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Archive for November, 2000

Kevin & Bean: Interview with Chris Carter

Kevin & Bean
Interview with Chris Carter

Transcribed by ‘C’ [from The Haven]

This the Kevin & Bean Show on the world famous KROQ 106.7 and it’s 8:42 am

We have been SO looking forward to this weekend. Ladies and Gentlemen Sunday night, Nov 5, on FOX at 9 is the season premiere, Season 8 of the X-Files. Joining us in the KROQ studios, our old friend Chris Carter. (applause)

Kevin or Bean: Hey, Chris!

Chris Carter: Hey guys

Kevin or Bean: How are you?

Chris Carter: Good.

Kevin or Bean: You know the funny thing is we’ve known you for many, many years now and you’re one of the hardest working guys we’ve ever met. And your show is the very last show to debut. You are the last television program to debut, is that right?

Chris Carter: I’ve been on a little vacation (laugh)

Kevin or Bean: How come you picked this weekend?

Chris Carter: After the world series, after the Olympics… we sort of wanted to wait until the dust settled before we started up.

Kevin or Bean: Did you make that decision?

Chris Carter: No, but actually I’m glad though, it makes my job a little bit easier.

Kevin or Bean: Because you only have to produce 3 new shows and then you are off for next summer. (All laugh.)

Kevin or Bean: Well, we have a lot of ground we have to cover, a lot of things we’ve got to catch up on since the last time we talked to you. First of all, how close were we to not having a season 8 of the X-Files? Was it ever a serious consideration?

Chris Carter: Oh. Yeah. I didn’t think it was going to happen, actually.

Kevin or Bean: Really? You were convinced it was gone?

Chris Carter: I thought we were going down. I thought it would be the last episode but uh, we found a way to do it and actually, there are really good things this year on the show. We’ve got a new character, Robert Patrick plays a character named John Doggett. I think it’s really good story-telling now.

Kevin: I’ve seen this uh, this episode that is going to air this Sunday night with him, and he’s a great choice.

Chris Carter: Yeah.

Kevin: He is a great choice. He’s a perfect fit for the X-Files.

Chris Carter: Thank you. Yeah, he is.

Kevin: For people who don’t know, he’s from Terminator 2. He was the bad guy? Good guy? The liquid guy?

Chris Carter: The metal man

Kevin: Yeah, he changed into metal in Terminator 2.

Bean: Chris, did you know that sometimes Kevin signs autographs as that guy because he looks so much like him? Because people come up to him all the time and say “Hey, aren’t you that dude from the Terminator?”

Kevin: It’s happened like twice or three times. (Lisa laughing) And I’ve signed the name Robert Patrick.

Bean: Chris now, be honest, were you angry when David Duchovny decided he didn’t want to come back or were you completely like understanding– hey, this guy’s got to have a life of his own, too?

Chris Carter: No. I understood. I mean. .. It was… We are all working hard and it’s.. it’s… you know the work is actually too hard. And so, these guys are still young, they have careers. They want to go out and do other things. So, it made sense and he didn’t have a contract. So, it was a good time for him to leave. But fortunately, we found a way to have him back.

Kevin or Bean: Yeah, but you were thinking when he said “I don’t want to come back” … that’s why you were thinking this is going to be the end because at that time until you come up with a new plan and with a new agent and everything you couldn’t see it going on with one agent missing?

Chris Carter: Yeah. I told FOX I didn’t want to do it without David. And they had asked me to bring the show back. And Uh.. so when he came to me and said that he would.. uh.. would do 11 episodes. I thought this is a chance to do something interesting and different.

Kevin or Bean: Sure, you could.. now how far from the end of last season did you realize that he… that you had to start on a plot line to get him out .. to get him abducted?

Chris Carter: um..

Kevin or Bean: Or whatever happened. Well, that’s what we are led to believe, I think at the end of the last season.

Chris Carter: yeah.

Kevin or Bean: Sure.

Chris Carter: I had to plan for that last show to be the last show or the beginning of a new era.

Kevin or Bean: So, you had both in mind?

Chris Carter: Yes.

Kevin or Bean: So, you were going to leave us with him getting abducted?? (laughing) That was going to be your ending??

Chris Carter: No. I hope to do movies so I hoped to have the chance to work it out..

Kevin or Bean: Ah, there ya go. How’d you get Robert Patrick? How’d that come about?

Chris Carter: It was actually a… I can’t believe we got him because we wanted him. He was under contract. Uh.. FOX was able to work out a deal with Paramount to spring him from his contract. He’s a guy we’ve wanted to work with for a long time so this was like an opportunity to do something else that we didn’t think was going to happen and at the last minute they figured out a way to make it happen.

Kevin or Bean: Wow…What has he been doing all this time? He’s not like a guy we’ve seen alot. Has he just been doing alot of smaller projects?

Chris Carter: He works alot actually. He’s in a couple of different things coming out. He’s done some television projects recently. But he did a turn on the Sopranos which I think a lot of people saw.

Kevin or Bean: Oh sure. He was the guy who was running the sporting goods store, who was in all that debt. Right. Yeah, totally forgot about that.

Kevin or Bean: Obviously the chemistry between him and Agent Scully had to be there. What lengths did you go through to make sure that would work on screen?

Chris Carter: Well, Scully’s pregnant now, so the idea presents (Yeah, ding sound effect) a whole new sort of dynamic on the show. So, when he comes in…we figured the audience would not really like him because.. uh… he was sort of coming into.. NOT to replace Mulder, but in Mulder’s absence, so Scully doesn’t like him either actually, so there is tension between the two of them that plays out for a little while and you’ll see then the partnership develops in an interesting way.

