Before you stone me to death and make it look like aliens did it, let me explain. The X-Files largely passed me by. I was in middle school at the time and more focused on books and basic middle school survival. I had a friend of mine who was completely obsessed with the X-Files (she even went as Scully for Halloween one year) and it was her crusade to get me into the show. Any sleepover I attended involved watching some VHS tapes of the show that she had recorded from the TV broadcast. I was apathetic to say the least.
I don't remember much of what I saw. There was one episode with people who had black inky gunk coming out of their eyes (I think?) and one about a shapeshifter who had convinced a woman he was Luke Skywalker. Other then that, I was a blank slate. I was pretty sure I had only ever watched maybe five or six episodes in total and none were the pilot. I've never been into aliens and, at that point in my life, I was full speed ahead into a blossoming vampire addiction.
When the other Stellar Four girls put their heads together to discuss the absolute and undying love they had for the show, I raised my hand and, feeling like the biggest dork in the universe, said I wasn't an X-Files fan and hadn't watched the series. I know it was a cultural milestone for television and the waves it made can still be felt in pop culture today. And I had completely missed that boat. So I was given an assignment by the other girls. Watch the X-Files pilot and review it.
Well, I'm game. I want to believe! I dutifully fired up Netflix and sat back for some wacky alien hijinks.
|Scully's "are you fucking serious?" face.|
The second thing I noticed was how incredibly dated everything looked and felt. Despite the valiant efforts of my PS3 and HDTV, the video was still grainy, the colors were muted and everything looked very... well, 90s. The clothing and the cars weren't as bad as the culture shock of seeing an old blocky 90s TV set or hulking big computer monitor, or Scully typing up a word document on a blue screen with white text. Holy blast from the past, Batman!
I immediately liked Scully. She was smart, methodical and didn't take any of Mulder's aliens crap. Mulder reminded me of your run of the mill crazy guy, the type who gives out a certain vibe who you don't want to be stuck sitting next to on a crowded bus. I'm sure the Mulder of 2013 is hunched over a MacBook, lurking on reddit and 4chan and using Twitter to gather intel about alien sightings. He seemed smart but, at the same time, he felt one mental break away from being a serial killer. I never warmed up to him. I spent a lot of the episode giving him the side eye and going "really?".
|Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy...|
I'll admit, I didn't clue into "whodunnit" until almost the end of the episode because it just seemed so silly. The kid in the coma did it? Because he had been experimented on by aliens? Just randomly? Okay then. But that's what happened. I would have been much more interested if they found out it was some shrink who was hypnotizing people or something (which is what I thought would happen). But no. Aliens.
|But I believe in aliens, so trust me maybe?|
The episode ended with a strange tall guy who spent the whole episode smoking (oh, the 90s!) going down to the FBI's own version of that warehouse in Indiana Jones and hiding the evidence that Scully had found. When Netflix asked me if I wanted another episode, I firmly told it no. This show just wasn't my cup of tea. Even after twenty years.
|Related to Fox Mulder?|
I can see why people love the show though. The writing was sharp, the pacing was great and it even managed to be rather funny in places. Scully was a bright shining beacon, a mix of badass and pragmatist with awesome hair. I can even see the appeal of Mulder. He seeks out the truth, he wants to know what is going on. It's admirable if he wasn't so... bad at all. And cocky. "Oh, look, I said it was aliens and you didn't believe me but it was TOTALLY aliens". Does Scully ever punch him? Someone tell me she punches him. I also saw zero romantic chemistry between them, but apparently that happens as well.
I'm sad to say the X-Files pilot didn't win me over but I can easily see why it's still so adored even twenty years later.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to stand behind this bullet and flame proof wall...