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The X-Files

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Jennifer O'Dell
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« on: July 23, 2007, 03:30:51 am »


The X-Files first aired on September 10, 1993, and ended on May 19, 2002. The show was one of the American FOX network's first major hits, and its main characters and slogans (e.g. "The Truth Is Out There," "Trust No One," "I Want to Believe") became pop culture touchstones. The X-Files is seen as a defining series of the 1990s, coinciding with the era's widespread mistrust of governments, interest in conspiracy theories and spirituality, and the belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life.

In the series, FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are tasked with investigating the "X-Files": marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder plays the role of the "believer," having faith in the existence of aliens and the paranormal, while Scully is a skeptic, initially assigned by her departmental superiors to debunk Mulder's unconventional work.

The show's popularity peaked in the mid-to-late '90s, inspiring an international hit movie in 1998. In the last two seasons, Anderson became the star as Duchovny appeared rarely, and new central characters were introduced: FBI Agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). At the time of its final episode The X-Files was the longest running sci-fi show ever on American TV, a title since lost to cable's Stargate SG-1. The show was declared by TV Guide to be the second greatest cult television show[5] and the 37th best TV show of all time
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2007, 03:33:32 am »



Some episodes centered on Mulder and Scully's boss at the FBI, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi).



...while others centered around The Lone Gunmen, a trio of conspiracy theorists who eventually merited their own spinoff.

California native Chris Carter, who had previously met with limited success writing for television, was given the opportunity to produce new shows for the struggling FOX network in the early 1990s. Tired of the comedies he had been working on,[13] inspired by a report that 3.7 million Americans may have been abducted by aliens,[14] and recalling memories of Watergate and '70s horror show Kolchak: The Night Stalker,[15] Carter came up with the idea for The X-Files and wrote the pilot episode himself in 1992. He initially struggled over the untested concept — executives wanted a love interest for Scully — and casting. The network wanted either a more established or a "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier"[16] actress for Scully than the 24-year-old Gillian Anderson, a theater veteran with minor film experience, whom Carter felt was the only choice after auditions.[17][18] Nevertheless, the pilot with both Anderson and David Duchovny was successfully shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in early 1993, and the show was picked up for the Friday night 9:00PM slot on the American fall TV schedule. Carter started a new company called Ten Thirteen Productions, named after his October 13th birthday, to oversee The X-Files.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2007, 03:35:39 am by Jennifer O'Dell » Report Spam   Logged
Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2007, 03:35:04 am »

Carter's idea was to present FBI agents investigating extraterrestrials and paranormal events, but Carter also wanted to deal directly with the characters' beliefs. Carter said, "I think of myself as a non-religious person looking for religious experience, so I think that's what the characters are sort of doing too."[19] Dana Scully, in addition to being the scientific "skeptic" and a trained medical doctor, was open to the Catholic faith in which she was raised; while Fox Mulder, in addition to being an Oxford-educated psychologist and renowned criminal profiler, was the "believer" in space aliens, derisively nicknamed "Spooky" by his colleagues. Carter said, "Scully's point of view is the point of view of the show. And so the show has to be built on a solid foundation of science, in order to have Mulder take a flight from it... If the science is really good, Scully's got a valid point of view... And Mulder has to then convince her that she's got to throw her arguments out, she's got to accept the unacceptable. And there is the conflict."[20] Carter also felt Scully's role as the more rational partner and Mulder's reliance on guesses and intuition subverted the gender roles usually seen on television.[11]

In the pilot episode, Scully is assigned to the X-Files as Mulder's partner, in order to serve as a scientific check on Mulder's belief in the paranormal. In later episodes, it becomes apparent that she was actually set up in that role so that the government conspirators could contain the implications of Mulder's work, which they viewed as a danger to their devious plans. Notably, the powerful shadow government official known only as the Cigarette Smoking Man, or "Cancer Man", appears without any spoken lines in the first and last scenes of the pilot episode — although at that point his ongoing importance to the series had not yet been established.[21] The "unresolved sexual tension" between Mulder and Scully was also a central underlying theme from the beginning, although they were each given other brief romantic interests in future episodes. Carter thought the show should be "plot-driven," and was quoted as saying, "I didn't want the relationship to come before the cases."[22] For example, throughout the series, Mulder and Scully, with rare exception, refer to each other in a professional manner by using each others' last names, rather than calling each other by their first names, which might seem more personal.

