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Archive for August, 1993

Chicago Sun-Times: It's FBI vs. UFOs

Chicago Sun-Times
It’s FBI vs. UFOs
Lon Grahnke

X marks the spots where two fictional FBI agents will uncover evidence of extra-terrestrial interlopers and other paranormal phenomena in a Fox drama series, premiering Sept. 10.

“Inspired by actual documented accounts” from various sources, “The X-Files” will offer a tantalizing sitcom alternative from 8 to 9 p.m. Fridays on WFLD-Channel 32. “Television needs a good, scary, weekly show,” said writer-producer Chris Carter, who created “The X-Files” for Fox. “That’s what I want to do. We’re going to be scary and entertaining. “I’m frightened by the unknown. By technology, genetic engineering and their consequences. By things that can take place in the realm of extreme possibility,” said Carter, phoning from his Canadian production office in Vancouver, British Columbia. A former Disney screenwriter, Carter describes himself as a skeptic on the subjects of flying saucers and invaders from Mars.

“The FBI investigators in ‘The X-Files’ are extremely intelligent scientists,” Carter said. “We’re playing it as close to reality as we can. You can find an ‘X-File’ story every day in the newspaper. The agents will reveal hoaxes. They also will encounter things that can’t be explained, where progressive science meets the spirit world.”

David Duchovny from Showtime’s “Red Shoe Diaries” stars as unorthodox agent Fox “Spooky” Mulder, who describes himself as “the FBI’s most unwanted.” An Oxford-educated psychologist known as an expert on serial killers and the occult, Mulder earned a reputation as the best analyst in the bureau’s violent-crimes section – until he started chasing UFOs. “The laws of physics rarely seem to apply” when working on cases from the X-Files, he tells his new partner.

Gillian Anderson as agent Dana Scully is the intellectual equal of Duchovny’s Mulder. A medical doctor with a degree in physics, she was recruited by the FBI to teach at its academy. Now the extremely logical Scully is assigned to work with Mulder and report on his activities. Will she debunk the X-Files project? “We trust you’ll make the proper scientific analysis,” says Scully’s boss, sending her to spy on “Spooky.”

“David and Gillian are very bright,” Carter said. “They truly are the characters. Their relationship is cerebral and subtly sexy. Fox and Dana remind me of John Steed and Emma Peel in ‘The Avengers.’ ”

Although characters are murdered in “The X-Files,” Carter promises to avoid excessive gore. “There is no gunfire in the first six episodes,” he said. “I’m really concerned about violence in our society. There’s too much violence on television. Producers should be responsible, to a point, while telling an exciting story. Like ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ we’ll show the results of violence, not the act.”

Fond memories of ABC’s “The Night Stalker,” a 1974-75 series with Darren McGavin as a reporter tracking vampires and werewolves, gave Carter a “leaping-off point” when he started developing “The X-Files” last year. “That was a good, scary show,” he said. “And it aired on Friday nights, too.”

But “The Night Stalker” vanished after one season. Fox has ordered 13 episodes of “The X-Files.” In its most-unwanted time slot, it could be an ex-series by December.

“I’d rather air right after ‘The Simpsons,’ ” Carter said. “But I know Fox would never put me there.”