XFRW: 1X79 “Pilot”

So, we’ll start from the beginning. Which, oddly enough given how I watch TV now, which was not actually my beginning with this show. Honestly, I can’t remember exactly where in the process I watched the pilot episode. There was no Netflix or On Demand when I started watching, and there weren’t even DVD sets yet. When you started a show late, you had to wait until the syndication came back around to start from the beginning! These days, I prefer to start from the first episode of something. I don’t know if TV is just created to have every episode watched in order now simply because we can start from the beginning and we don’t need to make it easy to join at any time, or if I’ve just come to prefer to do it that way. I feel like it might be the former, though — TV has changed, because TV is easier now.

(For the record, the first episode I saw was from Season 2, and I started watching regularly in Season 4.)

Anyway, the fact that this pilot episode wasn’t, really, a pilot for me, it definitely puts a different spin on my emotions attached to it and how I remember it. There’s still that happy moment when we’re first introduced to Our Heroes, and when they are introduced to each other, but while I know That’s When They Met, for me they had known each other a long time already.

The FBI’s Most Unwanted!

I guess it’s sort of like when you really start to get to know someone you’re close to, and you start to see their pictures from when they were growing up, when you visit their parents and you hear stories about what they were like in high school. You know this person, you know how to relate to them, know what to expect from them, but you start learning the backstory and things start to really make sense. You see their dad’s goofy humor and their mom’s patient smiles, and it’s like, oh, this is why my friend is this awesome person. It all makes sense.

That’s how the pilot episode has always felt to me. It’s this extra bit of information that tells me, oh, yes, this is why they’re like this. From Mulder’s first explanation of his sister’s abduction, to Scully’s embrace of scientific rigor, down to a certain shadowy figure’s bad smoking habit — as often as you see all of this over the next 10 seasons, this is where it started, where everything was first laid out.

And, essentially, that’s what truly makes this episode so rewatchable. The story itself is pretty meh, especially as the details of the abductions are ultimately ignored for almost seven full seasons’ worth of alien conspiracy episodes. But it’s Mulder and Scully meeting and getting to know each other that is an absolute delight in coming back after seeing the rest of their time together.

Even in their first real discussion/argument, there’s such great chemistry.

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SCULLY: Logically, I would have to say “no.” Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space, the energy requirements would exceed a spacecraft’s capabilties th…

 

MULDER: Coventional wisdom. You know this Oregon female? She’s the fourth person in her graduating class to die under mysterious circumstances. Now, when convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?tumblr_nm0ut7rMu81un7t3oo2_1280

 

SCULLY: The girl obviously died of something. If it was natural causes, it’s plausible that there was something missed in the post-mortem. If she was murdered, it’s plausible there was a sloppy investigation. What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.

 

MULDER: That’s why they put the “I” in “F.B.I.”

It’s a great set-up for how they will relate to each other. And it goes along very well with the mosquito bites scene, which could have absolutely been sexualized or played out more silly. It’s not, though. Scully is scared and Mulder addresses her fear and doesn’t make a comment on how she disrobes down to her undies in front of him. I also love how there’s just the briefest moment of hesitation in Scully, that she knows this might be a mistake but her need to know the truth is bigger. For both of them, a lot of this whole series is one big disrobing despite their fear.

To end on an appropriately nostalgic note, here’s this bit of nerdy self-history. During the episode, you may recall that as Mulder and Scully are driving down a road, the radio does some funky stuff, and Mulder pulls aside to mark that spot:

I think this is where they got the idea to call it the X-Files.

I think this is where they got the idea to call it the “X” Files. #jokes

Well, nearly 10 years later, I was visiting one of my friends for the (at the time) series finale so we could cry together. Brie told me there was a road near her where there was a big ol’ “X” painted on the road! So, naturally, we headed over there and took pictures with this “X”.

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If I had more photoshop skills I’d make this look like FBI badges. Darn!

You wish you were as cool as we were, don’t lie.

So that’s the start of The X-Files, and the start of this blog series, officially! Coming next will be “Deep Throat”, and if you haven’t seen the episode, no it isn’t about that.

A Love Letter to John & Sherry

I have been trying for years to get this blog going. I’ve tried to find a theme, I’ve tried to treat it like my old LiveJournal, I’ve tried to do a lot of things that just didn’t work. And that’s all right. Clearly it just wasn’t the right time for it to work.