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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2007, 03:36:17 am »


Mulder in his basement office, now on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2007, 03:37:17 am »

Carter's superior at Fox, Peter Roth, brought on more experienced staff members from the start, many of whom had previously worked with him at Stephen J. Cannell's production company.[23] Two of the most highly-regarded writers were Glen Morgan and James Wong. Their contributions to the first two seasons, such as the episode "Beyond the Sea," were particularly popular among fans,[24] television critics,[25] the show's actors, and even Carter himself.[26] Morgan and Wong also returned for the first half of the fourth season. Prior to their work on The X-Files, Wong and Morgan had worked extensively with David Nutter, Rob Bowman, and Kim Manners on cop dramas such as The Commish and 21 Jump Street. Nutter, Bowman and Manners all became frequent X-Files directors, with Nutter working on many of the darker episodes in the first three seasons. The duo of Wong and Morgan also had an important role in hiring several supporting actors on the show, as well as John Bartley, the cinematographer who gave The X-Files its early dark atmospheric look, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1996.[27] Bartley left after the third season and was replaced by directors of photography Ron Stannett, Jon Joffin and ultimately Joel Ransom until the end of the fifth season.

The show, which made a big move to California in its sixth season, was originally going to be filmed there in the first place. Carter said, "we originally intended to film the pilot in Los Angeles. When we couldn't find a good forest, we made a quick decision to come to Vancouver. As it turned out, it was three weeks that turned into five years. The benefits of being in Vancouver were tremendous."[28] The temperate rainforest climate of Vancouver itself was also seen as crucial to The X-Files, allowing directors to create a mysterious, foggy aura,[29] seen as somewhat similar to that of then-recent TV hit Twin Peaks. Responsibility for casting the show fell to Randy Stone,[30] who had first recommended both leads to Carter, and to Rick Millikan, who predominately used local Canadian actors
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2007, 03:38:07 am »



Scene from the "Pilot," written by show creator Chris Carter. Initial episodes for The X-Files dealt with alien abduction.
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2007, 03:39:08 am »

Season 1 (1993-1994)

In the first two seasons, executive producer Carter and co-executive producers Morgan and Wong, along with other writers, helped to define the show's fledgling story arc.[24] The "mythology," as the producers called it, was initially established as a government plot to cover up anything pertaining to the existence of extraterrestrial life, and Mulder's attempts to discover the fate of his sister, Samantha. He believed that she had been abducted by aliens years prior, when Mulder was a child, which profoundly affected him and ignited his obsession with the paranormal. Carter himself wrote the show's second episode after the pilot, "Deep Throat," which was directed by Daniel Sackheim. It introduced a character named Deep Throat (played by Jerry Hardin), the first of several secret government informants who would at times help or hinder Mulder and Scully's investigations.

"Conduit," the first of many episodes to deal with Mulder's repressed memories of his sister's abduction, was written by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. Gordon became another key writer/producer in the show's first four years, also writing "Fallen Angel" and other episodes in the first season with Gansa. That early mythology episode centered on Mulder's futile efforts to discover a crashed UFO which was being covered up by the government. It also introduced UFO enthusiast and abduction victim Max Fenig, one of many idiosyncratic outsiders portrayed on the show, which helped attract an "intensely loyal" cult following[32] (see below). Fenig, played by Scott Bellis, returned for two episodes in the fourth season. Ironically, "Fallen Angel" also received the lowest Nielsen ratings of the first season. Another early and influential mythology effort, the Wong and Morgan-written episode "E.B.E." (for "extraterrestrial biological entity"), which saw Mulder and Scully tracking another crashed UFO, did almost as poorly; it was the fourth least-watched episode of the series overall until its final season.[4]