Kevin or Bean: At the end of the last season two things that happened were he gets abducted

Chris Carter: Right

Kevin or Bean: And she gets pregnant

Chris Carter: Right

Kevin or Bean: Ok. How much do you want to tell us about how he.. comes in…with the oversight committee, etc?

Chris Carter: Well, the whole season is really about the search for Mulder. Ah, we don’t know what’s happened to him. And Scully, who has been a skeptic all these years, all of a sudden to find Mulder, she has to adopt kind of Mulder’s work which is a belief in the existence of extraterrestrials. So, she has to become kind of believer now. This new character comes in as a knee jerk skeptic. He’s a former cop. He just doesn’t believe any of this stuff. He thinks it’s all B.S.

Kevin: And he’s put in a position where he’s over her and running the investigation. It’s really… It’s GREAT! (Bean whispers: Kevin has seen the episode)

Kevin: It’s really great! I don’t want to give away too much, but I want people to know that it totally works!

Bean: After what happens to Scully in the movie though it’s inconceivable that she could be anything less than a die-hard 100% believer. She’s seen it with her own eyes for God’s sake!

Chris Carter: Yeah, she’s seen alot so I think we are playing true to the character. We are playing that she’s still a scientist, but now she’s playing with a side that she’s seen a lot of thigns she can’t explain.

Kevin or Bean: Let me ask you one mroe thing about the season finale from alst year. And then we need to take a break. And if you have just started with us, we have Chris Carter in our studio. The shroud of secrecy around her being pregnant must have been something. Was it one of those deals where you went over to her in the last scene on the last day and whispered to her what he line was?

Chris Carter: It was almost like that. I brought in pages. They were filming and I brought in pages like 15 minutes before they filmed them.

Kevin or Bean: Really?

Chris Carter: And I told no one. Only one other person knew and she guessed what we were going to do

Kevin or Bean: Oh so she said “I thought you were going…”

Chris Carter: Yes.

Kevin or Bean: Because it was a shocker. The last line of the show is “I’m pregnant” and you went “WHOA, IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG SUMMER. HEY!!!” (All laughing).

Chris Carter: Yeah, you didn’t think she’d ever had sex.

Kevin or Bean: YEAH!

Kevin or Bean: I mean people had been.. you know.. people speculate about everything. They tear your show apart more than any other. So, they’d seen her mysteriously waking up in Mulder’s house at least one time, right?

Chris Carter: Right

Kevin or Bean: And it was never really addressed. We never really knew what that meant. I mean are we sure? Do we know for sure it’s his? Yeah, is it fair to assume that? What do you want us to assume?

Chris Carter: Uh.. actually, it’s something we are going to play with during the season. We are going to find out clues to who the father is. And it will be part of the…

Kevin or Bean: It’s going to be an alien baby! She’s got an alien inside her (Chris laughing)

Lisa: No!

Kevin or Bean: Is it…

Lisa: Does she know who the dad is?

Bean: Yeah, that’s a good question. Does she know? Or is she just a slut when she’s off work?

Kevin: She’s had no sex, I’m telling you it’s an alien baby.

Chris Carter: It’s one of the lone gunmen. (all laugh).

Kevin or Bean: You are such a tease, Chris.

Kevin: Let me ask you just one more thing and then we need to break. And I know you might no be able to tell us. Is it Gary Coleman’s baby? (all laugh)

Chris Carter: Gary Coleman’s a virgin, I thought.

Kevin or Bean: That’s right! We forgot. Chris Carter is in our studios. Creator of the X-Files. We’ll be right back. Commercials.

Kevin or Bean: We are here with Chris Carter of the X-Files. You wrote the first 2 shows right?

Chris Carter: Actually, I’ve written quite a few of the 1st 10. I’m working on 10 right now.

Kevin or Bean: Sunday night. 9 Fox Channel 11 here in Southern California. Are we allowed to talk about the spin-off project you’ll be working on?

Chris Carter: I hope you will (all laugh)

Kevin or Bean: What can you tell us about it so far?

Chris Carter: It’s a spin-off of the X-Files starring the 3 computer geeks, the Lone Gunmen, and will premiere in the springtime when the X-Files takes a little vacation.

Kevin or Bean: I will tell you. I don’t know how it will end up playing out, but I do know they are some of the characters you see on tv that you wish you could see more of. Every time they were on this show it’s so much fun.

Chris Carter: Well, you’ll be seeing them in…

Kevin or Bean: a lot!

Chris Carter: Yeah.

Kevin or Bean: We’ll take a few phone calls– Sydney

Question: Hi. Um. Chris, how are you?

Chris Carter: Good.

Question: I was wondering if there is going to be another X-Files movie. And if so, what is David Duchovny’s role in that?

Chris Carter: There will be another X-Files movie as far as I am concerned, and I know FOX wants one. The story is kind of developing right now. We have a big idea, it will be a stand alone, rather than a mythology episode like we did in the 1st one.

Kevin or Bean: Right, but the question is… If you’ve got the new guy coming in…

Chris Carter: We haven’t quite figured that out yet.

Kevin or Bean: Are they going to battle to the death?

Chris Carter: Gladiator (all laugh)

Kevin or Bean: Would it be summer 2001? Is that a reasonable prediction of when the next movie will be?

Chris Carter: Uh, I think that’s a little premature.

Kevin or Bean: Dude! Get busy. Come on. Write us a movie! We like your movies… Ok. Thanks for the call. Jamie–

Question: Hi, Chris, First of all I want to thank you for giving us a great show for the past 7 years.

Chris Carter: Thank you.

