Danielle Kasper introduces herself by talking her late blooming love of The X-Files…
My introduction to The X-Files was late. I had just turned 13 when the final episode aired on UK TV and, thanks to strict bedtimes, the show passed me by. It passed me by so completely that, until my brother suggested I watch it in 2015, I didn’t know anything about the The X-Files. The benefit of arriving late to the party was that I could binge watch all 202 episodes and 2 movies which led me up to about August 2015; just in time to get really really excited about season 10.
It was love from the pilot episode. With hindsight, this is unsurprising. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and reading Goosebumps and books about spontaneous human combustion and stigmata from the non-fiction section at my local library. By the third episode I was taking notice of the storytelling – it didn’t rely on gore or gratuitous violence to induce fear. Instead, the horror came from the combination of Glen Morgan and James Wong’s clever script, Mark Snow’s sinister soundtrack, and Doug Hutchison’s brilliant acting. The final scene with Tooms in a prison cell viewing the hatch on his cell door with a sinister smile was deeply unsettling. The X-Files did horror well and it got my attention.
I had watched the pilot episode with no expectations and by the end of the third episode knew that this was the TV show for me. And so began my X-Files journey… Mulder and Scully, the believer and the skeptic: two unlikely heroes that I just got. They were smart and endearing, intriguing and kind of annoying. I consider The X-Files to be a brilliant character study, as well as one of the greatest love stories. As Chris Carter put it – “theirs is an intellectual romance…It’s the most potent kind of sexual energy or what I would call the meeting of the minds. Everything else is easy and fleeting. Ephemeral. But that – I’ll call it a soul connection – is the greatest romance”. I didn’t need Mulder and Scully to fall in love but watching them go through personal tragedy and heartache together, to literally go the end’s of the earth for each other, their romantic involvement felt inevitable.
The X-Files is the show I wish I’d grown up with because Scully was the idol I never had. She was confident, complex, stood up for her beliefs and questioned authority. She was a loyal and caring friend. At times she was wickedly funny. And she was never sexualised like so many female heroines. At 26 years old I still want to be Dana Scully when I grow up.
This Summer while traveling around the US I took a trip up to Vancouver and saw a few of the filming locations which was sort of a glorious, geeky pilgrimage which I try not to tell people about lest they think I’m insane. I climbed Grouse Mountain, aka Skyland Mountain in ‘Duane Barry’ and ‘Ascension’, watched the sunset at English Bay, the beach where Mulder and Scully have their heart-to-heart on a log in season 10’s ‘Home Again’, and headed to the sketchiest part of town to check out the Ovaltine Cafe, where Mulder eats pie in ‘Jose Chung’s From Outer Space’.
At home, I hide my obsession well. You might see ‘The Complete X-Files’ on my coffee table and my Funko POP! Scully on my DVD shelves but for the good stuff you have to know where to look. My DIY X-Files bomber jacket, ‘I Want To Believe’ t-shirt and UFO necklace are in my closet. In a drawer in the kitchen I keep my trading cards and a 90s X-Files magazine – my favourite junk shop find ever. And in a bedroom drawer….my red wig, black suit, FBI badge and giant torch which only come out at Halloween.
To say watching The X-Files was an emotional roller-coaster would be an understatement. It made me laugh and cry, and then it tore my heart out à la Phillip Padgett in ‘Milagro’. I re-watch a couple of episodes every week and spend an embarrassing amount of time reading about the series. I have tried to convince everyone I know to watch it, unfortunately with little success. Seasons 8 and 9 bordered on disaster and season 10 was a little disappointing, but they didn’t take away from the pure joy I got from seasons 1-7. The X-Files is absolutely my favourite TV show and I eagerly and somewhat apprehensively await season 11.
Favourite Episode: Bad Blood
Danielle will be a regular contributor the blog. You can find her on Twitter @spookydk