Sunday, January 19

The EX-Files


"˜THE X-FILES' NINE-YEAR QUEST FOR THE TRUTH ENDS SUNDAY. TRUST NO ONE.

Photos from FOX After nine seasons, "The X-Files" ends this
Sunday with its two-hour series finale on Fox, at 8 p.m.

By Beverly Braga
Daily bruin contributor
[email protected]

The truth is out there, and in two days it will set two FBI
special agents free.

This Sunday, fans of “The X-Files” will join Fox
Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on their
final search for that elusive truth. Series creator Chris Carter
announced on Jan. 16 that the sci-fi drama would not be returning
for a 10th season.

“I think (Carter) had hoped the show would go on beyond
this year,” executive producer Frank Spotnitz said during a
telephone interview. “I think we all hoped the show would go
on.”

Making its series premiere on Sept. 10, 1993, “The
X-Files” followed the lives of Mulder and Scully as they
sought the answers to questions most would be too embarrassed to
ask.

Relegated to a basement office in the Washington D.C. FBI
headquarters, Mulder was branded with the nickname
“Spooky” due to his outlandish theories and devotion to
a little known collection of unsolved cases known as the X-Files.
Scully, a more practical thinker, was also assigned to the room
without a view but more to keep tabs on a rebellious Mulder than to
balance out the case report findings. Thus began an awkward
acquaintance that over the course of nine years and 202 episodes
would blossom into a loving friendship.

During their investigations, Mulder and Scully encountered all
things that lurk in the realms of the strange and paranormal. Their
files were crammed with cases ranging from humanoid fluke worms to
alternate realities to government cover-ups.

The show’s popularity, however, wasn’t based solely
on monsters and conspiracies.

“So many things have to come together at just the right
time for something to become a hit,” Spotnitz said. A 1982
UCLA graduate and former Daily Bruin editor-in-chief, Spotnitz
believes what makes certain shows well received remains largely
unknown. “It’s kind of a mystery,” Spotnitz
added. “I don’t think anybody really knows why hits
become hits.”

Still, after being on the air for this long, “The
X-Files” has yet to meet a competitor that will fit on the
same page.

“I think “˜The X-Files’ ““ to toot our own
horn ““ is extremely well written, produced (and) cast,”
Spotnitz said. “You can’t just do that at the snap of
the fingers. Carter was able to assemble some really talented
people and had a very clear vision of what the show should
be.”

Agents Monica Reyes and John Doggett will join Mulder and Scully
on the final episode.

Unfortunately, no matter how much talent a particular program
commands, the ratings will always tell a different story. When
Duchovny decided not to renew his contract, there was debate as to
whether the show would go on if one of the two central characters
was no longer around.

“I had actually thought we should have ended at the end of
season seven when Duchovny didn’t want to come back
full-time,” Spotnitz said. “I was persuaded to stay but
I thought, “˜This feels weird, doing it without Mulder there
all the time.'”

Then entered reinforcements in the shape of Agents John Doggett
(Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). Although not
intended to be replacements for Mulder and Scully, Doggett and
Reyes did receive some backlash from some X-Files fans.

“I think what a lot of fans ““ and it’s totally
understandable ““ (felt) is that you’ve watched the show
all these years and it’s been the Mulder and Scully
show,” Spotnitz said. “Suddenly they say forget Mulder
and Scully, here comes Doggett and Reyes. You feel disloyal to
Mulder and Scully.”

Gish was also aware of the loyalty fans had toward the original
characters and was concerned by how her character would be
received.

“I was nervous,” Gish said during a telephone
interview. “(But Reyes) was never presented as trying to fill
anybody’s shoes. (She is) a completely brand-new character,
very distinctly drawn and separate from Mulder and
Scully.”

But the new crew could not salvage the sinking ship. Averaging
17.1 million viewers during season five, the numbers have declined
steadily over the years. This current season, though not
deplorable, is barely floating around the 9 million range.

The reasons for throwing in the hat vary as much as the aliens
that graced the small screen alongside the agents. Ratings, lack of
interest and competing networks all played roles that, added up,
didn’t give “The X-Files” much ground to
comfortably stand on.

“There was a segment of the audience that just did not
show up,” Spotnitz said. “I don’t think
it’s anybody’s fault particularly. It’s not like
people rejected the new characters. They just didn’t even
show up to try them out. And there could be a number of reasons why
that is.”

Unlike the cliffhangers of years past, the series finale, aptly
titled “The Truth,” is written as a definitive
ending.

“It truly is the end,” Spotnitz said. “If
you’re an X-Files fan, you can’t miss this. Especially
if you’re one who’s been on-again, off-again or faded
away the last couple of years. This show is meant for you because
it makes clear things that you weren’t sure about
before.”

However, with every send-off comes some regrets and
what-ifs.

“I’ll miss my character and not knowing where
she’d have gone,” Gish said. “I will absolutely
miss (Patrick). It was the first time in my acting career that I
worked with a single other person day-to-day for a year.”

Spotnitz shares Gish’s feelings and will miss everyone on
the show, including those that aren’t real.

“You develop a closeness to the people that you work
with,” Spotnitz said. “It’s kind of sad to think
about not seeing them everyday anymore. And I’ve spent so
much time in my head with all these characters, thousands of hours
thinking about all these people who don’t even exist. But it
is kind of hard to say goodbye to that too.”

Soon the “I Believe” poster will be taken down from
behind Mulder’s desk and the door at the bottom of the stairs
to be locked shut.

“It was a great ride,” Spotnitz said. “I
wouldn’t change a thing.”

“The X-Files” two-hour series finale will air Sunday
on Fox at 8 p.m.

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