Question: The first question I have is about Robert Patrick. There has been from what I’ve seen, a really big fan backlash against him even though he hasn’t appeared in an episode yet.

Chris Carter: Right.

Question: I was wondering what you think about that and what you want to say to the fans out there who are reacting so badly against him already?

Chris Carter: Well, I hope everyone watches and they’ll see how we use him. It’s not like he’s replacing Mulder. Mulder is missing. And he comes in to find Mulder. So, he’s an addition to the show. And I think.. he’s a great actor, and I think you’ll like his character. .. Scully doesn’t like him… so, Uh, just give him a chance.

Kevin: I’ve seen it, Jamie, the one that airs Sunday night, and he’s great! I think people will really like the way he’s brought in, the way he’s used.

Bean: Chris, remember the weird acid flashback you were on the day you wrote about the bald kid playing Chess. Remember? (all laughing) Then we never saw him again. We never heard about him again. He just kind of vanished? What were you on back then? (laughs). What is going on there exactly? Is he ever coming back?

Chris Carter: Yeah, he’s actually coming back Sunday night.

Bean: No!

Chris Carter: yeah.

Bean: You’re kidding? I was just joking. I figured the kid has got be like 30 years old by now.

Kevin: I thought you had heard he plays a major part in Sunday night?

Bean: well, good because you’ve got some “splaining to do there, Lucy!” Steve from Irvine…

Question: Hey, Chris

Chris Carter: Hey

Question: In an episode a couple of seasons back, Agent Spender was apparently killed off with no explanation. I was wondering what the deal was with that?

Chris Carter: Well, there was an explanation but you didn’t actually see the death, but his father actually did him in. And uh.. he’ll be back but it will be in flashback, but he will play a part.

Kevin or Bean: . Ok. Thanks, Steve.

Kevin or Bean: It’s amazing to me, Chris, that you are able to keep this universe straight in your mind at all times. Now that you are 10 shows into it…

Kevin or Bean: Does it get easier to write an episode of the X-Files?

Chris Carter: No, It’s actually.. I don’t know how, but it gets harder and harder.

Kevin or Bean: Does it?

Chris Carter: Yeah, because the stories are harder to come up with. But I still think the harder they are to come up with the better they are.

Kevin or Bean: How long does it take you to write an episode?

Chris Carter: Too long. Uh.. sometimes it takes as little as a week, and sometimes a couple of weeks. But the whole process is 10 1/2 months a year.

Kevin or Bean: Wow. Do you have any cool guest stars coming up this season? You’ve had so many memorable ones over the years.

Chris Carter: Yeah, uh, it’s really the same cast of character actors we’ve done so well with. Joe Morton is in an episode.

Kevin or Bean: But no Lily Tomlins or Ed Asners?

Chris Carter: Not yet really. We’re really going back to our bread and butter which are good, scary episodes. Which are always more scary when they seem like real people…

Kevin or Bean: Can I make a suggestion?

Chris Carter: Yeah.

Kevin or Bean: Can you kill Carrot Top? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Kevin: What? One of the characters just drives over Carrot Top for no reason?

Bean: Like Carrot Top is at Universal or something like that. They are in there looking for.. you know… an alien and something happens. The bullet goes wild and just kills him on stage, and the kids are crying. It would be cool.

Chris Carter: Uh.. I think you went to see Carrot Tops show last night (garbled)

Bean: No, I was not. (Laughing)

Kevin or Bean: Chris, always great to see you. We are so delighted that you were able to figure out how to keep the show on. And it sounds like everybody’s happy with it. So that gives us hope too for this weekend! Brand new season. Season number 8 for the X-Files. It’s on Sunday Night. 9 pm on FOX. Let’s do this again soon.

Chris Carter: Thanks.

Kevin or Bean: And say Hi to everyone on the set for us.

Hollywood Reporter: Fate of new 'X-Files' is latest Fox mystery

Hollywood Reporter
Fate of new ‘X-Files’ is latest Fox mystery
Gina McIntyre

[typed by Alfornos]

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) — One of fall television’s most shocking cliffhangers will be resolved this weekend when the season premiere of “The X-Files” airs Sunday night on Fox. But the suspense has nothing to do with the fates of Special Agents Mulder and Scully; it stems instead from the uncertainty surrounding whether viewers will tune in.

“X-Files” has long been the focal point of the network’s weekend lineup, anchoring Sunday nights for roughly four years. Although it was widely held that the show would conclude at the end of last year, controversy erupted when Fox sought to extend the series’ run for an eighth season.

Neither star David Duchovny nor series creator Chris Carter had a contract in place, and Duchovny had filed a lawsuit against Fox claiming lost royalties from a syndication deal the network inked with its own cable subsidiary FX. The suit alleged that Fox sold the show for less than its actual value.

After down-to-the-wire negotiations, Carter’s contract was renewed, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum, and Duchovny was signed for about half of this year’s 22 episodes, most of which will air during the latter half of the season.

In Mulder’s absence, a new character named John Doggett (Robert Patrick) will partner with Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully.

But no matter how adept Patrick might be at assuming his new FBI mantle, beginning the show’s eighth year with a new leading man is nothing short of risky. Duchovny and Anderson together defined the series’ singular style in many viewers’ minds, and breaking with that proven formula could lead straight into troubled ratings territory for the sci-fi drama.

“I make no secret of the fact that I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to come back for another year,” executive producer Frank Spotnitz said. “It was a huge gamble to replace a character like this. It’s not an ensemble show like ‘NYPD Blue’ or ‘ER’ where there are so many fine actors to carry the series. Mulder was one of two central characters in this show. But having been drafted to do this, I just was determined to make a success of it.”

