DUCHOVNIACS EXCLUSIVE: David Duchovny interview with Walt & Laurice – New Album, Novel, #theXFiles MSR insights

Thank you to David Duchovny and all his team – we love you Brad & Kerry – for making this happen. Beyond flattered we had the time of our lives speaking with David about EVERY THIRD THOUGHT album and upcoming tour in Australia and New Zealand.

I was floored when David brought up me wearing the milk carton T-Shirt and preparing to stage dive into my arms…

THIS description of Miss Subways has me more eager than ever to read a Novel by David Duchovny. This sounds fascinating. So much more than I expected.

And finally, David’s insight into the discussion between David and Chris Carter working out the end of #XFplusone was a truly unexpected delight.

Duchovniacs react to New MSR Trailer



SHOOK AF after watching NYCC 2018 X-Files Trailer

SHOOK AF after watching NYCC 2018 X-Files Trailer

FIRST OF ALL I’m a bit emotional this morning after hosting such an amazing event last night. Thank you to all that came out and joined us as we hosted Mitch Pileggi and raised over $1000 for NO KID HUNGRY. Mitch is amazing on screen and in person in every thing he does and did more than anyone would expect to make every single guest feel warm and welcome. I will have an entire post for that. I had intended to write that this morning but I’m having a moment…

SHOOK AF after watching NYCC 2018 X-Files Trailer

SO I perhaps play coy with MSR but judging the happy tears as I hear “Kissing Close” I suppose I am officially a shipper.

Or perhaps I’m just back in that place I always go when my favorites projects of my youth come back to tease us and reward us for our loyalty over the years.

I have similar feelings for Star Wars and Justice League movies coming out in the next few months, but at some point The X-Files, the go-to show of my 20s, surpassed the childhood loves, winning  first place in my heart.

I am sure this has something to do with getting to know David and now Mitch, and freaking out Gillian in Chicago. It also perhaps something to do that so many of the shows I watch these days exist at the creative hands of X-Files Alumni, Homeland, 24, Supernatural, Breaking Bad & Saul, Man in the High Castle and Medici… and now I find out LORE is a Glen Morgan Project.  The scope of the project extends far passed its core presence.

So waking up this morning I finally saw the trailer everyone was talking about last night. With a passionate hate for NYCC (bless all of you that dealt with that line yesterday, but my fat ass is done with that) I missed the panel. As I type this blog I am listening to the panel via youtube and every few seconds that welping tears of joy emotional response is stirs. HANUKKAH GELT – Good one David…. (He just said that in this moment as I type – can this be anymore stream of consciousness. And this is why I love David’s books. YADA YADA YADA ah the 1990s…)



I am blown away by this trailer. There are so many little gems that tug at the X-Files FanDome heart strings. Even the graphic of FOX becoming X got me. I’m an emotional wreck.

Is Scully going to die?

Is Skinner going to the dark side?

Are the Lone Gun Men alive or did they just upload their consciousness to the dark web?

Is Mad Men era CSM offering alien dinner before lighting up a cigarette?

SO MANY QUESTIONS… I think we need Special Agent CLIFF HANGER for this one (Another good one David. He cracks me up. See you in Vancouver in  about 135 hours)

And thank you Chris Carter for heading my cries for MORE SKINNER. That looks promising.

My only fear, except another gem from Darin Morgan, is that this is all just Eps 1 and 10 and in between anything goes. I don’t think I can handle another Babylon.

But clearly that one hiccup did not change my resolve and dedication to the cause.

See you in 2018!

And coming soon my evening with Mitch Pileggi…

Mitch Pilggie




One the most beloved TV shows of all time is now a sweet, silly, sci-fi bedtime story! In The X Files: Earth Children Are Weird, best pals Dana (Scully) and Fox (Mulder) have pitched a tent in the backyard for a sleepover. But the night is full of strange sounds, lights, and shadows. Surely there’s a rational, scientific explanation for everything . . . or is there? With beautiful illustrations of pint-sized Dana and Fox, this humorous and not-scary-at-all story will introduce the cult TV show to an entire new generation of fans.