Carter and his writers were mostly left to their own devices because FOX was concentrating on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and other shows that they considered more commercially promising at the time. The producers still ran into early opposition on some key episodes, among them "Beyond the Sea",[24] "E.B.E.", and the popular "Ice".[33] According to Carter, "the issue of closure has been an ongoing dialogue with the network, because we've always resisted wrapping up each episode with a neat little bow at the end. You can't do that... because pretending to explain the unexplainable is ridiculous and our audience is too smart for that." Eventually FOX backed down and it was decided "X-File stories would not have forced plot resolutions, but would conclude with some emotional resolution."
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2007, 03:39:37 am »



Doug Hutchinson as Eugene Victor Tooms in "Squeeze," the first of many "Monster-of-the-week" episodes.

Morgan and Wong's early influence on X-Files mythology led to their introduction of popular secondary characters who would continue for years in episodes written by others, such as the Scully family - Dana's father William (Don S. Davis), mother Margaret (Sheila Larken) and sister Melissa (Melinda McGraw) - as well as conspiracy-buff trio The Lone Gunmen,[34] named after the Warren Commission's disputed theory on the John F. Kennedy assassination.

However, the duo's first episode, "Squeeze," was not a part of the mythology. The episode featured Eugene Victor Tooms, an elastic, liver-eating mutant serial-killer who emerged from hibernation every 30 years. After the first two episodes, the writing staff wanted to broaden the concept of The X-Files; executives had initially rejected Carter's idea for a series centered only around alien conspiracies, having already had one at the time, Sightings.[35] "Squeeze" became a template for the paranormal "Monster-of-the-Week" episodes that would be a mainstay of the series. Wong and Morgan followed it up later in the season with a direct sequel called "Tooms." "Tooms" was also the episode where the writers gave the Cigarette Smoking Man his first lines, and introduced FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), Mulder and Scully's boss, who became an important character throughout the series.
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2007, 03:41:29 am »

Early production issues

Initially, The X-Files was fighting for its life in the ratings, and as a result, there was no long-term plan in the beginning to guide its writers.[36] The only guideline provided by Carter was that the show should take place "within the realm of extreme possibility".[37] The show's first season thus featured numerous standalone stories involving monsters, and also diverse alien/government cover-ups, with no apparent connection to each other — such as the Arctic space worms in "Ice", and the conspiracy of genetically engineered twins in "Eve." Carter himself wrote "Space", a low-budget affair about the manifestation of an alien "ghost" in the NASA space shuttle program, which was subject to cost overruns and became the most expensive of the first season;[38] he later called it one of the worst hours ever produced for the show.[29]

According to Glen Morgan, the writers were inspired by a glowing New Yorker review noting the show's exploration of "suburban paranoia", and planned for more thematic unity in the second season: "the whole year was to be about the little green men that you and I create for ourselves... because there’re not nuclear missiles pointed at our heads, you can’t consolidate your fears there anymore."[33] However, the plan fell through quickly due to the pressure of the network TV schedule.

But by the end of the first season, Carter and his staff had come up with many of the general concepts of the mythology that would last throughout all nine seasons, whose outlines first appeared in Carter's Edgar Award-nominated season finale "The Erlenmeyer Flask", written in early 1994 before he knew whether the show was going to be canceled.[citation needed] In the episode, The X-Files are closed down and Mulder and Scully are to be reassigned. The finale was the first episode directed by R. W. Goodwin, a senior producer (and husband of Sheila Larken, who played Scully's mother on the show) who went on to direct every season opening and closing episode for the next four years.

