Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Obsession with X-Files Described

Next year is an exciting time for X-Files fans, because a short special season will be broadcast. Believe it or not the last movie, much less episode, was released seven years ago. The series ended six years before that with a successful theatrical movie stuck in the middle of the long running phenomenon. You might think that someone who is as obsessed by the show as myself was hooked by the premier of the first episode, but that would be a wrong impression. It was a long and eventful set of roads I traveled before becoming fully emerged in the strange, exciting, and sometimes gruesome spectacle. The first few episodes I did see weren't even enough to make me more than curious. I will set out to describe the formation of my passion in anticipation of the upcoming mini-series. This blog post will be context for my interest and a way to perhaps get to know a little more about me.

Like I said, when the first episode of the X-Files premiered it didn't drag me into the series. As a matter of fact I didn't even see the show when it first aired. What I did see were two advertisements for new Fox Television productions that included a western comedy The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. staring Bruce Campbell. That one I did watch the first episode and was slightly amused. I remember it as getting billed as the next big thing. That little paranormal show was a curious filler. One of the reasons for not turning on the tube was because my college days had just started and other things were much more important. Unlike my teenage years, television was not a priority with all the new experiences and responsibilities. My major television obsession at the time was Star Trek in all its versions, even though that was not a constant.

Before I became a huge fan, I caught three episodes late at night in syndication on other channels. The first was Excelsis Dei about an old folks home haunted by a mysterious ghost attacker. For some reason I was all alone at my home when I saw it at midnight. By the end I had made sure that the doors were locked and windows extra tightly covered. The next one at another time was The Host about a monster in the sewers that I thought was silly and perhaps turned me off a bit from wanting more. Yet another night was the Anasazi, the first of a three part episode that finally piqued my interests, but made me confused enough not to pursue any others.


Part of my reluctance was my history of paranormal studies. Ever since I was in grade school when I picked up my first book on Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle, I had a fascination with the unknown. Ghosts, UFOs, and other mysteries drove my imagination along with a large dose of science fiction. Behind all the X-Files was real mysteries that I had read about in books and magazines, or watched documentary like television specials. I saw behind the story curtain and preferred the "real" things. As an example, I had studied much of the paranormal literature and never came across anything like The Host other than giant alligators in New York. I was still stuck in "based on" mode and couldn't appreciate its imaginative departures.

My favorite show of college, besides any Star Trek, was Sliders about a dimension traveling set of misfits. I saw the advertisement for it and started watching from the first episode. The reason that caught my attention probably had to do with two of the younger leads. Besides an interesting premise,  the boy and girl were about my age and therefore I could relate to them easier. Although I liked it and tried not to miss an episode, the show was mainly a distraction. Ironic that I got into this one a year before the one that became a defining part of my life, even though they were broadcast on the same day and channel back to back.

Fast forward a few and still in my last years of college when a girl walks in. Yes its always a girl that changes your life, although its not what you might be thinking. She worked with me at a part time campus job and we became friends. There was one thing about her that stuck out and that was a love for the X-Files, particularly the relationship of Mulder and Scully. Getting to know each other a bit, she invited me and another person over to watch her collection of the series. When she explained why she liked the show and I finally had a chance to experience viewing from the first episode, I was hooked. An interesting historical note is that even by that time the styles and technology were dated. Cell phones were getting smaller, computers faster and more complex, and science fiction becoming increasingly fact. By the end of that year she was gone and I had a new television must watch.

Adding as part of the record, the fourth season premier Herrenvolk about Mulder tracking down clones and the fate of his sister was the first episode I started to watch live. All the others before then were repeats or on tape. I might have been a late joiner, but boy did I make up for it in the future. Part of this is because the Internet had started becoming popular and X-Files was part of the cutting edge. There was more than appointment television involved as fans could communicate right after the airing of an episode and discuss the details. Complete strangers pumped each other up with facts and fancy in anticipation of what came next. I even made my own website with basic html knowledge, although that disappeared a long time ago.

My love of science fiction and paranormal coming together, mixed with good character chemistry of the leads, and the Internet community explains how a show I didn't care about became an obsession. All because of a girl I was semi-interested in as a friend showing me the way. Thanks I guess.

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