Hardcover | $18.99
Published by Quirk Books
Aug 15, 2017 | 40 Pages | 9 x 11 | 4-8 years| ISBN 9781594749797Earth Children


Clearly I am five years old because this maybe one of my favorite things from X-Files team in years. Maybe because i can almost see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson acting this out like a sketch in my head. Maybe because in an odd way this short picture book has more mythology material than the 2008 movie and 2015 Season 10.

I question whether kids can appreciate this book as much as me, without my reference of 24 years of X-Files fandom in their past .

I am sure my 9yo niece will love this. Overhearing her mother, my sister, binge watch the show on Netflix the past few years, somehow Reilly knows about Mulder looking for his sister. Clearly she is more than just eaves dropping, right?

I do fear a number of shippers out there are having a field day with Dana hosting Fox for a sleep over – especially as we see them ascend the stairs to sleep inside, after a backyard camping date goes awry.

As kids’ books goes, I feel I have seen this story before. Scully takes on the role of Bud Abbott to Mulder’s Lou Costello.  It’s cute and effective.

If anything my biggest critique is that it’s too short. The book feels like an episode of a comic that, upon reaching the last page, one thinks, wow I spent a lot of money for a few pages and an incomplete story. I want more and would prefer the graffic novel in its entity than episodic pages – only so I can save by buying pages in bulk.

If you are a fan and have some kids, OR like me ARE a big kid, check this picture story out.

And for MSR fans….

Earth Children

Am I the only one hearing George Takei in my head right now?

X-Files Talk: Why 6-episode Season Every Two Years is Perfect!

Talking X-Files and Why I Think 6-episode Season is Perfect!

editorial by Walt Frasier follow via twitter @waltfrasier

I had a very interesting conversation yesterday. I was returning from set for a new HBO show filming on Long Island. Wrapped early, I had a private van ride back to Manhattan with another actor and a few stacks of costumes headed back to wardrobe in Brooklyn after our midtown drop-off.

The driver was a big sci-fi fan with a special place in his heart for X-Files. As a 1990’s teenager he watched The X-Files with his dad. (How many 30 something Philes can relate to that?) He does not watch a lot of TV now, nor has he been to the movies in three years. As a teamster driver for numerous film/TV sets and father of a 2 year old, he catches up via online streaming on his phone as shows hit Netflix, Amazon, HBO go etc – in between rides for actors like me.

While stuck in the Queens parking lot approaching the midtown tunnel, he promised to watch Season 10 the second it hits Netflix.

Excited he asked, “Are we getting more? ” “When?” He has not seen Season 10 and already asking…

My response was “yes, 2018, I think.”

So that started an entirely new discussion, one based more in our mutual knowledge of the industry.

This morning, cleaning out gmail, I stumbled across the article “David Duchovny knows the X-Files revival’s problem: Not enough of it” on AV Club. This convinced me to share the argument I made yesterday…

When you break it down all TV, film, youtube, podcasts, music, etc are “content”. Producing is all about creating content, and that has three major steps – pre-production (writing, fundraising, contracting/casting), production (filming/recording, editing, including post-production here) and distribution (marketing and getting content to you via TV, online, movie screen etc).

Philes all know about fundraising with the 2008 movie. We (most of us) wanted another big Alien Mythology episode.  Big Alien movies cost $100 million. Chris got $30 million.

It would appear the money is not there to do Star Trek or Star Wars every 2-3 years. That would take 100 million views. We delivered about 10 million.

X-FilesI think at this point in time a full X-Files series that includes David and Gillian is never going to happen. Both stars have other projects, kids and live outside LA/Vancouver. Neither is a hungry 20-30 something actor willing to give their lives 150% to a single project for 30 weeks/year.