To help “X-Files” remain on course despite the cast changes, Carter has stepped in to write or rewrite six of the show’s 10 episodes thus far, and he has directed one of his own scripts, marking the first time he has helmed one of his own episodes since the series’ sixth season.

“It’s strange not to have David around every day, but I have to say his absence has really framed the season, which is (about) the search for Mulder,” Carter said. “By adding a new character to the show, we have a new way to tell ‘X-Files’ stories. Scully now has seen too much to deny, and she becomes a kind of reluctant believer, sort of taking Mulder’s place, and Robert Patrick comes in as a knee-jerk skeptic. All of a sudden, Scully’s the provocateur.”

New creative direction aside, it remains to be seen whether the show can still deliver the same kind of quality episodes it once did and if the series’ audience, which has consistently waned during the past few years, will continue to watch each week without Agent Mulder at the helm.

Even though the show is still perceived among the top of the ratings charts, its audience has slipped by nearly 26% during the past three years. At the end of the show’s fifth season, “X-Files” claimed some 17.1 million viewers; the next year, that number dropped to 15.2 million viewers. By the conclusion of last season, viewership totaled 12.6 million.

The Hollywood Reporter’s TV critic Barry Garron admits that it is possible for the show to find success despite Duchovny’s lessened involvement. What is more pertinent, he said, is the series’ ability to develop interesting story lines at this point in its television life span.

After a feature film, a spinoff series starring the Lone Gunmen, the show’s computer hackers (set to debut on Fox as a midseason replacement) and an absentee leading man, “X-Files” might have simply run out of steam.

“There’s no question this show has peaked,” Garron said. “Virtually everyone who is going to watch it has sampled it by now. It’s really a question of how quickly or slowly viewers desert it for other shows.”

“Under other circumstances, this show might have ended after seven seasons,” he added. “It certainly would have gone out a winner, both for its solid ratings and for its unique style. Fox, however, could ill afford to put the show to pasture at a time when the network already was scraping the bottom of its development barrel just to fill all the other holes in its schedule. With or without Duchovny, Fox knew that having ‘The X-Files’ was better than anything else it had to replace it.”

Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman agreed that the series is vital to the network’s programming roster, but she is optimistic that the retooled show will perform as well as it has in previous seasons.

“We certainly view it as a very important piece of our programming roster and have for many years now,” Berman said. “I feel that the show is in excellent shape. I think Chris has been creatively energized this year. We think the episodes thus far are really wonderful, and we’re very satisfied with where things are at the moment.”

Even at this early stage, the network is hoping to be able to keep “X-Files” in its Sunday night slot for at least one additional season and perhaps for years to come, Berman said.

“Of course, we are absolutely looking beyond this year,” she said. “I’d like to think it is a new day that’s moving forward and embracing your former life as well.”

Carter said he would continue on with the series under the right circumstances but that it is too early to determine how likely that scenario might be.

“I know Fox would love it to be on the air next year, but there are many factors,” Carter said. “David doesn’t have a contract for next year, and I’m sure he’d be looking for a rich deal. I don’t have a contract for next year. Most importantly, I want to make sure I’m working toward something. I don’t want to ever let this show peter out or just die of its own weight. This show has to be good for me to continue, and that’s what I’m working to do this year. If I’m satisfying myself that it can be good, I would certainly consider it.”

Toledo Ohio Blade: 'X-Files' reopened: Expect more questions, few answers, over eighth season

Toledo Ohio Blade
‘X-Files’ reopened: Expect more questions, few answers, over eighth season
Elaine Liner

[posted to atxfa by Alfornos]

Every year X-Files creator Chris Carter guarantees answers to the sci-fi show’s many lingering questions about virus-carrying aliens, global conspiracies, and FBI agents Mulder and Scully’s love lives. And every year he and his writing staff wind up the season with a cliffhanger that leaves viewers with more puzzles to ponder until the show returns with fresh episodes months later.

That it does Sunday (9 p.m. Fox) with the first of a two-part story arc taking up where last season’s finale left off. But will viewers really find out if Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was abducted by an alien spacecraft? Is Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) pregnant and was it Mulder or one of the extraterrestrials who did the deed? And who is this new guy, Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick), who joins Scully to search for her missing partner?

FBI agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick), left, will be the skeptic this season as he joins agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and D.A. Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) on The X-Files.

In its eighth season, The X-Files has a lot to answer for, and, as usual, Carter is coy about what’s going to happen.

Like, about that baby …

“I’m his father and its mother, thanks,” he says.

Carter wasn’t even supposed to be writing and producing the show after last season. His and actor Duchovny’s contracts with X-Files were at an end, and both had expressed desires to move on. Duchovny is still trying to ignite a movie career (Return to Me didn’t return much box office revenue.) Carter wants to continue X-Files mythology in feature films while launching the more lighthearted spin-off series The Lone Gunmen on Fox midseason. Only Anderson was willing to return to X-Files full-time, and her salary bump (to a reported $250,000 an episode) was contingent on signing for both the eighth and ninth seasons.

But Fox couldn’t see doing the show without the X-Files power trio. So with a little persuasion and a big pile of money on the table, bling! Carter came back (for at least one more year) and Duchovny signed to appear in 11 of the 20 episodes this season.

“I really do not want to do this just as a matter of commerce,” Carter insists. “I wanted it to be a good show. I wanted it to be special. I want this to be a great season of The X-Files. I want the event of Mulder’s disappearance to be important. I want the possibility that the show could go on.”

