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The X-Files


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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2007, 03:55:56 am »

Season 4 (1996-1997)

The next season began with The X-Files' highest ratings success to that point, with "Herrenvolk".[4] The season premiere introduced several new elements to the conspiracy: "killer bees" designed to unleash smallpox, clones and alien hybrids, United Nations Special Representative Marita Covarrubias (played by Laurie Holden), and the removal of a previous important character. Covarrubias became an informer to Mulder and Scully in several episodes in the season, such as "Teliko" and "Unrequited." However it was the horror episode "Home," signaling the return of Morgan and Wong as writers after their canceled Space: Above and Beyond, that was most noticed. "Home" told the story of an inbred family of murderers in rural Pennsylvania, with references to The Andy Griffith Show and grisly violence contrasted with calm, becoming a hit with many fans ("X-Philes") and dividing others.[69] FOX's Standards and Practices department granted it a rare TV-MA "Parental Advisory" rating and refused to ever air it again,[70] though the episode later went into syndication.

Two major changes occurred behind the scenes in the autumn of 1996, during the early part of the fourth season. Chris Carter's new series Millennium, also produced in Vancouver, debuted on Friday nights. As a result, The X-Files was moved from Friday night to Sunday, seen as a key to better ratings success, although Carter was initially wary[71] and the decision was controversial with the show's audience.[72] The first episode to air in the new time period was "Unruhe", written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Rob Bowman. It was one of the series' darkest episodes, dealing with a man (played by Pruitt Taylor Vince) who lobotomizes women and can project his fantasies in "thought photography". Gilligan also wrote "Paper Hearts", an emotional episode for Mulder, twisting his memories of his sister's disappearance with a case involving an unrepentant child killer.

Wong and Morgan contributed their own, possibly non-canon addition to the mythology,[73] "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man", which referenced Shakespearian history, tied The X-Files to real life conspiracy theories about the JFK and MLK assassinations and was the first episode in which neither Mulder or Scully appears on screen (except in flashback). The death of Lone Gunmen member Frohike was originally going to be in the episode, before Carter nixed the idea, but the scene was actually shot by director James Wong.[73] Chris Owens, later to play other roles for the show, first appeared in this episode as the young CSM. The action-oriented "Tunguska" and "Terma" were the more traditional mythology episodes for the autumn sweeps period, sending Mulder and Krycek to a Russian gulag and involving the black oil and the Syndicate closely. X-Files ratings by the middle of the fourth season were as high as they had ever been,[4] and by autumn 1996 it was the FOX network's most popular show.[13]

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