I bet there have been numerous talks at FOX about how could one do X-Files without David & Gillian. Not that they want to cut out out faves, but how not to be held hostage by stars’ schedules and whims. But I think Seasons 8 & 9 of the original show, as well as the nature of the true fans, X-Files is all about Mulder & Scully, which can only be David & Gillian. No matter how hard Chris tries, his characters are far bigger than his stories. Slipping in some young hot look a likes was a total #FAIL in 2016, even as a joke. We are not CW types, right? So far FOX gets it. For now…

Chris really likes doing monster of the week.

The six episode season every two years makes complete sense.

Think about the intense online chatter throughout 2015 that built the audience for the January 2016 season. In 2002 we all needed a break – cast, crew and fans. 9 seasons of 20+ episodes is very hard to maintain. But by 2008 we were more than ready for more. By 2016 we were starving. By March 2016 we were “WTF?” “WE WANT MORE!” “WE WANT MORE!” “WE WANT MORE!”… rioting in the streets… Sorry, I got carried away there…

But am I the only one on February 22, 2016 at 9pm that screamed at the TV “FU MR. CARTER!!!” We are DEMANDING more…

If we could get another dose every two years like Trekkies and Fanboys (Star Wars – we need a new less sexist fan name), we would get our fix. We would be happy with a movie every two years to learn what happens with this conspiracy. But with a six episode arc Chris can have his monster of the week stories. TV is the writers medium. (Film is for directors. Stage for actors.) For TV the writer runs the show, while directors come and go. Chris can shape his baby, reflecting the times – politics, scandals etc.

Meanwhile we flock to see Gillian and David on stage – acting and singing. We flocked to David talking about his novels, most of us actually reading them. We are watching their other projects. They realize the bump all their work gets from the X-Files fandom being satisfied (strung along lol). A summer shooting X-Files every two years delivers a nice paycheck every actor wants without the burnout every actor hates and the platform every artist needs to promote their other work.

WIN-WIN-WIN!!! (Production – Cast – Fans)

Now to make this work, LISTEN UP CHRIS!!!

  • X-FILES is MULDER & SCULLY. They don’t have to be married or lovers (Speaking for myself you crazy shippers lol) but they need to be together. Girl power Scully and young protege red head was weird. After 23 years, when we see two young look a likes, we don’t think “HA HA”, we think “WTF CHRIS?”. Jilted lovers? Yes! That’s a fair analogy. You have our love but need to earn our trust. We’ve been hurt too many times.
  • X-FILES should be PERFECT for 6-episodes. NO EXCUSE for BABYLON. You don’t have to write 20 episodes pulling crap out of ass to get another week out. You have a team. Let that team play. Bring back Frank, Vince, Howard… At least consult Howard next time you take on terrorists. Call Vince regarding drugs. Those two guys could have solved all nonsense regarding s10e5. Take a cue from Lucas. You are the Genius. But let the minions translate your genius to fully flesh out a perfect script.
  • MORE SKINNER. For many – FOR ME – best moment in 2008 was Skinner showing up to save Mulder. It should have been Skinner at CSM’s mansion February 22, 2016. Mitch is all over the map promoting this project. We love Mitch. Skinner is in the opening credits, but I think he appeared less than Season 1 this year. WTF?
  • Take a moment and think of an END GAME. The “WE HAVE BEEN WRONG ALL ALONG” thing has been played out too often already. I know the point is we can never truly now the true nature of a conspiracy, hence the very nature of the conspiracy theory nut. But as I tell my 10 year old comedy students, don’t tell, SHOW! Action much more interesting than discussion for most. Artsy fartsy cerebral shit is a snore to 95% of the population, no matter how much B-Roll you flash over the monologue of crazy conspiracy nuts. Even “NEVER ENDING STORY” had an end. I have met you. And even in that brief moment, I have seen the wink behind the twinkle. I get it. Now its your turn to get it. (Only exception, the conversation between David and Rhys. THAT is how you do “Dinner with Andre” for the masses. Two amazing performers with amazing writing about real issues. Message heard and entertained at same time. I could sat through that grave yard scene if it lasted two hours.)
  • I for one would love to see a sequel to Founders Mutation. I loved Disney’s “Escape to Witch Mountain” and that brother/sister team was a fun throw back to that classic – not so much remake with Dwayne. Or the bigger point, there are a lot of unsolved cases out there from 202 episodes. Most did not get the happy ending Were-Lizard enjoyed. Tombs and Pusher got call backs. We barely got to know Kyle and Molly. Why reinvent the wheel?

