I saw Mulder and Scully today. It was like catching up with old friends. Not that I haven’t seen them in the six years since The X-Files went off the air. I still watch my dvds fairly often. But it was fun to see where they were six years later. I won’t analyze the just-released movie for fear of spoilers. But watching it made me think back to my first acquaintance with a series that had and still has a great influence on me as a writer.
I can’t remember the first X-Files episode I saw. My friend jim (who helped design this website) was into the show, and we’d watch it in syndication when he visited or we traveled together. I remember a couple of nights moving our dinner reservations later so we could finish watching an episode. I came back from one trip hopelessly confused about the story (I’d seen half of “Dreamland” and half of another two-parter) but hooked on the characters. The paranormal and aliens don’t particularly interest me. But Mulder and Scully fascinated me. I wanted to know more about them, the secrets they had yet to uncover themselves, their complicated, changing relationship (at this point the show was in season six in real time, so their relationship was definitely changing). I started watching the new episodes as they aired and catching up on the old episodes in syndication (which meant the order was all over the map).
Though on the surface, the modern day FBI and alien abductions couldn’t seem father from Regency Britain, there’s a lot of The X-Files in the Charles & Mélanie books. The intricate, multilayered conspiracies, the secrets of the older generation, the couple who express their emotions in a sort of code. I learned a lot watching the show about the Chris Carter school of telling a love story–cut way back and a twining of fingers, a brush of lips to a forehead, a statement like “I won’t risk losing you,” has intense resonance.
In addition to the over all influence the series had on me, there are conscious X-Files reference in the books as a sort of homage. Lines like “The old instinct to trust no one” (Beneath a Silent Moon), Mélanie saying “I’m fine,” (Secrets of a Lady), the motto on the Fraser family crest, “Veritas est Alicubi,” which was as close as I could get to a period Latin version of “The truth is out there.”
Did you see The X-Files movie this weekend or are you planning to see it? Are there other television shows you’ve discovered late in their run and caught up on in syndication? If you like The X-Files, what are your favorite episodes? Writers, are there television shows that have influenced your own writing?
In honor the The X-Files, this week’s Fraser Correspondence addition is letter from Charles to Mélanie questioning the nature of truth :-).