Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Ongoing Story of Scully's Faith

This week, The X-Files is featured in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly. (The article does include a few spoilers for the new episodes, if you're trying to avoid that kind of thing.)

One tidbit in the article that particularly caught my attention is Chris Carter's mention that the fourth episode, written by him, will address Scully's faith:
Carter says that episode 4 will deal with one of Scully’s most distinctive character features: her religious faith, a source of conflict with Mulder. (Mulder can believe in many things, but he has serious doubts about God.)
This episode should air sometime in February (possible the 8th). It will be interesting to see where Carter takes her faith journey, since Scully clearly had some angst in I Want to Believe.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Discussion Series: June 28-July 12


For those in the Portland (Ore.) area, you are invited to join us at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Beaverton starting June 28 for a three-week series discussing religious themes in The X-Files. This is part of a larger summer series looking at the intersection of faith and culture in television shows. In June, we started with M*A*S*H. Later in the summer, we will also be discussing episodes of Grimm, The Simpsons, Blue Bloods, and Call the Midwife. Each class period is an hour, leaving time to view a full episode with about 15 minutes for discussion. (Church services are at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 a.m. The adult education classes meet at the same time as the 9:45 and 11:00 services. Typically the same material is repeated during each hour, but for The X-Files we will discuss two different episodes on July 5 and 12.)

When: June 28, July 5, July 12 @ 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. (see below for episode schedule)

Where: St. Matthew Lutheran Church
            Fireside Room (upper parking lot, west entrance)
            10390 SW Canyon Rd
            Beaverton, OR, 97005
            http://www.smlcfamily.org

Schedule:

June 28 @ 9:45 and 11:00: “Revelations” (3x11)
July 5 @ 9:45: “Signs & Wonders” (7x09)
July 5 @ 11:00: “Miracle Man” (1x17)
July 12 @ 9:45: “Improbable” (9x14)
July 12 @ 11:00: “All Souls” (5x17)

Ahead of each viewing, I will be posting here episode reviews with discussion questions for the episodes that week. Later in the summer I will also post reviews for an additional four episodes and the second movie, yielding a “top ten religious episodes” list. The review for "Revelations" is now available.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Countdown Begins...

FOX has announced the airdate for the new X-Files episodes:
The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.
Filming began this last week in Vancouver, and Twitter is all abuzz with photos, (mis?)information, and general excitement. X-Files News has a handy countdown if you want to know how many days (hours, minutes, and seconds) you have left to rewatch the series. 

Pull up a seat, turn down the lights, and get ready for some new episodes!



The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history. - See more at: http://www.fox.com/article/fox-announces-new-primetime-series-for-2015-2016-season#sthash.HzOSQ2OM.dpuf
The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history. - See more at: http://www.fox.com/article/fox-announces-new-primetime-series-for-2015-2016-season#sthash.HzOSQ2OM.dpuf
The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history. - See more at: http://www.fox.com/article/fox-announces-new-primetime-series-for-2015-2016-season#sthash.HzOSQ2OM.dpuf
The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history. - See more at: http://www.fox.com/article/fox-announces-new-primetime-series-for-2015-2016-season#sthash.HzOSQ2OM.dpuf

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Believe! The X-Files Is Back!

There has been some buzz in recent weeks about the possibility of The X-Files returning for a limited run on television, and the buzz has now become reality!

http://www.fox.com/the-x-files/thexfiles

Thirteen years after the original series run, FOX has ordered the next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES, a thrilling, six-episode event series which will be helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson re-inhabiting their roles as iconic FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

The announcement was made today by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group and Chris Carter, creator and executive producer of THE X-FILES. Production on THE X-FILES event series is set to begin in summer 2015. Further details remain under wraps and will be announced at a later date.

“I think of it as a 13-year commercial break,” said Carter. “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

“We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of THE X-FILES – one of the most rewarding creative experiences of our careers – and we couldn’t be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again,” remarked Newman and Walden. “THE X-FILES was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture – yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning. Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as THE X-FILES, and we’re ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they’ve been waiting for.”
THE X-FILES originally premiered in September 1993.  Over the course of its nine-season run, the influential series went from breakout sci-fi favorite to massive global hit, and became one of the most successful television dramas of all time. The show, which earned 16 Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes and a Peabody Award, follows FBI special agents Scully (Anderson) and Mulder (Duchovny) as they investigate unexplained cases – “X-Files” – for which the only answers involve paranormal phenomena.

Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ten Thirteen Productions, THE X-FILES is created and executive-produced by Chris Carter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Comics and Comic Con

Twenty years later, and still going strong...

Last week marked two events in the X-Files world. First, the second issue of the new X-Files comic was released (which I will discuss more below). Second, there were two panels at Comic Con in San Diego featuring the X-Files. One was a reunion of writers, creator Chris Carter, and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny to mark the 20th anniversary of the X-Files' debut on television. The other panel focused on the comic books and featured Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson as well as comic writer Joe Harris.

Chris Carter has often been asked about the spiritual and religious dimensions of the show, and one of the questions at the reunion panel brought up this theme. While Chris's answer was nothing that hasn't been said before, I thought I would include his answer here in honor of our theme of faith and belief.

One of the questions posed by an audience member is why, by means of Scully’s spirituality, Chris Carter chose to weave a religious thread into a series about extraterrestrials. Chris replied, "It was a natural for me, because she was a scientist, but that made her character a sort of, slightly one-dimensional character, and if she had a religious upbringing, it was always tearing at her that she believed in something that was by virtue sort of irrational. So, she had these two warring sides of her character." I think this is a nice reminder of the complexity of human nature, reflecting a tension between evidence and belief that was always at the heart of the show.

Here are some links to videos of the two panels and an article about the reunion:


The panel on the comic book series does include some spoilers, including information about some returning characters in issue #2 (their return is no surprise once you've seen the cover). This issue, "Believers, Part 2," continues the story line of the first issue, and with much left to be revealed about Scully's current whereabouts and who is responsible for the events surrounding her adventures. The continuing mysteries include a miraculous healing, symbols written in the snow, someone named "Deacon," and a reference to the hooded figures as the "acolytes." But much more remains to be revealed. The next issue should be out next month.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Season 10!

Volume 1 of the new X-Files comic series was released this week. The interesting thing about this series is that it is billed as “Season 10” and intends to pick up roughly where the second movie, I Want to Believe, left off. Since the comic series is broken up into multiple continuous parts (the first one is part one of five), and thus this first one ends in a cliffhanger, I won’t attempt to offer a full review of it right now. However, it is worth highlighting certain aspects of the new story.

(For those who have not read the story yet, the comments below may contain minor spoilers.)

This first episode is titled “Believers.” Who the believers are or what they believe in is not yet clear from part 1, but there are some mysterious, hooded figures who are reminiscent of a cult or a Dan Brown novel. Scully’s cross necklace features prominently on the first page, even before we clearly see her face. Mulder apparently has been busy at work on his memoir, appropriately entitled, “I Want to Believe” (his poster can be seen in the background in his office). Thus, the two main symbols of belief on the show make a pronounced appearance.

There is also a secondary theme of magic. Mulder and Scully’s new undercover last name is a reference to Mulder’s favorite childhood show, The Magician. He references this shortly after making a baseball apparently disappear while he is talking to some kids. He later tosses the ball to Skinner, who looks at it on his way out the door, saying to himself, “The Magician.” This may not have any importance beyond this short reference to Mulder’s childhood and his “spooky” nature, but magic itself relies on belief, since the magic is only as real as the observer believes it to be.

So far, in this comic series the theme of belief is no more emphasized than it was in the television series, but it is also significant that this theme in particular was chosen to be highlighted in a continuation of the X-Files story line. What happens next in the story remains to be seen...

The next part is due out in July.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Greatest of These Is Love

Since the stores are convinced it's already Valentine's Day, a new snippet, from chapter 4, "Love," seems appropriate:

What Mulder and Scully come to represent, then, is not merely what each gender contributes to the other, but what other people contribute to our lives to make up for our own weaknesses. Where there is potential for conflict, through our oppositions and our differences, balance and completion can arise instead. While each of us has a divine spark within and the image of God imprinted on us, only by combining the best of humanity—all of humanity—can we together represent God’s character. Nothing illustrates this better than love. God is love, but love cannot exist in isolation. Love requires the presence of another. We must love each other in order to love at all. (p. 120)