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