Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review - The X-Files Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

A plain, pretty, redheaded woman named Dana Scully walks into the J. Edgar Hoover Building and reports to her superiors. Division Chief Blevins assign her to work with Fox Mulder, "Spooky" as they called him at the academy, and a brilliant profiler. Her responses are measured, calm, and pleasant even though she assumes he wants her to spy on and debunk his work. A lanky man hangs off to the side, puffing a smoke ever so often, passive but clearly thinking. She goes to the basement where various UFO posters adorn the cluttered walls. Mulder is working on something and is a little snippy with her in a passive-aggressive way, reading out her credentials, all of which he thinks, are useless.

And with that, the greatest duo in television history is born. That's my opinion at least!

In hindsight, the pilot is a rather unspectacular episode and pales in comparison to later mytharc episodes, which can be described as grand and epic. It does, however, establish an extremely solid foundation the show can stand on. Post-Lost, writers try to come up with something crazy in the pilot, like in V and FlashForward, and the ingenuity quickly wears off. The X-Files, on the other hand, has an interesting premise, but doesn't force anything at all.

Mulder is believer and Scully is the skeptic. On a basic level, there is a built in tension between them already, but they are partners at the same time, so trust must enter in the equation. It's hard not to mention the amazing chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and the sharp dialogue of Chris Carter. Later, we learn that Mulder's sister was plucked right from under his nose, the motivation behind his every move. Slowly, Scully realizes there's something not right and begins to questions her own beliefs.

The pilot and most of the later episodes, are marked by the unknown, a paranoia about what is out there is the total lack of knowledge average people have. This idea starts off in the pilot. The alien abductions come and go, and as Blevins states, there's no one to prosecute, just a specter inside in the minds of a few. The Cigarette Smoking Man takes the metal implant and puts it in storage with rows and rows of other items. What is there to do? The common person has no defenses against a faceless enemy from the skies and his own government no less.

Chris Carter, who has all but disappeared these days, perfectly captured the public's imaginations and fears with aliens and government conspiracy. While he may not be in television anymore--honestly, his later stuff wasn't that bad--The X-Files will be memorialized in history.

OK, one down and 201 to go...

Score: 9.1/10

  • Mulder's mispronunciation of 'Oregon' in the beginning of the episode really bothered me.
  • Scully without clothes in the first episode? That's probably the first and last time we see her like this, but it did play it's part in making a real impression on Scully.
  • Originally, Scully was supposed to have a boyfriend but Chris Carter--in a decision that should forever be enthroned--cut those scenes out. I rewatched those scenes and I can't imagine The X-Files with this extra guy.
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