So we will see you in 2018, and daily on twitter till then…

PS – EIGHT Episodes could be cool…

The X-Files GIF – Can we have an animated comedy series, 1970s Abbott & Costello Style?

The X-Files GIF


Can we have an animated X-Files comedy series, ala 1970s Abbott & Costello Style?The X-Files

Anyone remember 1970s cartoons. I am thinking of Abbott & Costello, Three Stooges and The Jackson 5ive in particular. Hanna-Barbera and similar Productions gave new life to classics. We even had some great animated Star Trek stories.

Bud Abbott actually voiced the cartoon with another actor playing Lou Costello. For my generation it forced sayings like ‘I WANT MY MOMMA’ and ‘AAAAAABBBOOOOOOTTTTT’ into our psyche as classic A&C. Years later I played Lou Costello at events as part of a tribute comedy team, performing their classic routines and got to know them for their full artistry.


As a superhero geek, I have always been more about the animated and live action adaptations of my favorite characters – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash – than sitting down with the actual comics.

Similarly I have yet to get into the X-Files comics, and the fan-fiction just is not my thing. Sorry to many friends that read and write popular fan fiction. I will gladly laugh at a brief erotica MSR but I move on quickly.

The X-Files


But I want more of what I see above. The GIF looks very similar to those 1960s and 1970s classics. As David has said, we have three different Mulder/Scully character types. Leave the Monster of the week and Mythology Mulder – Scully alone with 6-8 episode arcs. Peel away the comedy world as a spin off.

Chris Carter could have an outlet for his comedy episodes, protecting our live action time from fiasco’s like Babylon.  Vince and Darren can still contribute comedy to live action. CC is banned, saving him from himself!

FOX can introduce this franchise and these characters to a younger audience, delivering millions of hours of future syndication watching of the original episodes.

The X-Files


David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson could voice over and entire season in under a week, giving us tons of new content w/o inconveniencing the talent. Gillian could record her lines from UK studio.

We could revisit dozens of our favorite monsters. What ever happened to Monkey Boy, Flukeman, and… Darin only played two roles?

The Bounty Hunter can be their retired quirky neighbor.

Mitch Pileggi’s Walter Skinner can be like Mike the Cop, always getting mad at Mulder. You know, exactly what happens now.

The X-Files

8yo Mulder & Scully solve mysteries – Encyclopedia Brown meets Supernatural

And then we can have random celebrity cameos like old Scooby Doo Mysteries.
OR even better, Chris Carter himself can take on Stan Lee type cameos in every episode, playing 1-liner characters – janitor. cabbie, security guard, etc.


X-Files fans want a 3rd movie, but should they? Chris Carter has some thoughts on this

X-Files fans want a 3rd movie, but should they?

Editorial by Walt Frasier with Summary of Chris Carter 1/21 conference call

As many of you know, I saw X-Files Fight the Future three times opening night back in 1998. LOVED IT!!! (What about my men?) While I enjoyed the 2008 film, I never understood doing a “Monster of the Week” Movie. I wanted more epic aliens.

After seeing “My Struggle” twice, I am more excited to see more X-Files mini series than a third movie as a fan and as a member of the entertainment industry. It makes a lot more sense. FYI I started this article before, but finished it seconds after getting off of the Chris Carter Conference Call.


