Monday, March 05, 2007

SHOULD HAVE BELIEVED


I like spooky stories.

I’ve watched a few episodes of the X-Files over the years. I mean, really, who hasn’t? They are, or at least were, heavily syndicated and they made like 7 seasons worth of shows. I almost always enjoyed the show but never really got into it – for quite a number of reasons, most of which were dumb and involved me caving in. Anyhooo…..

I put the first season on my Netflix account and I received the first disk the other Friday. Perfect timing, I had shows to watch over the weekend. After having had a chance to watch the pilot episode and the first several series episodes I have been smacking my forehead going “Why didn’t I watch this?”

Hmmm, that’s not very clear. Let me rephrase. I really really really really really liked the first disk. The shows were clever and well written. The acting is surprisingly good for a pilot episode. The music was perfectly fitted to the pacing of the episodes. The stories were spooky and intelligent enough to treat the non-rational aspects of the show seriously and yet not crazily.

Hmmmmm, maybe that’s not very clear either. Let me try this. I think it would be _fun_ to believe that there are spookies and beasties, and monsters and aliens and all sorts of weirdness out in the world. It would be better than knowing that so many of the bad things that are done to people are done by other people. Plus stories about monsters and beasties are fun because they create an attitude of “let’s beat the monster”. Sometimes we all want to be part of the mob of townsfolk with our torches and pitchforks.

These episodes of the X-Files were well enough written to appeal to that part of me that wants to believe and yet also allowed for the viewpoint that things could possibly be completely rationally explained – it’s just that our understanding wasn’t good enough. In other words, they captured the FUN of letting yourself believe in something fantastic – without preaching that it’s true.

Contrast this to Art Bell and George Noorys radio shows called “Coast to Coast AM”. These people also talk about the beasties and the strange and the aliens and the unbelievable and yet they portray an attitude of "it is all real and those that don’t believe are simply deluded". I do enjoy listening to this show from time to time but it is fascinating to hear these earnest believers call in but I wouldn’t say its fun. It's more like watching a train wreck to me - I just cant stop once it starts.

X-Files captured the fun of the fantastical. I think they will need more than that to sustain my interest for long but they have already laid the ground work for some interesting character development and for a meta-story involving Mulders place in the FBI and how Scully relates to him. All in all it was a promising beginning to a show and extremely entertaining. I’ve bumped disk two up in my queue and hope to be watching it soon.

I can’t believe I waited so long to look into this program. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find my pitchfork and see if I can agitate a mob up to storm a castle.

7 comments:

~J said...

Heeheee... I really need to rewatch these. I kept up with the seasons initially, but got out of the habit as the day they were playing on network TV kept shifting. There are some episodes that I really didn't care for, but those were much fewer and further between than the ones I enjoyed. :)

John O said...

X-files dropped from my watch list after a couple of seasons. It was still interesting, but kids sometimes sneaked in to watch. They'd occasionally catch the monster-heavy episodes. Rather than a continual battle of "go to bed so I don't have to deal with kids having nightmares", it just dropped from our schedule.

I really enjoyed the continuing plots and conspiracies, and weirdness even though I doubt the government has the skill and wherewithall to really keep a good conspiracy going. :)

Drake Tungsten said...

I have to agree with that John. I'm a strong believer in never ascribing to malice anything that can be explained by incompetence. I think that any bureaucracy in general has an institutional tendency towards incompetence rather than malice and what malice it does have it primarily aimed at keeping it self going as stated in Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy. (http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view408.html#Iron)

It would be _fun_ to believe in secret agencies and conspiracies of silence and all sorts of things like that. That is why 007 movies are a blast – but while there are certainly real spies and real hushed up government projects I rather expect that they are nothing like what is show on the large or small screen – probably it’s full of people just waking up and going to work like the rest of us.

Drake Tungsten said...

Aw crud the link go cut up. I'll have to figure out how to post one here.

I've heard that the first 3 or 4 seasons are probably worth watching after which point it starts to go downhill. Is that right?

JulieB said...

I think that we've watched through season 5, and it was still good. Welcome to the club! Hooray for the good spooky story!

Kelly said...

If you want to know how to post a link in a comment you have to know a little html.

Here is the link you were trying to post. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view408.html#Iron

Here is what you can make it look like:Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy

Just write it in html like any other time. If you need to know how to do that...just holler.


BTW: it was me that suggested that we keep kids away from X-files. There were a couple episodes that scared the...that scared Mark. He kept having nightmares.

Rebecca said...

There was only one episode that really kept me awake that night, with the lights on: Home. I believe it's in Season 4. Lady under the bed, that's all I'm going to say.

The later seasons incorporate some really fun, clever stories as well. Those are some of my favorites: Small Potatoes, War of the Coprophages (don't think I spelled that right but I don't care), Bad Blood to name a few. With such great characterization of M and S in the early seasons, they could really have fun in the middle. The end, when Mulder left and even just before...that was it for me. Dull dull dull. Love the conspiracy eps and Ciggy Man. Lots of "Holy Crap" moments. Anasazi is still a fave.

Interestingly, I read a critique once of XF that believed one reason it worked so well in the 90's was our distrust of our govt. Then 9/11 happened, we were all rah-rah-rah, we didn't want to believe our govt. would be acting against us. They were on our side again. It'd be interesting to see how this show does in our current climate. Something tells me, probably be kinda popular again. :)

Site Meter