Aliens, government conspiracies, viruses, mutants, the X files had it all. Although it originally began as a “monster of the week” type show, over it’s 9 seasons it developed a very strong ongoing storyline of a government trying to conceal it’s associations with extraterrestrial beings and the resulting scientific experiments and cover-ups. It was something that was just real enough for people to relate to, but was way too far-fetched to ever truly be frightening. It was just a damn good sci-fi show with memorable characters and the best theme-song in the history of theme-songs. Seriously, don’t try to argue this point, because it isn’t a question. Although it was a show with forward thinking ideas regarding the future of scientific progress and the dangers they would pose in a modern world, for the most part things were still so very stuck in the 90s.
I mean check out those shoulderpads, does it get any more 90s than that?
I recently went back and started watching the show again from episode 1 to celebrate the upcoming new season that is being released in a few days. I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me that ridiculously nerdy it is to try to watch them all again but whatever, I’m a fanboy. This was all well and good, but a funny thing happened as I got farther into the show. Somewhere around season 3, right when the story starts shifting to the long term arc about Mulder and the alien conspiracy, the show started losing some of that “oh this is funny because it’s so out there” flavor and started to become a little bit more real. Real in a kind of scary sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that our government is in cahoots with an alien overlord and that the FBI is caught in the crossfire of a coverup, it was more the overall tone of the show. The way it treated it’s characters and the mistrust that is at play all the time. The truth of the matter is that many of the things that seemed to be purely tension builders back in the day are no longer outside the realm of possibility. Let me preface this next part by saying I am not trying to get political or voice my opinions in one way or another, I am just going to be pointing out certain situational similarities that I think ring more true today than they did during the show’s original run.
The first most glaring thing is the way that as Mulder tries harder and harder to bring all of the coverups and illegal goings-on to the attention to the rest of the FBI, he is gradually pushed out and persecuted to the point of actually being labeled an enemy of the state and having to flee from the very government that he works for. It is basically the Edward Snowden story with a sci-fi twist. Of course they aren’t exactly the same but they are close enough that you could have slipped Snowden’s story into the show without missing a beat. There was also the fact that time and again, the higher up supervisors in the show were constantly portrayed as hateful, fear mongering men who were basically just a cartoon charicature of whatever the general population’s fears were for that given episode. This was actually the thing that was hardest to swallow about the show even when I was a teen. I would always find myself thinking how the hell would someone like that ever actually be able to move into a position of power? Enter one Donald Trump. Even more so than the Snowden thing, if you were to take him and insert him ANYWHERE in the show as the smarmy I-don’t-care-what-evidence-you-have-Mulder-this-is-what-I-think-and-I’m-in-power-so-suck-it guy you would not even notice a difference. And Trump isn’t even just trying to be the head of a government agency, he is dangerously close to being the head of the freakin country. Holy shit. I can’t believe I just typed that. On top of it all is the fact that if you were to tell me tomorrow that the government had been covering up some crazy dangerous technology or disease that had accidentally gotten out and caused the destruction of a small town, I genuinely don’t even think I would bat an eye. That’s some scary shit right there. This is all taking place in between continuous threats from individuals and groups throughout the entire show to use things such as mutations, viruses, new technologies to wreak havoc and hurt innocent people in the name of various personal vendetta’s and causes. Considering the number of terrorist attacks we have seen take place in the last decade and the way we are constantly inundated with new threats from some group or another, this is probably the most unnerving of all. Now that’s not to say that this is something that is unique to the X-Files as it is a story device for countless TV shows but still, it just seems alot less far-fetched this time around than it did in the past.
Hey maybe I am just looking too far into it. Maybe this isn’t a product of the times so much as it is me growing up and losing some of my childish nature. That certainly is a factor, but really even as I am typing this out I can’t help but think that the world is just in fact becoming a crazier place. I am still totally psyched for the new season of the show, but I can’t help but think that this time around the of the fiction will have lost some of its luster.