The X-Files was picked up for a second season despite finishing 102nd out of the 118 shows in the U.S. Nielsen ratings.[39] It also received its first Emmy nod, for best title sequence. The electronic theme song in the sequence, featuring eerie whistling sounds, was by Mark Snow and became very well known (club versions of the theme song have reached the pop charts in France, the UK[40] and Australia, where a remix by Triple X became a number 2 hit in 1996[41]). Snow's music scores for each episode, often dark, synthesized[42] and ambient, were another distinctive aspect of The X-Files from its earliest years, as the show used more background music than typical of an hour long drama.[43] A soundtrack CD, The Truth and the Light, came out in 1996.

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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2007, 03:42:40 am »



Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin) was Mulder's first informant, an important character in the first season.

The show's mix of genres, the stressful schedule (24 or 25 episodes per season) and the shooting in different settings each week, required a large and experienced technical crew. At least 300 in Vancouver were under the supervision of producer Goodwin, who called The X-Files "the most difficult show on television" and "the equivalent of making a feature film every eight days".[44] The first year, budgets were at time as low as $1 million.[31] By 1998, its final year in Vancouver, the show cost $2.5 million per episode,[45] most of which was not the stars' salaries.[46] The longtime crew included producers Joseph Patrick Finn and Paul Rabwin, in charge of post-production; production designer and art director Graeme Murray, who won two Emmys for his work on the show; film editor Heather MacDougall, who worked on 51 episodes and won an Emmy for "Kill Switch"; Emmy-nominated editor Stephen Mark, who also edited the 1998 film; sound designer Thierry Couturier, who won two Emmys, and whose son says "I made this" over the Ten Thirteen company logo;[47] Mat Beck, visual effects supervisor (many were created on computer, unusual in early '90s TV) for 91 episodes[48] and also wrote the episode "Wetwired"; Emmy-nominated makeup artist Toby Lindala;[49] and props master Kenneth Hawryliw, who later co-wrote the episode "Trevor".
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2007, 03:43:48 am »



Flukeman in "The Host," played by future writer Darin Morgan under prosthetics. The episode, like several others, was inspired by classic sci-fi B-movies.


Season 2 (1994-1995)

As the series ended its first season, a problem had arisen for the producers: the impending pregnancy of Gillian Anderson, who played Dana Scully. Some network executives wanted the role recast, which Carter refused to do.[50] Another problem arose for Carter, who was unable to finish his planned season opening extravaganza. Morgan and Wong were asked to come up with a lower-key replacement,[24] but their "Little Green Men" was nevertheless the first episode to actually show an alien and got the show's best ratings thus-far (with a 19% audience share).[4] The early part of the second season solidified Mulder and Scully's close relationship, even as the two had been separated on drudgery assignments in different departments when the X-Files had been closed at the end of season one. Due to her pregnancy, Anderson was largely demobilized from active scenes with Duchovny, which matched her character's confinement to teaching medical students at Quantico. During early episodes of season two, Scully is typically pictured only in closeup, at a desk, or conducting autopsies—one of her usual roles on The X-Files due to her training as a medical doctor.

The beginning of the second season saw an increasingly frustrated and hopeless Mulder, having been reassigned at the FBI to tedious wiretaps. He also had his prior informant taken away and replaced by the far more reluctant and less friendly Mr. X (Steven Williams), who never fully revealed his true allegiances. Carter's script "The Host" somewhat symbolized Mulder's frustration and loss of hope. In the episode, he is given what he thinks is a dead-end assignment in Newark, New Jersey, literally sifting through sewage, which actually turns out to be an X-file: a giant mutant Flukeman who breeds in nuclear waste. Critics felt The X-Files of this period often consciously resembled classic B-movies in containing environmental and political morals,[51] as in Carter's earlier "Darkness Falls" (about ancient forest bugs who exact revenge on Pacific Northwest loggers), Morgan and Wong's "Blood" (dealing with mind control from electronic devices and pesticide spraying), and Howard Gordon's script for "Sleepless" (about Vietnam veterans who had been guinea pigs in a cruel government experiment in sleep deprivation). Notably, "Blood" was the first episode whose story credit went to Darin Morgan, the actor who had portrayed Flukeman and the brother of writer/producer Glen Morgan (of the Morgan and Wong writing team). "Sleepless" was the second X-Files episode directed by Rob Bowman, who would become one of the most prolific X-Files staff members behind the scenes, directing dozens of episodes as well as the 1998 feature film.


