The Seventh Extinction?


Excerpt taken from
Cult Times #54

It could soon be over for Mulder and Scully. After seven years of pursuing alien clones, investigating freaks of nature and putting their close relatives in mortal jeopardy, the world’s most famous FBI agents are ready to say goodbye to the small screen.

In this issue, we take a look back over the series’ past glories, and ask what Season Seven promises. Can you handle the truth?

Gillian Anderson

Seven years ago, the world of Cult TV was changed by the arrival of something new and different. Although it took its cue from the cop show format (partners investigating a case), it certainly wasn’t what anyone had been expecting. Made in a filmic style at the behest and under the watchful eye of creator and executive producer Chris Carter, The X-Files attracted the attention of a core group of die-hard fans who quickly christened themselves X-Philes. What wasn’t expected was that this cult hit would expand beyond its loyal fanbase and start a steady run-up towards world domination.

Chris Carter was determined to avoid all the clichés of the various genres his show was passing through, whether it be Horror, Science Fiction, Cop Show or anything else. Refusing to acknowledge The X-Files even was Science Fiction, Carter invented the first of many new terms that would be associated with the series, Science Faction, suggesting stories that were fictional but were within the realms of possibility, albeit extreme possibility.

To this end, the investigative team were based entirely in the real world of the FBI, a recognizable institution across the globe, but were assigned to cases that didn’t have a rational explanation. While Agent Fox Mulder would go automatically with the UFO theory, Agent Dana Scully was there to provide a scientific and rational explanation, even beyond the point where any other agent would have been consistently frustrated at being wrong and resigned.

The combination of fact and Fantasy worked like a charm. The lead actors had an undeniable chemistry onscreen that drew viewers in week after week. Chris Carter’s desire to make every episode like a mini-movie enabled even the less impressive stories to really stand out. There really had been nothing like it on TV before, but its success was even more astonishing. The second season saw a rapid growth in viewers and suddenly the US Fox network had on their hands one of their biggest hits in years.

So how far have we come in seven years? As The X-Files draws to a close (although admittedly there’s still a chance it’ll be back for another year or more), it has returned to a happy medium. Having peaked ratings-wise during Seasons Four and Five, the show has settled back down to simply having a cult following. It’s just that this cult following now consists of the no longer particularly small group of X-Philes who number in their millions across the world.

The other legacy the series leaves is easy to define. Chris Carter has shown that on what was – at least originally – an average budget, it is possible to achieve great things. Retaining a strong creative control helps too, as does getting the right actors. You can see The X-Files’ influence in many shows, not just genre ones, and although it has become something of a victim of its own success, forced to break its own rules or play to the fans to survive for so long, The X-Files remains one of the defining Cult TV shows of the last 40 years.

Paul Spragg


 One word that has become part of X-Files language is ‘mytharc’, a term used to describe the episodes that make up the background or mythology of the series. Despite efforts in the movie and Two Fathers/One Son to tie up some loose ends and explain elements of the ongoing alien conspiracy storyline, there are still a few things we need to know.

 One particularly irritating mystery is that of Mulder’s family tree. It seems that his sister’s father is his nemesis, the Cigarette Smoking Man. However, there are also insinuations that Mulder is his son. So who is it really, or was Fox’s mother hardly ever at home?

 We know that black oil ‘oiliens’ eventually mutate into Grey aliens, also the natural form of the shape-shifter that hunts alien colonists. However, who are the alien rebels who have sealed their faces against the black oil? Another race, or an offshoot of the same one?

 The Syndicate made a pact with the grey aliens to help their efforts to colonize Earth, and the alien-human hybrids were attempts to create a slave race who could survive the black oil plague. Where does this plan stand now and where do the clones fit in?

 And lastly, whose side is everyone on? Krycek’s agenda is still unclear, very little has ever been revealed about Deep Throat or X and is Spender really dead? Will we ever find out?

• Buy Cult Times #54 for the full preview of Season Seven as it reaches the UK

Images © Sue Schneider / Moonglow Photos, David Miller, Visual Imagination
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction.