It only seems natural to start off with one of the most game changing series of television from the 90s (my birth decade) to grace the silver screen. (Asides from Twin Peaks, which I may or may not get into at some point…)
It took my girlfriend (who I’ll refer to as Miss Amoeba) a lot of convincing to finally get me to watch her “favorite TV show of all time.” But I finally gave in and I have to say that I was stupid for not doing it any sooner.
For this post, I’ll try to keep it big picture about the various things I think the series tackles well and doesn’t. I will talk a bit about Season 1 just cause this is the first of the series of posts I’ll be making. Mind you, I’m only midway through Season 3 at this point due to school but I’m getting there. Yes, I know, I’m only just getting into the meat of this show and that eventually it’ll get worse but here’s the thing: every show has its ups and downs; some worse than others; sometimes lucky shows are able to bounce back. But for now, I’m usually enjoying myself.
I realize that this show is 20 years old and countless of people have given their thoughts on it so I’m just going to end up sounding like a broken record but I really don’t care.
A lot of the characterization in this show is excellent. Obviously this extends mostly to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the main characters, but there are other characters who I also think are written very well. Skinner, CSM, X, and Krycek are all written well for their screen time (at least for now…). Other episodic characters are also very well written; especially the “monsters” when they are written with empathy. Most of this credit goes to the various writers and the themes they chose to explore in these episodes. Chris Carter as Miss Amoeba has explained to me “cannot be trusted with his own characters,” and I think that is the most ironic and iconic thing about the show.
Another thing I like about the show that sort of ties into the above is the choice in theme of an episode. My favorite episodes so far have been ones that:
- Are topical and push the boundaries of controversial topics e.g. Eve, Roland, Soft Light, Revelations
- Subvert and poke fun at the usual modus operandi of the show e.g. Død Kalm, Humbug, Syzygy
- Have good suspense/pacing e.g. Duane Berry, Sleepless
- Play with or are an homage to horror e.g. Squeeze, Ice, Shapes, Darkness Falls
There are a lot of good episodes (remember this is my subjective opinion!) and most of them touch on at least two of these points at the same time.
Most of Season One was…. bad?? I’ll probably make a another post on my general thoughts about how shows approach their seasons but yea this season was a struggle to get through and attach myself to the show. In particular, the pilot was BORING. It just went so slowly that I couldn’t really care less. It also introduces my least favorite aspect of the show although I guess its a necessary evil for the show’s continuation. I absolutely hate how Mulder and Scully always lose their evidence or that in the end nothing really changes. I guess this is a product of the time the show was set. Back then, 20+ episode orders per season were the norm as well as one and done procedurals. The most obvious example I can think of that still does this is Law and Order:SVU. It’s just frustrating that every episode basically starts back at square one. Don’t get me wrong Monster-of-the-Week is what this show is all about but give these characters some wins in the end goddammit!
The writing for most single episode characters is just plain terrible. Most of these people seem like…. idiots? I don’t know; they just seem more like living set pieces or exposition opposed to real people who are encountering some of the weirdest phenomenon known to man.
Season 1’s love of rehashing exactly the same theme and or monster/phenomenon over and over and over; often right after each other. This was just the worst! Like really??? Another evil kid who is actually a reincarnated person looking for revenge? Another case of body swapping? Another case of astral projection? I sleep. Quite literally these episodes put me to sleep.
Finally, and I could honestly write more into each of these categories… The way Scully was treated in most episodes. I get it; it was the 90s but this woman is too smart to constantly be being kidnapped or harmed in the manner that she is. How dare they keep doing this to her! And I know its only just starting too. It’s truly a blessing that because of this show we have today what is called the Scully effect. Woman felt empowered to explore the fields of science and technology, of investigative work, of being strong and empowered and sure of their thoughts and abilities. That was a lot of ands… my middle school grammar teacher would kill me if she read this.
And with that this post comes to an end. Bonus treat for those who are still here:
(Pictured: me furiously typing out the bad and ugly rants instead of doing my job)