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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2007, 03:45:52 am »



Dana Scully in "One Breath." The episode was the conclusion of a story arc in the second season devised to deal with star Gillian Anderson's pregnancy.
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2007, 03:46:57 am »

"Sleepless" introduced Agent Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) as Mulder's new partner. Their partnership would last only into the next two episodes, "Duane Barry" and "Ascension," which proved crucial to the fate of the series. Searching for a solution to the now acute problem of Anderson's pregnancy, Carter and his writers decided to have her abducted by Duane Barry (Steve Railsback), himself a likely alien abductee, in the episode, "Duane Barry." The episode was both written and directed by Carter (his debut) and received several Emmy nominations the following year.[52]

Anderson did not appear at all in the episode "3", but mysteriously returned in Morgan and Wong's "One Breath" (directed by R. W. Goodwin), an episode which consistently scores among the highest in fan ratings.[53] Scully's abduction provoked an existential crisis in Mulder. Although the show left it up in the air for years as to who was directly responsible (aliens, the government, or some combination of both), the earlier episode "Sleepless" had foreshadowed the events with the Cigarette Smoking Man's declaration that "every problem has a solution" (referring to Scully). Scully was now seen to be firmly on Mulder's side in the larger conflict, regardless of her original role as a debunker and her continued skepticism towards the paranormal.

After Scully's recovery (and the birth of Anderson's daughter, Piper), Mulder and Scully returned to work on the re-opened X-Files, investigating cases ranging from Haitian zombies ("Fresh Bones") to animal abductions ("Fearful Symmetry") and exorcism ("The Calusari"). This period would see the show gain more mainstream appeal, often earning winning scores during its Friday night timeslot.[54] Its Nielsen ratings rose to their highest peaks thus-far with the occult-themed "Die Hand Die Verletzt" and the epic "Colony"/"End Game".[4] The latter was a two-part episode introducing the idea of colonization, the Alien Bounty Hunter, as well as the characters Bill (Peter Donat) and Teena (Rebecca Toolan) Mulder, Fox Mulder's parents.
"Die Hand Die Verletzt" was Morgan and Wong's final X-Files script until the fourth season, as they departed to start their own series Space: Above and Beyond, but at the same time there was new involvement behind the scenes. The episode also marked the X-Files directorial debut of Kim Manners, who would stay with the show until its end and direct the largest number of episodes of the series. On "Colony", star David Duchovny collaborated with Chris Carter on the story, the first of Duchovny's involvements in writing for the show. Frank Spotnitz, a new story editor brought on by Chris Carter, wrote "End Game", the second of the two-part episode; Spotnitz would be a producer and writer on The X-Files and other Ten Thirteen projects for years and had a key role in shaping the mythology. The middle of the second season also saw "Irresistible", an episode directed by David Nutter and written by Chris Carter, which Carter later credited as a blueprint for his even darker show Millennium.[34] This was the first non-paranormal episode of The X-Files, dealing with the trauma of investigating Donnie Pfaster, a "death fetishist" (so named instead of "necrophiliac" to get past the FOX censors).[55] A sequel, "Orison", was made in the seventh season.

During its second season, The X Files finished 64th out of 141 shows, a marked improvement from the first season. The ratings were not spectacular, but the series had attracted enough fans to be classified as a "cult hit," particularly by Fox standards. Most importantly it made great gains among the 18-to-49 age demographic sought by advertisers.[54][32] The show was chosen as Best Television Show of 1994 by Entertainment Weekly and named best drama by the Television Critics Association, and it received seven Emmy nominations, mostly in the technical categories, with one nomination for best drama series.[39] In 1995, The X-Files won a Golden Globe Award for best television drama, winning out over several more established series such as ER, Picket Fences and NYPD Blue.[56]

The last weeks of season two brought more changes, beginning what some saw as The X-Files' peak creative period.[57] The Edgar Award-nominated "Humbug," an unconventional standalone episode about a small town inhabited by circus sideshow performers, was the first script fully written by Darin Morgan. At the time it was also considered a risky experiment, as it was the first outright comedy episode. Gillian Anderson famously swallowed a real cricket in one ad-libbed scene.[58] Eventual senior writer Vince Gilligan also offered his first episode, the darker sci-fi "Soft Light", guest starring Tony Shalhoub as a remorseful physicist whose shadow kills people.

Season two ended in May 1995 with "Anasazi" (co-written by Carter with David Duchovny), which attracted widespread attention with its cliffhanger ending[54] and put the future of the mythology up in the air. In the episode, Mulder and Scully are contacted by a computer hacker who has gained access to the Majestic-12 documents. Now-free agent Alex Krycek also made his first reappearance since "Ascension". The episode began a three-part arc, the show's most ambitious mythology episodes thus-far, which extended into the third season and centering around Navajo former code talker, Albert Hosteen (Floyd Red Crow Westerman).[59] The show could not afford location filming, so a rock quarry in British Columbia was painted to match the desert hues of the American Southwest.[13] Outside the U.S., The X-Files was by now one of the most popular shows in the world,[57] and was being broadcast in 60 countries.


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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2007, 03:47:50 am »



The occult-themed "Die Hand Die Verletzt" was the final script for the show by popular writers James Wong and Glen Morgan, until their return in The X-Files' fourth season.
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2007, 03:49:22 am »

Season 3 (1995-1996)

Continuing from "Anasazi", "The Blessing Way" and "Paper Clip" opened the third season, bringing in the involvement of former Nazi scientists, formally introducing the leading conspiracy member Well-Manicured Man (John Neville), and containing revelations about both Mulder and Scully's families. Ratings-wise, "The Blessing Way" was the most successful X-Files episode thus far.[4]

The third season confirmed the existence of extraterrestrial life within the show[60] and suggested that a shadowy international consortium known as the Syndicate were conspiring with the aliens to colonize Earth. This would be achieved via use of the so-called black oil, introduced in the two-part "Piper Maru"/"Apocrypha." However, the season's other main mythology episodes, "Nisei" and "731", continued to call some of these conclusions into question. Chris Carter began to receive criticism for posing as many questions as answers in the mythology, while the mythology episodes were also praised for their increasingly Hollywood-like production values.[61] "Nisei" received Emmy Awards for its sound editing and mixing.
Season three was noted for its wide variety of "monster of the week" episodes. "Pusher", the second effort by writer Vince Gilligan, depicted the cold blooded Robert Patrick Modell, a man who could control people telepathically (a sequel, "Kitsunegari", came two years later in the fifth season). Simultaneously, the show continued to yield darker episodes, such as "The Walk" (a mysterious deadly force in a veterans hospital), "Oubliette" (a metaphysical connection between a recently kidnapped girl and another woman) and "Grotesque" (Mulder's descent into the world of a gargoyle-possessed killer, which received an Emmy for John Bartley's cinematography).

Behind the scenes, Darin Morgan continued his involvement with the show, becoming The X-Files' most critically acclaimed writer.[62] Despite intense perfectionism and having been unsatisfied with his well-received "Humbug",[63] Morgan managed to turn in three dark comedy episodes which were considered original for the show. The first of these, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," concerned a St. Paul insurance salesman (Peter Boyle) who could predict death. It won Emmys for best writing and guest actor Boyle, and comes in very high in fan polls of favorite episodes.[64] "War of the Coprophages" was Morgan's parody-tribute to H.G. Wells/Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, this time with an infestation of cockroaches driving a town to hysteria. It also mocked the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully by introducing the attractive female entomologist Dr. Bambi Berenbaum. A similar technique was also used in Chris Carter's own "Syzygy," only one week later, leading to what some viewers felt was a comedy overdose


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