X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

30 years! + news archive

30 years! The big XXX!

The X-Files pilot aired on the now remote but very plausible date of September 10, 1993. On the 20th anniversary I had compared how The X-Files was then as old as its inspiration The Night Stalker was when TXF started (also, 1973: Watergate). For this anniversary, we go further back: 30 years before 1993 is the incredibly remote 1963, right in-between the start of another major inspiration, The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) and the original Star Trek (1966-1969)! (also, 1963: the JFK assassination) 30 years is also longer than it took for both of these shows to get a reboot or reimagining: 26 years for The Twilight Zone of the ’80s, 21 years for Star Trek: The Next Generation also in the ’80s.

So, 30 years. This is my quantitative lists-obsessed side showing, but the history of The X-Files can be nicely broken down in approximately 5-year intervals. You can identify to which “generation” of fan you belong to:

  • Phase 1 / 1993-1998: The rise. TXF is a cult show from the periphery (Vancouver) that becomes big, worldwide. From mystery/sci-fi/horror genre niche fandom to mainstream success. Buzz and merchandising culminate in the release of the summer blockbuster movie Fight the Future.
  • Phase 2 / 1998-2002: The fall. TXF moves to LA and changes its identity: it is a mix of genres, romantic comedy, experimental, horror. In typical practice of the time, it keeps getting renewed until it isn’t, leaving the writers struggling between inspired creativity and diminishing returns. Behind the scenes changes become the text. The fandom changes, and it won’t be the last time. Fanfics write alternative versions of the show. TXF keeps outliving other Ten Thirteen shows. TXF is one of the first TV shows to be fully released on DVD.
  • Phase 3 / 2002-2008: The waiting years. Eat the Corn is founded. Things don’t go as planned for Carter and for the longest time nothing happens. Suddenly, I Want To Believe is made, a non-summer Millennium movie mixed with a relationship drama. A farewell or a new beginning?
  • Phase 4 / 2008-2013: The empty years. The movie franchise idea does not materialize, Carter’s other shows fail to launch. Fans keep clamouring for an XF3 movie. Older sites and forums close, activity shifts to social media, interviews move from print to podcasts.
  • Phase 5 / 2013-2018: The revival years. The renewed interest in TXF from licensed comics and the 20th anniversary celebration, as well as a general cultural trend towards revisiting the past, result in an unexpected return to TV. Twice. TXF is transferred to HD and released in BluRay. Some say the revival was made just as bonus content for where the big money is now, streaming rights for the back catalogue. The revival proves controversial among old fans, but a new generation of fans discover the show.
  • Phase 6 / 2018-2023: The legacy years. TXF is something of the past, cast and crew are asked what the legacy of the show is. The new owner of the TXF brand, Disney, starts expressing interest in a reboot.

Between amazing discoveries and bitterness at how certain things worked out, it has been quite a journey. This story is also a reflection of how the world has changed in these past 30 years, in so many ways. With nostalgia settling in, it’s tempting to become gatekeepers and look presumptuously at all the vocabulary of new fans — mythology becomes lore, monster of the week becomes filler, and horror becomes comfort watching. But that would be a short-sighted approach. Times have changed, and so has the way to experience a show. Nothing can be repeated and everything is different.

Clearly, post-#XF3 campaigns and post-revival, we are now in a different phase. One of reflection, of conserving the history of the show. Of letting aside unanswered plot details and theories and fan factions, and focusing on what made the show impactful and different. A cinematic ambition, thanks to which it does not look dated still today, for the most part. Smart dialogue. Two irresistible actors portraying two iconic characters. A mood, carried by moments without dialogue and by Mark Snow’s music. The anthology/mythology storytelling mix. And lots of episodes, with the hits and the misses and everything in-between: enough episodes to make the show a big enough part of your life as you go through it, to make its characters and settings truly familiar, to make it an experience to remember — something that the fast-food short-lived transitory shows of the streaming era struggle to replicate.

And then there’s that little touch unique to The X-Files — and Millennium — where you have the impression that, believer or skeptic, the show touches your soul. For those fans that endured through these years, and hopefully new fans can feel this too, TXF was more than entertainment. It was that, certainly, but it also impacted us more deeply, intellectually, existentially, religiously. Each fan’s relationship with the show is personal, and specific, and difficult to explain. And thus, this persistent little corner of the internet.

We can only say to Chris Carter, and to everyone else involved with making this: thank you. At the risk of sounding cliché, let’s celebrate — and hope that this show will still be remembered in 30 more years!

This site was last updated with my Vancouver visit already five years ago. Since then, I have been making use of social media over the years for quick updates and links to interesting stuff instead of updating the website per se, as often happens nowadays. But social media is often bad for you; plus, you never know how long these things will last. So, to save you from having to dig through bottomless feeds, I’ve chosen to copy and archive here all the content of Eat The Corn’s Twitter account (no longer in use) and Facebook page. For the site’s visitors, all of this could be new material, especially if you are a saner person and don’t spend much time on social media.

You will find: lots of interviews of writers and crew and cast with quotes and comments; articles; podcasts; news; fanart; funny stuff; old rediscovered stuff; curiosities; and more.

Dead links are a thing already. This is an issue in safeguarding the history of the show and its fandom. In an era of clickbait and AI-written articles, consistency and reliability is important. Eat The Corn has the ambition to become an archival resource for fans and pop culture historians alike — and it has already been used as a resource in published works! The 1013 interviews database counts some 500 entries but there’s just as many and more waiting to be archived, and there are even dead links now for interviews that were still recent when I started this project (that was in 2010, and it sounds so incredibly away now!).

Here are all the social media archival pages and main events for that year:

  • 2011 — La La Land Records starts releasing Mark Snow’s soundtrack
  • 2012 — A certain colonization event doesn’t do as planned
  • 2013 — IDW starts publishing TXF comics; the 20th anniversary at San Diego Comic Con revives interest in TXF
  • 2014 — HD transfer starts airing
  • 2015: 1 2 3 4 5 — revival officially announced and filmed; TXF released on BluRay
  • 2016: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 — Season 10 airs
  • 2017: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 — second revival officially announced and filmed
  • 2018: 1 2 3 4 5 — Season 11 airs; IDW ends its TXF comic runs; the Millennium documentary is produced; X-Fest 1
  • 2019: 1 2 3 4 — X-Fest 2; video games
  • 2020: 1 2 3 4 — The Official Archives book released
  • 2021: 1 2 3 4 — lots of interviews
  • 2022: 1 2 3 — TXF Museum is inaugurated
  • 2023: 1 2 3 4 5 6 — talks of a reboot begin; TXF documentary and Philefest

So, despite appearances, Eat The Corn is not dead. Stay tuned for further communications.

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One Response to “30 years! + news archive”

  1. SamSimon says:

    Of course eat the corn is not dead! It remains the best place to look for answers on the mythology, and to read interesting and meaningful reflections on a show that, you said it well, is so important for many of us. Ibcan only say thank you!!! :–)

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