Thursday, July 24, 2008

I've always believed...

The X-Files means a great deal to me. Beyond being my favorite TV show, it represents a certain period in my life when discovery seemed less just a possibility and more of a promise. The show’s key catch phrase of “I want to believe” held something particularly poignant and powerful for me during the most difficult period of my life and the series will forever hold a very special place in my heart because of this.
I wish I could say that I was a fan from episode one but, unlike say Twin Peaks which I was with from the pilot on, it took me awhile to find The X-Files. I was of course aware of it from the get-go but I didn’t really fall in love with the show till probably around the release of Fight the Future in 1998. I became totally entranced by the series and the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in that fairly dreadful period of my life and submerged myself in the show, revisiting every back episode and collecting every book, comic, trading card and any piece of memorabilia that I could.

The Season One DVD set came out on my birthday in 2000 and that’s when I finally got to catch up and watch the series in order and really soak it all in. It corresponded with a particular healing period in my life when I got the opportunity to move back to my favorite town of Frankfort, KY for a few years and really get myself back in shape physically and spiritually. The show became a sort of beacon for me and I considered those amazing sets that landed every five or six months to be godsends.
For many people the show lost its edge by the time David Duchovny left and while I agree that it wasn’t as transcendent as it had been without him, I really came to admire both Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish who were both given the near impossible task of filling in for one of the most iconic characters in television history. The final couple of seasons of The X-Files has its fans and I count myself among them. I also adored The Lone Gunmen, the doomed spin-off series that was deserving of much more than the measly one season Fox granted it.
I think perhaps the falling of the series in many people’s eyes from a cultural phenomenon to something rather passé was somehow inevitable. The new film I Want to Believe finds itself in an odd bind. The show isn’t old enough yet to culturally have that nostalgic hazy glow about it for most people but it is just past the point where it is on the cultural radar of a lot of younger people. Whether it succeeds or fails this weekend remains to be seen but I promise that in fifteen or twenty years when an entire new generation is discovering the magic of this very special series, this film will be more than a footnote.

For me, The X-Files hit its most majestic moment in the very last shot of The Truth, the much maligned and admittedly flawed final episode of the series, when the phrase “I want to believe” took on an entirely new spiritually meaning that was simultaneously shocking and touching. For many fans, this subtle and minimalist ending was a deal breaker, a sign that the show had lost its course, but for me the moment cemented everything I loved about the show. What The X-Files finally had to say about the power of faith, skepticism and what the very meaning is behind the word ‘believe’ was in a very simple word, special.

David Duchovny recently released a statement asking fans of the show to see the film at theaters because he wants badly to play this part again. I Want to Believe is under a lot of pressure as the studio is looking for a certain figure to greenlight the next film everyone in the project seems to want to do. I get the feeling that Duchovny has grown to feel about Fox Mulder the way myself and a lot of other fans do about the character, that he represents a particularly special and pivotal point in our lives. I hope I Want To Believe isn’t the final chapter for Fox Mulder and Dana Scully but if it is then they had a hell of a run. Regardless of whether I Want to Believe succeeds or fails, I will be there opening day and I know it will be a special and emotional experience for me.

8 comments:

Steve Langton said...

I didn't hook up with the show until series 6, but was spellbound from the first episode I saw.I now have the first season boxset and will certainly collect the others as and when cash permits. I have a feeling this film will do very well, and we'll get at least another film somewhere along the line.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Steve...watching those shows in order on disc is really special. Hope you enjoy them and thanks for the comments.

J.D. said...

I got into the show almost from the beginning... maybe halfway through the first season and was blown away by the whole UFO/government conspiracy mythology. The stand alone episodes were good (esp. the one in the second season where Mulder and Scully check out a logging camp where the lumberjacks keep disappearing) but it was the whole Smoking Man/Deep Throat/Mr. X stuff that kept me going. And then when they introduced the weaselly Krycek the show only got better. I also thought that the episodes written by Darin Morgan, esp. "Humbug" about the town of circus freaks, were often the high points of the show. When he left, I felt that the quality of the show was affected.

I really enjoyed the first film, FIGHT THE FUTURE. It was everything I expected from a big screen adaptation of the show so I'm hoping lightning can strike twice with this new one. I know I'll be there to see it in theaters.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks J.D. for the positive comments...I really dig FIGHT THE FUTURE, a film that was fairly well received at the time that has often been undervalued since.
I agree with all your thoughts and like you share a love for Morgan's episodes.

James Hansen said...

Did you catch any of the 9 straight hours of X-Files on Sci Fi Channel today? It was a good time on a day which I had very little today (and apparently wasn't inspired enough to write much myself...per usual.)

I'm excited for the movie, but don't know if I'll be able to make it this weekend. I have a friend in town and have concerts every night...I'll make it though, and really hope the franchise can keep on keeping on.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks James,
Heard about that marathon and am glad they were doing...might remind some people of how great the show was that have forgotten...enjoy your concerts. Hope you have some good bands lined up...we rarely get many good shows down here although I have had a lucky summer with it...

The King Of Cool said...

I was a fan from the very beginning. It's one of my favorite shows. This was actually a time in my life when I was really interested in the subject matter. The show feed that interest very much. I watched the show until the end. I also really enjoyed the first film. I'm really hoping that the magic is still there with this film. i also hope that it does well enough to warrant more films. I'd love to see Mulder and Scully continue to come back at my local cinema.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith,
I really hope it does well enough this weekend for them to greenlight another one. Thanks for commenting...much appreciated.