A couple of months back, the wife and I started an experiment. In this experiment we would watch all the episodes of The X-Files — yes, all nine seasons’ worth — and see if they still held up after all these years. It’s been 10 years since the last episode aired, and though we got a movie in 2008, it’s been a long, quiet stretch. Pretty much everyone seems to have forgotten about the show, which seems par for the course these days, when attention spans are diminished by instant-on entertainment from the internet and elsewhere. People particularly have no time for the early episodes that aired in 1993. The year 1993 was an eon ago.
The X-Files has a particular resonance for my wife and I. We both started watching the show when it premiered, and while I had a harder time keeping current with it — I moved a lot and was extremely poor, to the point of having no TV for a while — I still managed to maintain my fan credentials. Like many, though, we fell away from the show after a time. It just didn’t have the same zing anymore.
My wife was heavily into The X-Files. Back when AOL used to offer free time to people who’d work freelance for the company doing this or that job, my wife headed up The X-Files Sim, a chat-based roleplaying game with a whole slew of characters whose relationships and adventures grew ever more complicated over time.
It’s through the sim that my wife and I met, actually. I’ve been a roleplayer since I was a teenager and I was entranced by The X-Files and here was an opportunity to combine both obsessions. I had a character I wanted to introduce and I had an alien-abduction story I wanted to tell, and while I was not a participant in the game long — money issues again, plus some relationship stuff I won’t bore you with — I had a good time. My wife and I chatted outside the game and that progressed to phone calls and eventually I moved cross-country to move in with her. We’re still together more than 15 years later. Strangely enough, we didn’t talk about The X-Files much after our initial flirtation ended. I guess it was enough that it provided the initial spark.
I’ve wanted to run an IRC-based game inspired by The X-Files for a while, but it’s never come to pass. I suspect it never will. People just don’t seem to care about the show at all, and whatever mystique it possessed has been diminished by a brutal combination of overexposure and time.
It’s been interesting viewing the early episodes (we’re in the second season). I have been reminded just how much I enjoyed the core “mythology” episodes, but also of just how rough the “Monster of the Week” companion pieces were. The program gets better the deeper you get into it, but like all shows The X-Files had teething pains.
I considered posting reviews of The X-Files here, just as I did episode-by-episode reviews of The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for such a commitment. If people comment and show some interest, however, I’ll reconsider my decision. It might mean re-watching episodes I only just re-watched, but that would be okay.
In the meanwhile, I’ll keep pushing through the series, one episode per day. Thank goodness for Netflix.
I want to believe.