Carter admits that last year was a tough one. X-Files’ ratings dipped, and the series was shut out of the Emmy nominations. Duchovny and Carter weren’t even on speaking terms after the actor sued over what he considered the producer’s low-ball sale of X-Files reruns to cable’s FX channel, a deal Duchovny thought denied him lucrative residuals from syndication.

After settling the suit (with Duchovny getting millions), the two now are working amicably.

“I think there has been a lot of repair of something that was damaged,” Carter says.

Fans of X-Files might say that what was damaged last year was the show itself. After years of mysterious utterances by the Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Smith) and Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), little has ever really been revealed about the central theme of the series – whether there are space aliens living among humans on this planet, and if there are (as Mulder believes), whether they are good or bad.

At the end of last season, Scully, long the skeptical scientist, had at last been convinced by Mulder of the government’s conspiracy to conceal the existence of aliens.

With her on Mulder’s side this year, Agent Doggett will fill the role of disbeliever.

But won’t keeping Mulder and Scully apart cheat viewers of their favorite aspect of the drama?

“Mulder and Scully – David and Gillian – are the reason for the show’s great success,” Carter says. “But that doesn’t mean that you can’t threaten the paradigm, that you can’t threaten the relationship. You better do that every once in a while or else you’re going to have a very stale show, particularly when you have characters who didn’t kiss for seven years.”

Carter also thinks Robert Patrick’s performance as Doggett will ignite new interest in the show. “I think he is going to strike a chord. And I certainly think the relationship that (Doggett and Scully) are going to have is going to make the Mulder and Scully relationship more interesting.”

And if it doesn’t, The X-Files may be filed away after season No. 8 – with or without answering all the Big Questions it’s toyed with all these years. Carter hints at tying up loose ends before the series heads into permanent reruns. But he’s not promising anything.

“It would be nice to come to some sort of conclusion, but my fear is that when you have a show about the unexplained, to actually try to explain any of that is kind of ridiculous,” Carter says. “The X-Files always leaves as many questions as answers, so I think that’s probably what I would say we would end up with.”

Mothership.com: As X-Files enters its eighth season it now must contend with being partially Mulder-less and the introduction of a new partner (Robert Patrick) for Scully – yet the cast and crew affirm that it's still business as usual for Fox's popular sci-fi show

As X-Files enters its eighth season it now must contend with being partially Mulder-less and the introduction of a new partner (Robert Patrick) for Scully – yet the cast and crew affirm that it’s still business as usual for Fox’s popular sci-fi show
Anthony C. Ferrante

[typed by Alfornos]

As the end of Season 7 of X-FILES was drawing near, it looked like the doors were finally closing on FOX’s venerable series. David Duchovny was getting increasingly impatient with not being able to move forward in his movie career and the increasing reliance on humor on the show was taking some of the dark edges off its once truly creepy stories.

At the 11th hour, though – after the season finale was shot where it was revealed Scully is pregnant and Mulder abducted by aliens – Duchovny worked out an agreement with FOX. He would appear partially in a handful of episodes (around five or six) and full time in the last six of the season. Hence, the show was back from the dead, but the question was: how do you cope with a Mulder-less show for most of the season?

“David is still a regular,” admits the show’s creator Chris Carter. “Even when he’s there he’s going to be ‘not’ there – he’s going to be an absent presence and an absent center. And so, his involvement in the show, even though it’s in an abbreviated fashion, is going to be very important.”

Naturally, this meant bringing in a new character to fill the void in Mulder’s wake. With FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), and now her and Mulder’s boss Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), being firm believers based on what they’ve seen, bringing in another skeptic was almost a requirement.

Enter John Doggett (Robert Patrick) – a former New York cop thrown into the mix who will be working alongside Scully during her investigations throughout the season.

“Doggett is an FBI agent and he was a cop and that’s actually not atypical for FBI agents,” says Carter. “He is not assigned to the X-Files to begin with. He is not Scully’s partner to begin with. There is a gradual, hopefully realistic integration of the character into the series.”

While at the premiere of the Season 8 two-parter in North Hollywood last weekend, the cast and crew of X-FILES were obviously relishing in these changes, and Patrick’s chumminess with Carter and others looked like he’s been welcomed into this sci-fi staple’s fold with open arms.

“It’s nice to have a really fine new actor to write for,” says Carter. “It’s interesting to be doing some of the shows without David. He’s always a big presence on the show, even when he’s not there, because this is the search for Mulder this year.”

Patrick, who is best known for playing the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (and more recently for a multi-episode arc on HBO’s The Sopranos) was thrilled to join the show calling it a “no brainer.”

“It’s a win-win situation,” says Patrick. “It’s a brand new character. They wanted to write a brand new character, and I think Chris is a great writer. I’m having a ball working with Gillian and I’m looking forward to working with David. It’s all about the work for me.”

For the new dynamic with Scully, Patrick confirms his character’s “skeptic” status.

“I don’t buy any of it and think it’s all bullshit,” says Patrick. “I just go for the facts and try to solve everything with facts only. He’s a very street-smart guy and that’s how he goes about it. He has a really strong work ethic and he tackles each case with those abilities and traits.”

Though one of the appeals of the show has always been Mulder’s dry sense of humor, Patrick says there isn’t a lot of levity with his character – as of yet — but he says there is definitely a chemistry all its own going on between his and Scully’s characters.

“My chemistry with Gillian is my chemistry and David’s chemistry with Gillian is David’s” says Patrick. “I think Doggett really enjoys Scully and admires her craft. He enjoys working with her and bringing his abilities to work in tandem with hers. It’s thrown his reality a bit for a loop – that these things are kind of otherworldly — but he’s keeping his feet on the ground.”