When I began planning my X-Files Rewatch project, one thing I thought about a lot was WHERE to do it: here on this blog, on a subdomain, should I get a whole new domain, or maybe do it on Tumblr? There were benefits to everything, but I decided to just integrate it with my main blog because I hoped that if the XFRW posts started to draw a consistent audience, then maybe they’d be interested in other things I wanted to blog about. If, y’know, I ever wrote anything else.

Which is where the love to John & Sherry comes in. They run Young House Love, a blog about home DIY renovation and more, and ran it for 7 years until September 2014, when they stopped and stepped away for a whole year. They now will post occasionally, and they’ve started a weekly podcast. This week’s episode (#14) was dedicated to a speech they gave at a recent conference, talking about why they quit the blog for a year, and how others can maybe avoid having to do that themselves. Now, I am not running a blog that posts every day — or even consistently every month! — but some of what they said really hit me as someone who is starting a long-term blogging project. Especially as someone who gets easily discouraged when I don’t get the hits or comments I’d like.

They talked about deciding your purpose for doing it, and keeping that in mind when things get difficult. About how your goals of hits or comments or whatever can be good and even important, but that you should be feeding your purpose most of all. That you should be selfish, not worry quite so much about what your readers want, not if those things make you unhappy. They reminded us to be more than the blog, and allow ourselves to exist beyond the words on the page.

It’s an important reminder to me. My purpose with this project is to revisit a show I loved. Period. If I get to talk to people about it, then that’s great! But ultimately, this is something I want to do for me, to give myself something to post consistently. It’s a way to write consistently, too, without the pressure I feel of having to Be A Writer. It’s about helping find fun again. (Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I probably had my most fun as a writer in XF fanfic.)

J&S reminded us to experiment and stretch ourselves creatively, and to let that guide our path. This project is different than anything I’ve ever done, and even writing up the posts I’ve already done has been a self-inspiration to want to write other posts, too. Like this one! Maybe this will help me write a post about the Riveters that Joe at Blueshirts Banter has been pressing me to write.

So, I thank you, John and Sherry. I’m not a DIYer, I don’t even decorate my apartment. But I’ve been reading your blog since Clara was a little bean and you lived in your first house. I’m glad you’re found your purpose again, and I’m grateful for your willingness to share your successes and mistakes and help your readers (and now listeners!) to make their blogging lives as smooth and satisfying as possible.

STARTING SOON: A Nostalgia-Soaked X-Files Rewatch

A recent hashtag on Twitter asked users to share their Top 7 TV Shows. The day before it had been movies, and I had no way of figuring that out, but with TV it was pretty easy, especially with the top slot. It’s The X-Files, without any question. More than just being a great show, it’s a show that really set a course in my life. Obviously, every decision you make sets you on the path that brought you to this exact moment. But sometimes, things are big enough that you can point to one particular thing and know with certainty that without that thing, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

For me, this TV show sent me off in a few different directions. Maybe I would have found them eventually no matter what, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Being a fan of XF got me on the internet, into fandom spaces. It got me meeting people who didn’t just go to my school, people all over the world, and it introduced me to fanfic, a way of writing that would spark a passion that haunts me to today.

I’ve rewatched this show before, but I’ve wanted to do it in a way that records my thoughts for a while. I have postponed the idea quite a few times, but I’ve finally gotten things started, and starting Saturday, September 10, I’m going to start posting!

My aim in this series of posts (which is not going to be short, though not every episode will get its own post) is to look back at this show through my 2016 eyes. It’s about the nostalgia, remembering who I was I was watching the show, what the show makes me feel. It’s about looking at things that may have to be updated if we were writing this show now instead of in the mid-90s. And it’s about having some fun and looking at some silliness.

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I’m not going to rate the episodes, I’m not worrying about what episodes were “best” — though I won’t hesitate to point out my favorites (or…the least favorites). No analysis, at least nothing deep and serious. This really is just about enjoying the good ol’ days. I’d also really love to hear your thoughts and memories if you have any to share, so please feel free to leave any comments you have! And, hey, if you’re passionate about an episode and you’d like to write something up yourself, hit me up and let me know! We can try to make something work!

It’s gonna be a fun time, gang!

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First episode, “Pilot”, will post on, naturally, September 10. I have no strict schedule at this time, but you can always check for when the next episodes are posting on the main page for the project!