The A.V. Club
Alex Gansa walks us through Homeland’s first season [Excerpt of Part 2 of 4]
[Original article in full here]
AVC: You worked on The X-Files, a network show that had some level of ambiguity for its first two seasons. And so many people from The X-Files, like you and Howard Gordon, Vince Gilligan, and John Shiban, moved into this cable area. What do you think that show taught you guys?
AG: I worked on The X-Files on staff for the first year. That’s actually when Howard and I broke up as partners, after that first year. I wrote some episodes in the second year with Howard. I knew Glen Morgan and Jim Wong really well. I knew Chris [Carter] really well, obviously. But I did not know Shiban; I did not know Vince, I did not know Darin Morgan. I don’t know John’s work as well as I know Vince’s and Darin’s, but I view those guys as outright geniuses. I won’t speak for Howard, but I struggled to write coherent, compelling episodes of television on The X-Files. And I like some of the episodes we did.
But Darin and Vince took it to a whole other level. Darin was able to make fun of the show while telling a compelling episode of television, which was outrageous. And Vince was in some other world. He was in some other zone. So I would just watch those episodes with my jaw in my lap. I think that Chris Carter had an incredible knack for picking writers, and I think that show afforded me a room to move as a writer. And the very nature, the very absurd nature, of Mulder and Scully’s investigative quest was so ridiculous that it just gave everybody freedom. But there was still a mystery to solve. I felt that the mythology episodes were always the weakest. It was always the standalone episodes that riveted me. The mythology episodes were always more ambiguous.