There are so many factors that go into this view point…

  • Actor Schedules – TV works faster. In the same amount of time actors can shoot 6 – episodes or on feature length film.
  • More stories – Chris Carter can satisfy all the fans with 6 story arcs.  We can get more of our favorite writers and directors involved. We have 6-hours of content to rewatch instead of 2. Chris Carter also confirmed this is a reason he likes TV option.
  • Budgets – Overall TV is cheaper to produce and commercials will pay for production. You can more easily guarantee investors getting paid. And 6-hours of content can eventually make more money for investors and studios. Over time that means, REINVESTMENT into more content. More content means more royalties in the after market (DVDs, Streaming, Digital Downloads etc)
  • Easier to build a TV audience. Social media is better to generate audience and keep the fans involved. Look at all the action on twitter for season 10. How many movies have seen that much attention. Chris Carter says, regarding fans at Comic Cons and Social Media  “the drum beat is loud and clear” for more X-Files content.
  • Chris Carter’s idea for a third movie is thwarted by the current run in 2016. Chris Carter says he has a finished script for XF3 but would have to rewrite it in consideration of how the 2016 story arc evolved.

All most fans care about is getting more Mulder, Scully et al.

Chris Carter says we need to continue to beat that drum, and he thinks everyone involved had a great time making Season 10. Everyone needs to get the word out, so the show gets the ratings in order for us to get more.

FYI Here are a few bullet points from Chris Carter Conference Call

  • William will not appear in new season, however he is an absentee character. His existence plays a major role in episodes 2 & 4 specifically.
  • There is an episode Chris has wanted to do for 20 years, and he could not make it work in 2016 arc. 6-episodes do give more freedom than a movie, but still the stand-alones have to connect. A 20-24 episode season allows stand-alones to better stand alone.
  • Chris Carter has a completed script for X-Files 3. However, it would have to be rewritten based on the Season 10 episodes.
  • 2016 Mythology takes a strong right turn. What Mulder thought to be true is a fraction of the greater conspiracy.
  • Chris Carter is amazed the press is not in tune with the strong undercurrents of conspiracy theories. He attends conferences and follows online and radio programming (inspiration for Tad I imagine). The mistrust of government has never been stronger. There has never been a better time for X-Files.
  • “THEY WERE A COUPLE – NOW THEY ARE APART” He used the “C” word without the “P” word. Progress?
  • Chris is impressed with the fans. The direct experience at Comic Cons inspires him to deliver. He is not on social media (except for a few instagram photos) but is amazed at the culture of fans online. He says that will drive the continue demand for the show.

There was more. A transcript will be released tonight. Did not write good notes on 2-3 other points so I will leave be in fear of miss paraphrasing.

Chris Carter

X-FILES PREMIERE Red Carpet & After Party More Sights and Sounds…


X-FILES PREMIERE PARTY WAS AWESOME!!! We already posted most of our photos from the amazing night Tuesday January 12, 2016 at the California Science Center. Finally back from LA and almost rested up from over night travels w/o sleep yesterday, I can scour Twitter, Instagram and beyond for top social media shares by the stars, FOX, press and fans… (Also a few from Kimmel and Seacrest appearances)

X-Files Premiere
Here is my fave of the evening…

More pillow biting. #thexfilespremiere @GillianA @BryanFuller @kumailn #wife @davidduchovny

A photo posted by Joel McHale (@joelmchale) on


Joel is gunning for David?


A beautiful Endeavor indeed. With my ❤️ #xfiles2016

A photo posted by Annabeth Gish (@annabeth_gish) on

Under alien auspices… #xfiles2016

A photo posted by Annabeth Gish (@annabeth_gish) on

Now that’s a red carpet @thexfilesfox

A photo posted by Annabeth Gish (@annabeth_gish) on

#TheXFiles @thexfiles @davidduchovny @GillianA #ChrisCarter and my partial forehead. Perfect day.

