The X-Files: Chris Carter on the show’s appeal -it’s all about the stories


In a recent interview with Buddy TV, creator Chris Carter dishes on the everlasting appeal of his show. The truth is out there and it’s in the stories!

“Writing is a little athletic for me. I get worked up a little bit when I do it.” – Chris Carter

Unlocking the Appeal

The X-Files have been around since 1993. In 2018, they will celebrate 25 years of storytelling. Recently, Buddy TV sat down with the creator of the iconic show, Chris Carter. He gives his take on the enduring appeal of his series and why people continue to tune in.

When a show has been around for a lengthy amount of time, it is difficult to find new and interesting situations for the characters. That is why you see so many tired productions, “Jumping the Shark.”

Familiarity is comforting for television viewers. They like to know what to expect but a steady diet of it can be tedious. Carter and his writing staff have always been able to switch things up. The X-Files provide their writers with a variety of ways to generate new stories from the mythological arc to standalone episodes.

It is not surprising that Carter’s response to the question of why his show has enduring appeal revolved not only around Mulder and Scully’s relationship but in the way that their stories are told.

“There are lots of tonal shifts. It’s not one thing all the time. There can be comedy episodes, thriller episodes, scary episodes what we call the “Monster of the Week” episodes. The X-Files has always been a variety of things. It has been one of its best features.”

Another thing that keeps the series fans interested is that the writing always manages to infuse current events in with the storylines. As Carter states, “We live in very interesting times, technologically, politically and socially.” He also went on to point out that those elements can be found within the “first five episodes.”

It’s Tricky

While it may seem easy for the writers to have a plethora of subject matter at their disposal, it is a fine line that they must walk. In Carter’s words, “It’s a trick. The X-Files is known as a show that has a mythology.”

Carter continues, “The audience has always gone with us from one thing to the other, and we’re working harder to make those transitions seamless now. Whereas in the original series run, we’d do a mythology episode right into a comedy one.”

More from Horror on TV

Assembling a cohesive team of writers is as important as casting the proper actors in roles. Each writer has his or her own unique style or voice. The X-Files was fortunate that they had quite a few talented writers on staff.

In the original series, Vince Gilligan was one of the scribes that excelled at writing episodes featuring unique villains such as Pusher. This character was a dying man who through the power of his mind influenced people to harm themselves or others.

He was also responsible for some of my favorite episodes that were steeped in the mythology, such as Christmas Carol and Emily. Both deal with Scully being the mother of a seemingly alien-human hybrid child. I can honestly say; these two stories were heartbreaking.

Gilligan went on to be the showrunner for the hugely successful AMC series, Breaking Bad as well as its spin-off, Better Call Saul. Unfortunately, due to his schedule, he wasn’t able to rejoin the X-Files staff.

This season we see Darin Morgan returning as well as James Wong and Darin’s brother Glen. Frank Spotnitz according to Carter, “lives in France.” He went on to say, “I tried to get the band back together but some of them are playing in other bands now.”

New Blood

This year, there are some new writers onboard. One of them has been a long-term employee with the show for seventeen years getting his first shot at penning a script. Glen Morgan’s wife along with her writing partner will also be contributing as well.

Interestingly enough, the X-Files has never had a traditional writers room. Which isn’t surprising because it is an unconventional show. This is how Carter’s staff operates. Writers present their story to the room. Then they go off to write the episode.

After the script is completed, the routine is to come back to the room and pick it apart. From a writing perspective, this is pure freedom to let a story develop without interference. This is probably why the X-Files has always had top notch and compelling episodes.

Season 11 of the X-Files premieres on January 3, 2018 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Next: The X-Files: Chris Carter gives his take on the secret UFO program

Do you agree that the writing is why the X-Files have an enduring appeal? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you!