Coming back to a show without your familiar partner might be a bit jarring, but for Anderson she says the presence of David is felt in every episode they’ve done so far this season, despite him being holed up on the spaceship by his lonesome.

“Even though David wasn’t here, he was the focus of the episodes, so I feel like he’s there,” says Anderson. “We’re always talking about him. We’re looking for him. It’s not as if Mulder is completely gone. It doesn’t feel like he’s not there.”

The quality of the writing continues to remain high, Anderson also notes.

“It’s going really well,” she says. “I think they’ve written some amazing episodes. Everybody is really enthusiastic the way things are going. The new character of Doggett is interesting and Robert is great to work with. I think there won’t be as much lightness and back more to the old flavor of X-FILES. You’ll like them – they’re good.”

However, one thing that executive producer and writer Frank Spotnitz actually misses this year, so far, is the way Mulder’s character was able to explain even the strangest scenarios – which the writers haven’t been able to fall back on as readily.

“You realize how much having Mulder around helps tell these stories because he can come out with the big theory and take the big leap,” reveals Spotnitz. “There’s nobody to do that now so it has put us in more than one quandary on how to tell a story.”

While the mystery of Scully’s pregnancy will be an ongoing arc throughout the season, one of the show’s mainstay directors Kim Manners notes that a February sweeps episode will deal specifically with this new revelation.

“We just finished up that episode and it’s a bit of a new conspiracy,” teases Manners. “Her pregnancy is going to be a conspiracy.” Another character going through a major change during Season 8 is Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) who watched as Mulder was abducted during last year’s season finale. He will now finally get a chance to get up from behind his desk and actually be an active part in the rescuing of Mulder. “Skinner has changed enormously since the end of last season because he saw a spaceship so he’s no longer the man in the middle,” says Spotnitz. “He’s firmly in Mulder and Scully’s camp. That’s really changed the role he plays on the show. He plays a bigger role this year than he’s ever played. He’s out of the office and clearly an ally of Scully and Doggett – and one episode in particular we have Doggett and Skinner together in an investigation.” For Pileggi, this rethinking of his character has been a breath of fresh air, too, and he says whole-heartedly that this season he’s been able to do “the best work of my career.”

“The episodes I’m in I definitely have a lot more involvement,” says Pileggi. “He is now a firm believer and it has really impacted him and how he feels about what Scully and Mulder have been doing.”

The show will be getting more dramatic according to Pileggi but for Skinner at least his character’s awakening has definitely provided more shadings for him as an actor to work with.

“It’s not so negative,” he admits. “That skeptical aspect of Skinner is gone and he can be a little more active. It’s really a nice new avenue for this character to go down.”

While it may seem like Season 8 could very well be one very long mythology episode, Spotnitz notes there will be the regular mix of stand-alones and mythology episodes.

“It’s mostly broken down in the way it has been in the past,” says Spotnitz. “Most of the episodes are still stand-alone investigations, but it’s the relationship between Scully and Doggett in each of those stand-alones which makes it more serial than it used to be. There is the search for Mulder that keeps coming back and it, along with Scully’s pregnancy, those are the big mysteries that drive the season.”

Of the stand-alones, Spotnitz notes an episode about a man “who seems to kill like a bat” will be particularly startling as are a handful of others.

“One has Scully getting stranded in this community that’s nowhere on any map and the people are really creepy and have a very scary secret, so it’s up to Doggett to find her and rescue her from this small town,” says Spotnitz. “There’s another where a boy who has disappeared ten years ago returns and looks exactly the same – he hasn’t aged a day. That’s a very scary one, too.”

According to Carter, he confirms like others on the show that it’s going to be a good scary season like the first year and there will also be some high concept stories thrown into the mix as well.

“Joe Morton guest stars in the episode where time goes backwards and Joe finds himself convicted of a crime that he doesn’t know he committed,” says Carter. “Then he starts living his days in reverse.”

In the end though, the big questions are about where Mulder is and where he will be when the season comes to an end and Manners is excited to see what happens when the actor comes back to the show full time.

“It’s going to be exciting when David returns and does the last six episodes of the season because it will be an interesting challenge for the writers,” says Manners. “It will be interesting weaving new stories and how we’re going to create the whole dynamic when Fox Mulder comes back from space.”

The whole absence of Duchovny may seem like a big deal for a show like X-Files, but it’s not the only controversy the show has faced both behind the scenes and from fans. When Duchovny wanted to be closer to his wife Tea Leoni, the show moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles two seasons ago with many fans thinking it would lose its look and feel. However, that has become a non-issue now and Spotnitz feels the show being Duchovny-less will be a non-issue as this year progresses as well.

“Nothing went wrong once we came to L.A. though one of our editors said before we were ‘wet and dark’ and now we’re ‘dry and dark,'” says Spotnitz. “For us, the big change that came with L.A. is it costs more than it did in Vancouver so we have to be a lot more clever in how we tell our stories and have to manage to hide the fact we can’t do the things we did before. We used to have huge locations. One two-part episode had moving trains and train cars blowing up – stuff on bridges. It’s stuff like that which is huge to do on a TV schedule and budget and even though the budget of the show has increased quite a bit since we moved to L.A., it’s still not enough to allow us to do the same epic things we did in Vancouver frequently.”

Spotnitz also wants fans to know that the behind-the-scenes talent are still firmly entrenched in delivering a show that won’t disappoint in Duchovny’s absence.