A photo posted by Joel McHale (@joelmchale) on


A photo posted by Annet Mahendru (@annetmahendru) on

Merry X-Files: “My Struggle” My Review – Do not open till January 25th

Merry X-Files

Merry X-Files: Do not open till January 25th. NOT SPOILER FREE

I have now seen the episode twice. That is the same number of times I have seen Star Wars Awakens, and the impression is very similar. I LOVED IT. Sure there were flaws, but it was the movie we have all been waiting for since 2002.

Oh, did I say movie?

Well On Tuesday January 12, 2016, I was privileged to watch the episode at the California Science Center IMAX theater. And the experience was completely cinematic. In fact I have been telling everyone I can, including Chris Carter himself at the after party under the space shuttle Endeavor’s tail pipe, I want to see the next 5 episodes in IMAX. Or even better? This summer’s rewatch – #thexfiles207days – ALL IMAX!!!

WARNING!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! COME BACK JANUARY 25th to read the rest…



A review by a fan for fans by Walt Frasier
@waltfrasier @DUCHOVNIACS

No one piece of art can be all things to all people, but I truly believe this is 42-minutes of The X-Files we have been waiting for since 2002. Many might argue since 2000’s season 7 finale. Tons of nostalgia bring those fanboy and fangirl tears of joy to surface.

LAST CHANCE TO TURN AWAY… SPOILERS in 3 – 2 – 1… LEt me put in some more art so you cannot see if you do not wish to see the next statement…

New Movie (28).Movie_Snapshot

From the very first seconds of the introductory Mulder Monologue ranting about past conspiracies and the histories of the X-Files in summary form, through the BIG ENTRANCE of a pivotal character, the audience is captured. At the New York Comic Con, the crowd went wild when we hear “My name is Fox Mulder…”. At the California Science Center, I let out a solo howl. Guess all else were taking notes lost in their judgmental modes.

The first thing one notices? X-Files 2016 has a far greater production value than 1993. No more hiding in the shadows. The problem with this is we lose all the film noir. Originally Chris Carter had to hide the show in the shadows to hide cheap effects and rubber monster suits.  This gave the show a certain 1950s Black and White horror quality. Somehow a Mulder Conspiracy rant looks better as Film noir.

mikiaiba (2).Movie_Snapshot

But instead we get a modern cinematic experience. When I saw that Flying Saucer crash land (YOU WERE WARNED) my mind immediately goes back to 1977 Making of Star Wars specials. The recreation of Roswell is the best ever seen on screen. Even the alien was completely believable – no more need for invisible creatures, complete with Men in Black and small army of Hazmats. GAME CHANGER!

mikiaiba (3).Movie_Snapshot

Akin to revealing entrances of The Falcon, Han Solo, Chewbaca, Leia, Luke, C3PO, R2D2 and Darth Vader’s mask in The Force Awakens, the old gang each have their moment. We find Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on a team of doctors fixing kids without ears, when she gets the call from Skinner. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is in borderline hermit mode when he takes the call from Scully. One might say Chris Carter is pandering to the emotional nostalgia. I find no issue with that.

So the big question all want to know?  What’s up on the Mulder / Scully front?

We do not have all the answers, but clearly since leaving us in 2008, Scully has left Mulder. via a few quick verbal jabs by Mulder and well placed glares by Scully, the tension is set. The next 5 episodes have some explaining to do.

And in this reporter’s unbiased opinion, PLATONIC ACTIVITY DOES NOT CREATE THIS MUCH RESENTMENT!!! Just saying…


The story is thrust forward when the agents meet Tad O’ Malley (Joel McHale from Community, The Soup), the right wing conspiracy theorist online news blogger that has found some success spreading fear. While he seeks an ally in Mulder he finds skepticism. To dramatically align Tad to Mulder, he gets his own fair share of Monologues with B-roll flashes of impending and past doom and gloom. Tad’s extreme theories are far fetched enough to make Mulder blush.

mikiaiba (10).Movie_Snapshot

Tad takes the agents to see supposed alien abductee, Sveta (Annet Mahendru from The Americans). Scully goes to test Sveta’s blood. Mulder goes on Tad’s field trip to see an ARV (man man ship from Alien technology). Mulder has a clandestine meeting with a Roswell doctor. You know, the X-Files usual routine.

mikiaiba (6).Movie_Snapshot

Like a great X-Files episode every answer reveals more unanswered questions which Mulder attempts to answer in one giant leap that would make Superman Shutter.

