Paige Schector invites us to explore the truth as she introduces her X-Files fandom…
The X-Files fit right into my proverbial wheelhouse. Growing up, my favorite film was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I would watch it over and over ago, just totally bemused by the idea of aliens coming to this planet and being friendly. I would sketch Devils Tower all over my school notebooks and pads. In fact, I still kind of do that today.
So a series about the paranormal? Let’s just say I was all in from the get-go.
I loved the fact that not all the episodes were about the conspiracy, the mythology. A lot of my favorite episodes were stand alones (a.k.a. monster-of-the-week) stories. The first season had some truly dazzling works of art. We got an inkling of the acting powerhouse Gillian Anderson would become in “Beyond the Sea” and then saw a blueprint for Mulder and Scully simultaneously being on each others’ side while still retaining their own sensibilities in “Ice.”
Back in the day, you were a shipper or a no-romo. I was kind of neither. I didn’t mind the idea of Mulder and Scully getting together, nor did I think it was necessary to advance the plot or hold my interest. What I gravitated to were stories reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and just the bond Scully and Mulder had — that was what seemed so unique and fresh to me. To kiss or not to kiss, that wasn’t my question.
And then the second season brought my favorite character, Alex Krycek, onto the canvas. I’m not sure I knew of Ratboy’s effect on me until I met Nick Lea at the 1998 X-Files Expo in Florida. It didn’t matter that Krycek’s motivations would seemingly change from story arc to arc, I just loved how he was giving it everything he got. He was fun … and easy on the eyes as well.
Third season brought my favorite TV writer to the forefront. Darin Morgan dazzled late in Season 2 with “Humbug,” but he really hit his stride with the trifecta of “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “War of the Coprophages” and “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.” I call the latter my favorite hour of television ever — except when I’m watching the Millennium-istic sequel “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense.”
By this time, I was totally obsessed with the show. I was buying memorabilia on eBay and participating actively in chat rooms and message boards. Anyone else remember “keepers?” I was keeper of Krycek’s jeans and Mulder’s leather jacket. I went to the aforementioned Expo and saw ‘Fight the Future’ a handful of times in the theater.
Along the way, I was not only becoming a diehard fan of the likes of David, Gillian, Nick, Mitch Pileggi, Bill Davis, etc., but I was also starting to appreciate certain styles. I loved late great director Kim Manners’ approach before seeing in gag reels and interviews that he seemed like a real cool guy. Vince Gilligan’s quirky scripts quickly became favorites as well.
One of my treasured memories revolves around the Season 6 episode “S.R. 819.” I remember where I was and what I was doing. In the years before text messaging and Twitter, my friend and I were on the phone every commercial break. “It’s Krycek! It’s Krycek!” … “I know! I know!” Television viewing ain’t like that any more.
I didn’t stop watching because David Duchovny left the show — I actually thought Robert Patrick did a fine job as a different type of character. It was when they took Krycek out at the end of Season 9 that I lost my taste for it. (Although I still believe he can and should be brought back as a Super Soldier.) I did, of course, watch the Season 9 finale. Ghost Krycek helps Mulder? Well, he never was predictable.
Since then, I’ve gone back and now I really treasure Season 9. It has some of my favorite episodes of the series run — specifically “John Doe,” “4-D” and “Audrey Pauley.” I valued The X-Files as a concept beyond Mulder and Scully … although I don’t believe trying to reboot their relationship with Agents Einstein and Miller from Season 10 is the way to do that.
The X-Files remained important to me after it went off the air. For the past five years or so, I’ve attended pop-culture conventions with my sister and started getting people from the show to sign my copy of The Complete X-Files. I call it my X-Files yearbook project. So far I’ve gotten David, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Darin and Glen Morgan, Robert, Nick, Mitch, Bill, Jerry Hardin, Martin Landau, Brad Dourif, Veronica Cartwright and James Remar. Before the “project” started, I also met and talked X-Files with Gillian, Robert Patrick and Tom Noonan — so obviously I hope to see them again (and others like The Lone Gunmen).
Nowadays, we keep tabs on Gillian and David at Facebook and Twitter. We all experienced Season 10 together and we can see X-Files panels that took place at different conventions on YouTube soon after. And message boards have given way to fabulous Facebook groups and blogs like that of X-Cast.
Most recently, I started writing a rewatch blog with my sister. Starting with the pilot, we do an episode a week. I serve as the resident “expert,” she’s the “amateur,” and we have a lot of fun bonding over my favorite show. And now I’m very excited about adding X-Cast to my proverbial list of credits.
Paige is a sports editor by trade and an X-Files blogger on the side. Her favorite episode is Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space,’ her favorite season is Season 3 and her favorite character is Alex Krycek.