mythology episodes were the reason I watched the show - hated the "monster of the week" episodes. But it was evident that the mythology ended a few seasons ago, because in the finale, when Skinner was recapping the whole conspiracy, he essentially stopped a few seasons back (except for the tacked-on "supersoldier" bit).

    Had the show ended sometimes after Krychek infected Skinner with those nanobots, they'd have gone out on a high note.

    Perhaps another problem was that the advancing age of the actor who played Cancer Man may have been why he became a cameo player. When he was essentially gone, it just wasn't fun anymore.
     
  16. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I thought they went downhill when they got away from the original concept of the X-Files themselves, where each week they would investigate one of the paranormal/supernatural occurrences that was documented in the actual X-Files. I really hated all the conspiracy/mythology episodes and much preferred the stand-alone case file investigations and MOTW episodes.

    All the stuff about conspiracies, alien-human hybrids, super soldiers, colonization, etc., just made me tune out.
     
  17. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Mike Broadman wrote:

     
  18. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Mike Broadman wrote:
     
  19. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Mike Graham wrote:
     
  20. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Mike Graham wrote:
    As opposed to, say, the other, totally mythological-arcked, derivative and cynical UFO-investigator/conspiracy show, Dark Skies, which I couldn't stand.
    The mention of the "freshness"-factor brings to the foreground the issue of the value the culture places on novelty for its own sake. Correlative to the perception of decline in any creative endeavor is the perceived loss of novelty of any given thing. ("That's yesterday's news!") "Good" though it may be, if it's "old" (or "old-hat"), it's outta here!
     

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