Most notably as we get to see Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), we see that while the actual X-Files files have been taken away, they left Mulder’s pencil collection on the ceiling.

The few plot holes I can find are from the same place we had for 9 years. In order to forward the story in a 42-minute show, Mulder leaps to conclusions. But as we learn in this episode those leaps may not have always been as right as Mulder thought.

Basically as TV’s best 42-minute popcorn movie in years. you have to suspend some belief to survive the trip. There will be plenty that will criticize the plot leaps. I recognize the “issues”. I will be discussing in length via podcast to be released January 24 after the episode. But in contrast to shows that SLOWLY / PAINFULLY show us every leap – thereby taking an entire season (or 5+ seasons) to reveal as much story – I find it a relief.

X-FILES 2016 shows more than ever before. It does more. It blows things and people up more. There is less mystery and suspense but it is still intense.  I have joked this 42-minute film is more like a George Lucas meets Michael Bay experience – More Space Ships, More Aliens, Lots of things going BOOM – than the Chris Carter of yore.

In short the die hard fans will have the nostalgia the want, the new world of potential fans will be drown in by the non stop intense action and discovery. The real test will be the nest 5 episode. And what Season 11 will bring…


Watch X-Files “My Struggle” January 24th at 10pm EST after the Football games, then Monday January 25 for episode two as the shows slips into its 5 week home slot.


INDEPENDENT: The X-Files creator Chris Carter on government conspiracies and paranormal experiences

Have not done this in a while – post articles form the internet… BUT this is the first in a while of substance and not just paprazzi or tabloid crap… Great article to follow and worth the read. Go to the website for more photos…

The X-Files creator Chris Carter on government conspiracies and paranormal experiences


FROM Sunday 26 July 2015

It’s a broiling hot July morning in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, is patiently giving me an interview in the basement cafe at the Théâtre du Passage, the home of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. By rights, he shouldn’t be here at all. The Californian is midway through shooting a new six-part season of the show that originally ran from 1993 to 2002. He has left Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) back in Vancouver, where the team has recently finished the second episode, to come to Switzerland. He promised that he would attend the festival and is not the type to break his promise.

Carter confides that he has had only four hours’ sleep and that he is continuing to tweak scripts and to respond to notes from his colleagues in Vancouver, even as he attends to his duties at the festival. “We’ve just got our sea legs as it were,” Carter says of the resumption of The X-Files after such a long lay-off. The series has been customized for the Obama era and will feature plenty of references to Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

The original series thrived on conspiracy theories and shadowy behaviour from the US security agencies. “You can imagine I was the least shocked person in the world,” Carter reflects on recent revelations about US government-sanctioned eavesdropping and cover-ups. “It is not surprising to me at all… those assertions and allegations are what I think The X-Files was built on.”

In the new series, Carter promises that he and his team will “monkey” with The X-Files mythology “and give you a spin and twist on that”. There will be a combination of what he calls mythology episodes and the stand-alone “so-called monster episodes”. Six episodes doesn’t seem that much of a stretch, given that the first season of The X-Files consisted of 25 episodes, shot over a year, and the second season was 24.

“When you shoot six, you think it is going to be a piece of cake. That isn’t the case,” Carter sighs. “It will take eight months of our lives, so it is an enormous undertaking, even though it seems like only a slice of what we had previously done.”

Back in the show’s prime, it was Carter’s job to keep The X-Files“oiled and running” and to ensure that the bosses at Fox, from owner Rupert Murdoch downwards, were happy. Murdoch attended the screening of the pilot episode (“I’ve had very little contact with him, but the first thing he ever said to me was ‘I like your TV shows’”).