“I think the fans should know we love the show as much as they do,” notes Spotnitz. “We love the character of Agent Mulder as much as they do. This wasn’t our choice to do the show this way. This is something between David and the studio. The only thing Ten Thirteen had to say about it is that ‘we will not go forward unless you make David Duchovny happen. Give him what he wants.’ Our audience hopefully understands we’re telling the best stories we know how and keeping the X-FILES as good as we know how. We’re on the same side as they are.”

While the whole season has been mapped out, whether the show will return for a ninth year is still up in the air and Carter reveals that it will likely stay that way until it comes time to renew contracts in the Spring.

“Last season was the first where it was up in the air and while I anticipate every season would be like that I don’t think it will be quite as 11th hour as last year was,” adds Carter.

One thing is for certain – Patrick’s contract extends beyond this year if the show continues.

“I’m committed for the full season this year and then some,” says Patrick. “I think I can say I’m contracted for another year.” And now that he’s tied up with a show, Patrick might also have problems scheduling in Terminator 3 if he were asked back but he says no one has approached him about it yet – “I’m not aware of it.”

Whether the creative team in place may still be around for another X-Files season is entirely a big question mark too, but Spotnitz thinks it may be time to move on.

“I suspect this will be the last year for us – for this creative team,” he admits. “I never say never. I never thought we would last this long. I don’t know what will happen beyond this year. We definitely have a plan of what will get us to end of this season and where the characters will be. It can certainly go beyond this year. Whether it will or not, I don’t know. ”

Some of the team’s energies might actually be funneled into The Lone Gunmen spin-off which is scheduled for mid-season with a 13-episode commitment.

“It will be much lighter than X-Files,” says Carter. “The characters actually get to develop in ways we’ve never seen them before on X-Files. They aren’t in service to Mulder and Scully. They’re working on their own beat.” As countless shows past and present continue to appear and disappear on FOX all hoping to fill in that void likely to be left once X-Files finally leaves the airwaves, Carter reflects on how lucky he’s been to keep the show on half as long as it has.

“With reality programming, there’s hardly room for anything on TV, so it’s a miracle that everything worked with X-Files,” says Carter. “There’s just a million ways to fail in television. And when you have something like this that hits, I know how lucky I am that I had the Gods in my favor. Everybody can be lined up, but you’d better make really good choices and hire really good people every step of the way or else there’s a good chance you’ll fail. A lot of people would like to be popular and successful – however it’s mostly hard work, but it’s a lot of luck too.”

Buffalo NY News: New blood is pumping a dramatic, creative force into 'X-Files'

Buffalo NY News
New blood is pumping a dramatic, creative force into ‘X-Files’
Alan Pergament

[typed by Alfornos]

Robert Patrick is the new FBI man on “The X-Files” beat.

In order to reduce his duties on “The X-Files,” David Duchovny has to undergo some excruciating torture this Sunday as Fox Mulder.

The question for fans of the long-running Fox series is whether it will be torture to watch creator Chris Carter try to pump some more life into this popular program.

On the basis of the two-part season premiere, which debuts with Part 1 at 9 p.m. Sunday on Channel 29, we shouldn’t have doubted Carter at all.

The strong season opener introduces Robert Patrick as the new man on the FBI beat. And next week’s episode is much more suspenseful and creepy. Taken together, one goes away thinking that Carter can be trusted to get mileage out of Duchovny’s reduced role.

With his blue eyes, chiseled looks and stern, humorless demeanor, Patrick is far from a Duchovny clone. He has a strong presence, an actor who probably would have been a decent Texas sheriff in the days when TV westerns were popular.

When we left the series last May, Duchovny’s return to the series was as uncertain as Mulder’s whereabouts. In the season finale, he apparently was captured by aliens. Meanwhile, his partner, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), is pregnant and keeping it a secret from all but a few friends.

Needless to say, the FBI has trouble stomaching Mulder’s disappearance. It now has assigned an agent, John Doggett (Patrick) as the Task Force leader to investigate the strange goings on and explain them away. Doggett is not Scully’s partner. Not immediately anyway.

In a sense, fans of the series may approach the arrival of agent Doggett with the same cynicism and open contempt as Scully. Their first meeting doesn’t go very well, with Scully telling Doggett that he doesn’t know Mulder and shouldn’t pretend that he does.

The truth is the audience knows much more about Mulder and the aliens he has been investigating than the new guy from New Yawk does.

And some of the strange things in the series have become a bit repetitive after seven seasons. By now, fans realize that what you see is not necessarily what you see. If Mulder is acting oddly or doing something evil, we don’t need Scully to tell us that it is probably someone posing as Mulder. If Scully behaves like a WWF star and body slams everyone around her, we know it is probably someone posing as Scully.

The first two episodes are long on attitude and scenery and sparse on dialogue, though Scully doesn’t hold back when she has something to say. Doggett gets a fast course on what has been happening for the past seven seasons.

Scully, who started out as a skeptic, is now the believer. Doggett is a by-the-book, skeptical agent who is coming to terms with men walking away from 300-foot falls, a young, half-alien boy who is being hidden in a desert school, people transforming into other people and green goo oozing out of life forms instead of blood.

Doggett sees so much so fast that one doubts it is going to take as long as it took Scully to give in to the inevitable.

The absence of Mulder has also expanded the role of Agent Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), who has come over to Mulder’s side and accepted the idea of aliens roaming America.

“I saw what I saw,” is how Skinner explains it.

“You give them the truth and they’ll hang you with it,” replies Scully.

Skinner’s vision has helped his understanding of the motives of the FBI and he is intent on explaining them to Doggett and hoping he’ll “give in to the truth.”

Eventually, the torture of Mulder has to end, if only because since Duchovny is supposed to appear prominently in six episodes and in 11 episodes in all.

