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Archive for October, 2001

The Hollywood Reporter: TV Talk

The Hollywood Reporter
TV Talk

It has become an annual ritual: “The X-Files” wraps its season with a cliffhanger on- and offscreen. Will the show return for another season? That drama has been as engaging as the onscreen pursuit for the truth that everyone knows by now is out there.

Now the show’s creator, Chris Carter, who renewed his vows with 20th Century Fox TV for another season in a midnight call to Fox TV Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow in July, and the rest of the “X-Files” gang are back and ready to re invent the long-running series.

The trademark “X-Files” humor also is set for a comeback, and there will be new faces, including Cary Elwes and Annabeth Gish, who is starting her first season as a regular. “There are new characters who are sharing the stage with the old characters and, by necessity, they’re driving the show in new directions,” executive producer Frank Spotnitz said of the upcoming season, set to launch Nov. 4. “So it’s definitely the ‘X-Files’ television series that we’ve all come to know so well over the past eight years, but it feels very fresh and different.”

Agent Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) baby, whose birth was the culmination of the series’ cliff hanger season finale in May, will be central to the plot this year.

“There’s something afoot, and it involves what could be looked at as a new conspiracy, but one far different from the one that Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) pursued all those years,” Carter said.

While they’re all energized for the new season, the show’s creative team feels a little disappointed that the series spinoff, “The Lone Gunmen,” didn’t come back. On the bright side, though, it is a break from recent years when they had to split their time between “X-Files” and another show. First it was “Millennium,” then the short-lived “Harsh Realm” and, earlier this year, “Gunmen.”

“Now that we’re just doing ‘The X-Files’ again, it feels like a luxury to be able to concentrate solely on one series, and it’s a pleasure to focus exclusively,” Spotnitz said.

This fall, the Lone Gunmen trio will be back on “X-Files,” as will goofy humor. “Last year we were establishing Robert (Patrick)’s character, so we didn’t do any lighthearted episodes like we’ve been known to do over the previous seven years of the show,” Carter said. “This year, I think you will see a number of those.”

Of the three leads this season _ Anderson, Patrick and Gish _ only Anderson is an original cast member, and she has said she will leave at the end of the season.

Carter and Spotnitz believe they “still (have) plenty of stories left to tell,” even without the original leads.

“I never imagined telling these stories without David to a point, and now I have to imagine telling them without Gillian, but I think that it’s possible,” Carter said.

Rebuilding the show around new central characters could give the long-running series a new lease on life, Spotnitz said. “Strictly creatively, we all feel like (the show) has new life and could go on indefinitely,” he said.

But Carter is not that certain about his future on the show.

“This has already been a decade of my life because it took a year to take (‘X-Files’) off the ground,” Carter said. “You have to think about how you want to spend your creative energy.”

Cinescape: Fall TV Preview: The X-Files

Fall TV Preview: The X-Files

[typed by Megan]

High Concept: FBI agents searching for intelligent life in the universe also find conspiracies, monsters and big ratings.

Major Players: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish.

Why Should You Watch: With Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Anderson) finally consummating their relationship (with a kiss) at the end of last season, the originator of the “X-Files” will be suspiciously absent, leaving Scully to contend with her new baby (and its secrets) all by herself. How producers handle Mulder’s absence will be an amazing sleight of hand trick, but seeing if new partners Doggett and Reyes click will be what most X-Fans will be watching.

Reasons To Be Concerned: It’s season nine – and no Mulder. The show’s mythology was tired in season five and there are very few adversaries left from the monster gene pool to exploit. Doggett revitalized the show last season while we waited for Mulder to return, but will Gish do the same?

Buzz-O-Meter: 5 (out of 10)

It was sealed with a kiss and now he’s gone…again. At the end of The X-Files’ eighth season, Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) and Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) admitted to each other the “truth” that was out there all along – their love for each other. And with that, X-fans finally got what they wanted – confirmation that indeed Mulder and Scully did have something going on.

If the series ended on that note, it would have been a fitting conclusion to one of the TV’s most challenging and interesting genre television shows. Yet, FOX wanted another season. They got their wish, but not without a price – sans Duchovny. Now, the show is going to have to find a suitable way of resolving that kiss without making Mulder’s absence seem like he’s a deadbeat sperm-donating dad.

“I care how they resolve Mulder kissing and running [away],” Duchovny admitted to Cinescape, while promoting his summer feature Evolution.

Of course, the writing staff is well aware of this dilemma, but executive producer John Shiban feels they’ve come up with an adequate solution.

“I think we all share David’s feeling about the character,” says Shiban. “We have come up with a way for Mulder to still be at the heart of the show and be absent. If he does the movies, it works. If he comes back for a cameo, it works, though right now the latter is not going to happen, but you never know. We came up with a beautiful way that fits with the mythology that has already been established to still have Mulder be in Scully’s heart, be the father of her child and not be present. He will still be the center of The X-Files.”

Whereas last year, the subtext of the show focused on “the search for Mulder,” this year the major subplot will be “what’s up with Scully’s baby,” explains Shiban.

“We intend to use Scully in ever episode in some very interesting ways,” says Shiban. “She has been left with a big question: ‘What is with my baby? Why did the aliens want it and then let it go?’ Her relationship with Mulder is still central to the show – if not there in person, he’ll be there in spirit. Still, this new world for Scully – motherhood – is very important.”

The season ender also paired up Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick) with recurring character Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) the new “head” of the X-Files. Predictably, Gish joins this season as a full-fledged cast member.

“Agent Reyes is very important next year, and so is Agent Doggett,” says Shiban. “We will get into Doggett’s past with his son and what happened with that.”

Making an appearance in a key arc next season will be Xena star Lucy Lawless, whose character has yet to be revealed, and Shiban says you should never count out the Cigarette Smoking Man for making an appearance despite being dead.