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Writer's Block: The X-Files Birthday

Today in 1993, The X-Files first premiered. What's your favorite episode? Have you ever experienced paranormal activity yourself?

I wasn't a big fan of the show. I've experienced a fair amount of paranormal activity but it wasn't particularly frightening. It was more spiritually meaningful or just an amusing thing that happened, depending on context. Many of the things the show got into were too far removed from my experience of them to be anything but fiction. The premise was amusing. What if all the tabloid things were literal? You have the classic "turn paranoid fantasy into good suspense fiction." I'm not saying it was bad. I've seen a few episodes but like much television, it doesn't stick in my mind as that memorable and the long term series plot was way too complex to just sample an episode here and there and make sense of it. That's like reading a long novel by randomly reading chapter 8 and then chapter 29 and then chapter 5 not in order and expect to have any idea what's going on. Because I like plots like that, I would probably enjoy it if I ran into a situation where I could watch all its episodes in succession without someone spoiling it for me in progress. But I have to ask myself if I've got the time to do that with something of that peripheral an interest?

It's time I could spend reading, or painting, or writing a good book.
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2008 06:24 am (UTC)
I love the show. Danny and I have a list of all the stand-alone episodes and when we feel like a bit of X-Files and don't know which one to watch, we roll a d10 (ignoring 10s) to pick the season, and then a d20 to pick the episode. We watched the whole series from the beginning a few years ago, though, so we know the backstory. I think there are definitely reasons to not just watch random episodes, to watch it all from the start, but on the other hand, some of the episodes make wonderful stand-alones. Any of the ones written by Darin Morgan, for one thing. He only did about five episodes, but he has a wonderful dark sense of humour.

For me the nice part is that I know it all well enough to do that, to watch random bits. It's not nearly as dependent on the mytharc as you'd think, but I also think you'd need to ask someone who knows it well to tell you which episodes are watchable without having that overarching knowledge of the show. And of course which episodes to not watch ever because they are so, so bad. Fortunately there are very few of those.

Some people say that the last two seasons don't work as well, when it stops being about Scully and Mulder and starts being about Doggett and Reyes. I still watched seasons eight and nine, but I'd have real trouble recommending episodes from those seasons, simply because the show had become about Scully and Mulder, not just about the paranormal cases that they investigated, and taking those two characters out of it changed the dynamic so much that it was like watching a different show.

I was happy when the new movie came out. Some of the reviews I read were all 'but where did the mytharc go?' and I was happy because it wasn't mytharc, I was happy because it was like one big long stand-alone episode and I always liked the stand-alone stuff best. There were elements of the mytharc and the conspiracy and all that I liked as well, but the first movie did enough mytharc stuff that I was worried that people who didn't watch the series wouldn't get it, and since I want there to be more movies, I'm glad that this one was as stand-alone as it was.

Have I waffled enough? I think I have.
Sep. 11th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I can see how when you have already seen all or most of it in order and know the general series plotline, it's easier to appreciate an individual episode. I didn't know that Scully and Mulder wound up leaving the show and they continued it -- shows how far I'd given up on catching up on it. The movie might be quite enjoyable for being a movie and created to be stand-alone.

I'll keep it in mind the next time we want to do a video spree around here and suggest it. There are some shows we do rent a whole lot of it at once and watch over a few days as its own thing -- which I tend to like more than waiting for once a week episodes anyway and have enjoyed since I quit watching TV as such.
Sep. 11th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
Well, they didn't leave the show until season eight, which aired in 2000, so yeah, even if you'd given up in 1999 you still wouldn't know.

I'd probably still recommend watching the series before watching the new movie simply because you appreciate the little nuances more. There was definitely stuff I was laughing over that even the friends I went with who've watched all the episodes didn't pick up on, but that's mainly because I'm a fiend for in-jokes.

You could at least watch all of Season One to see how you go, because it doesn't end in a cliffhanger. After that, all the seasons end in a cliffhanger, except for the last one... the nice thing is that with DVDs you don't have to wait up to six months to see how it turns out. Much as I loathe the words 'To Be Continued', I think there's something to be said for a TV show that can make you impatient for six months until the next season airs.
Sep. 11th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
Hmm. You may be right about the cliffhanger thing, it does take skill to do one that well. I'm the same way with wanting to have the cliffhanger resolution handy when I watch or read it though!

I'll keep that in mind the next time we do rentals, thanks.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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