Though he’ll be missed for half the season, but the truth is this series probably could use some fresh goo, uh, blood.

In an interview this summer in Los Angeles, Carter confirmed that he named Patrick’s character after a Los Angeles Dodgers announcer, Jerry Doggett, who used to work with Vin Scully (who he named Scully’s character after).

Now that we’ve taken care of that trivia, let’s go back to last year’s season finale. Carter said he wrote it without knowing if there would be another season.

“I had to write a sort of all-purpose season-finale,” said Carter. “It actually has set us up for a very interesting way to approach season eight. The entry of a new character, new blood, a new dramatic balance is actually going to be a really fun thing to play.”

He declined to say who was the father of Scully’s baby. He did explain what he plans to do with Doggett’s character.

“Mulder has always been an outsider, the consummate outsider,” said Carter. “We wanted somebody who was blue-collar, a former cop, a man’s man. And Robert Patrick came in and blew us away.”

He concedes that the Scully-Mulder relationship has been the reason for the show’s success.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t threaten the paradigm, you can’t threaten the relationship. Dramatically, you better do that every once in a while or else you’re going to have a very stale show.”

He added that is especially the case when the two main characters have only shared a kiss on screen in seven years despite the obvious sexual tension and chemistry between them.

Since Scully is pregnant and there was an episode last season that suggested that she and Mulder might have gotten together, some fans are wondering if he fathered Scully’s child. One critic told Carter that some fans have suggested that he wouldn’t “cheat” them by having the partners consummate their relationship off screen.

“What happens is that it makes it a lot more fun to now go back and find out what really happened,” said Carter. “I think if anyone feels cheated, they will get their prurient interest satisfied.”

Another critic asked how Mulder would feel if he isn’t the father of Scully’s baby.

“Cheated,” said Carter.

One doubts that viewers will feel that way after watching the strong first two episodes of the season.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 4

Cincy Post: 'X-Files' returns: More questions than answers

Cincy Post
‘X-Files’ returns: More questions than answers
Rick Bird

When we last left ”The X-Files,” Mulder was finally snatched by the aliens and Scully was inexplicably pregnant.

The show returns Sunday for the first of a two-part season premiere (9 p.m., Channel 19) and we find that Mulder is not a happy camper as these aliens are pricking, poking, cutting and probing the poor guy. (It’s another lesson in be careful what you ask for).

Scully has bouts with morning sickness, and it seems the entire FBI is looking for Mulder. Of course, Scully’s report that he was kidnapped by aliens is not an acceptable explanation for her superiors.

So begins the eighth season of ”The X-Files,” in what just might be its last. David Duchovny will appear in 11 of 20 episodes, but mostly in cameo roles. He agreed to come back in a limited role as part of a settlement of his lawsuit last year against 20th Century Fox. He filed the suit because re runs were being sold to a Fox sister network. (It was a royalty issue that actually foreshadows the major dispute that could lead to an actors’ strike next spring.)

This is also the last year of the network’s contract with the show’s creator and executive producer, Chris Carter. But Carter said he wasn’t approaching this as the final sea son. ”If it ever feels like it’s running out of steam, or people don’t want to see it, or no one wants to do it, I think that’s the time to pack it in.”

Carter did say that if this turns out to be the last year, he would likely write a finale that offers fans some sort of closure. As Carter put it, ”It would be nice to come to some sort of a conclusion, but my fear is that when you have a show about the unexplained-unexplainable and the unknown, to actually try to explain any of that is kind of ridiculous.”

But judging from the premiere, ”The X-Files” has plenty of life in it. Scully gets a new FBI partner who is in charge of leading the Mulder search, John Doggett (Robert Patrick). Doggett will assume Scully’s former role as the designated skeptic. After all, Scully is now a believer, having come face-to-face with a space ship.

Without giving any secrets away, Mulder is a presence in the season opener, but it’s really a show about exploring Scully’s new relationship with Doggett. And it’s an episode that lets Gillian Anderson reveal much more emotional vulnerability and depth to her character than we have seen previously in the series.

The premiere features some of her best acting yet, as she worries about Mulder and her pregnancy and deals with her new FBI bosses. Fans probably won’t be disappointed that Scully will have a new partner, as Mulder is off getting tortured by the aliens. At least that’s the way Carter sees it, explaining that he wanted to actually use Duchovny’s reduced role in the series to breathe new life into it.

”David and Gillian are the reason for the show’s great success. But that doesn’t mean you can’t threaten the paradigm. You can’t threaten the model, the relationship.”

Then there’s that little subplot about Scully’s pregnancy, never explained last season, and not really explained in the opening two parts. Some fans speculate that Mulder is the father. We did see them exchange that New Year’s Eve smooch last season. And then, it’s possible the aliens did it. (She was herself abducted a few seasons back.) And, as you will see in the opening show, a new story twist is introduced about mixing alien with human genes. Carter is not revealing any secrets, except to say Scully’s pregnancy is for real.

”I would never assume anything on ”The X-Files,” and anything can happen. But I’ll tell you. I think that would be a big cheat if it was false-positive or a phony pregnancy.”

Carter said clues are being dropped into the season’s first few episodes about the reasons behind the pregnancy. It will probably be the February sweeps before we get the full story.

Carter was sort of patting himself on the back when he met with reporters last summer, explaining that last season’s cliffhanger was a tough one to write. At the time, he had no idea if Duchovny, or the show, would return.

”I had to write the season finale, truly, honestly, not knowing whether or not we’d be back next year. So I had to write a sort of all-purpose season finale. It was difficult, but it was a wonderful exercise too. And it has set us up for a very interesting way to approach Season 8.”