The stress factor was enormous. He was responsible for keeping the series “fresh” and delivering the ratings that Fox craved. The gratification came from knowing that massive audiences (30 million for one episode broadcast after the Super Bowl) were watching and enjoying his work. It is also a huge source of pride that  The X-Files was deemed worthy of spoofing on The Simpsons. He still has a signed photograph from the Simpsonscreator Matt Groening on his wall. “To make The Simpsons is to make the big time,” he declares, with surprising solemnity.

Carter seems a glutton for punishment. As he acknowledges, the old X-Files would demand his full commitment for 11-and-a-half months of the year. “It was as much work as you could possibly do. You worked from the moment you woke up until the moment you went to sleep. There was very little time even to stop to get a sense of how you were doing, or what you were doing.”

Why put himself through the grinder all over again? “The central reason is the esprit de corps. That is the reason to come back and do it again,” Carter says. “When you have a group of people working together, who all contribute to make it better, that is something. If you have never experienced it, that is somewhat miraculous. It is stepping into new shoes. That is not to say that the new shoes fit on arrival.”

In the years when The X-Files was off-screen, Carter would regularly read newspapers and spot stories that he felt were perfect material for the series. In the intervening years, he has developed various other dramas.

There was a show called Millennium, which was attacked by Scientologists who felt it was lampooning them, and last year a pilot for Amazon Studios called The After. To his disappointment, no series of The After was commissioned, in spite of the enthusiasm with which the pilot was greeted. The last outing  for Mulder and Scully was the feature film,  The X-Files: I Want To Believe (2008), which Carter directed. The critical response was muted and box-office receipts were disappointing, but Carter believes the new series can now once again capture the imaginations of a big, mainstream audience. If the new series is successful, there are likely to be further episodes.

The X-Files is celebrated as one of the first drama series of the internet age. Carter himself hasn’t embraced social media. “I do have an Instagram account, but that is for promotional reasons. I don’t communicate with anybody via social media otherwise,” he says. “It seems that people don’t value their privacy now, and I do value my privacy. I don’t know that anything I have to say [on social media] is all that interesting. I see its great value, but not for me personally.”

Carter is a tallish, good-looking, silver-haired Californian who used to edit a surfing magazine, but that doesn’t mean he is in the slightest bit relaxed. “I never thought of it as laid-back,” he says of the surfing subculture. “I was dealing with people who were the opposite of laid-back. These were, to use an Aussie expression, ‘aggro surfers’: people determined to change the surfing world.”

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the cult TV series (Rex Features)Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the cult TV series (Rex Features)
When he worked for Surfing Magazine, the production schedule was almost an intense as the one he encountered later in television production. “It was where I learned about doing something serially,” he recalls.  No, Carter wasn’t an especially accomplished surfer himself but he has chased “some of  the best surf in the world”, and still speaks in awe of a wave he rode at Sunset Beach  in Hawaii. “I couldn’t believe that my feet  had touched the beach again. It felt death-defying at the time.”

At the time that Carter devised The X-Files, he stumbled across startling research from a Harvard scientist called John E Mack that revealed three per cent of the US population actually believed in alien abduction.

One guesses the figure would be far higher today, partly because of the series. Mack allowed him to sit in on “a regression hypnosis session” with an alien abductee, an experience he describes as powerful and disturbing.

Does he believe in aliens himself? More than 20 years on from the creation of The X-Files, Carter gives a typically balanced and equivocal answer, one that combines the scepticism of Gillian Anderson’s Scully with the fervent credulity of Duchovny’s Mulder.

“That ‘I Want To Believe’ poster states it so perfectly for me,” theX-Files guru muses. “I am looking for a paranormal experience. I am looking for a miracle, I am waiting for the supernatural. I am waiting to be confronted with something I can’t explain.”

The new series of ‘The X-Files’ will be broadcast early next year