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Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


NikkolasKing posted:

I'm told the X-Files was on the cusp of more modern television writing and that the kind of consistent character development I want from the show was actually rare or unheard of before the X-Files. The X-Files in a lot of ways started more focused television with consistent character development and narratives. Is this true?

Incoming effortpost:

It certainly was a part of that trend, but there were other shows at or around the same time that were just as, if not more, serialised. Xena, oddly enough, featured far more serialisation than a lot of the X-Files, and aired around about the same time. Cracker was another show, though that came out of Britain. And then, of course, there was Doctor Who, which would tell weekly serialised stories lasting months. Some arcs were up to three or four months long.

Classically, however, there was a strong division between the commercial impulse for repetitive, safely produced product (and the perceived ability for a serialised show to pick up new viewers) and the desire from creatives and audience members to see stories that were highly serialised. Different shows solved this in different ways -- "previously on" recaps being the most successful long term solution, though the binge release format also ended up being quite popular haha -- and the X-Files handled it by aggressively demarcating the serialised material (its "myth arc") from its non serialised material (the "monsters of the week"). Effectively, serialised elements were only a problem in certain episodes, and the actual carry over between the multi-episode arcs was minimal. In practice this led to audience frustration and a perception that the show was disorganised, fragmented and repetitive, but it also led to higher ratings and easier onboarding for new viewers.

Compare it with Xena, which segmented its multi episode arcs into largely stand alone tales. It would usually feature the heroes teaming up after a long absence at the start of every episode -- even if those episodes were the second half of a two-parter -- and feature short, in character recaps in nearly every episode until it was absolutely certain that its audience understood the premise of the show. It, like many other shows around then (Alias, Farscape, Babylon 5, Buffy) also used its credit sequences to explain the basic premise of the show just so that audience members definitely understood what the gently caress was going on in any given week.

On the other hand, shows like Doctor Who and Cracker would extend this anthology approach to serialised stories. Every story was part of a multi-episode arc, but each arc would wrap up with a clear delineation between it and the next. Cracker was more aggressive about changing its status quo between episodes -- regular cast had a habit of dying suddenly, for instance -- but it also limited its arc theatrics to either the tried and true serialisation of the soap opera, or ameliorated the overall effect by sticking to shorter seasons.

You can see this anthology approach mirrored by a lot of shows even now -- Mad Men, Girls, Outlander, Clone Wars and pretty much any Damon Lindelof show (Lost, Watchmen, The Leftovers) all marry ongoing arc concerns with individual, character driven short stories. The Xena/Buffy/Farscape approach, though, is slowly falling by the wayside, and pretty much only exists on Agents Of SHIELD and some CW shows. I think that's a shame, as it's a personal favourite. Obviously it only existed as a compromise between creatives and executives and their different needs from a certain kind of product, but I think it also encouraged discipline and creativity, and built a certain kind of relationship with television that reflected the best qualities of pulp fiction. But that's both pretentious and precious of me, and I can't really pretend I have a leg to stand on there.

But ultimately, it's all basically derived from the soap opera, the hyper serialised and hyper trashy ghost haunting all serialised television.

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Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Milo and POTUS posted:

Am I high or is Eve pretty great? Or maybe it just seems that way compared to other season 1 fare

Eve is great. Am I right in thinking that it's also part of the myth arc? But it's one of those subtle connections IIRC, not an explicit connect.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Antifa Turkeesian posted:

Does him attending Cambridge or wherever come up even once after that?

Didn't he have a British ex for about five minutes? Or is that from the same episode...

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


This is probably heresy, but: there are some really good episodes in Season 8, but they're mostly mytharc.

This Is Not Happening through to the finale is a pretty good run of episodes.

The first half of the season has Roadrunners, and that's about it. It also has Badlaa, the most clearly and obvious piece of offensive trash the show ever made, and at least as bad as First Person Shooter.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


People talk a lot about the scariest episodes of the X-Files, but the bit with the fingers from Fresh Bones has always stuck with me.

Oh, and Home.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


WarEternal posted:

I know it's the X-Files thread but I started watching Millennium because I've watched through The X-Files about 6 times and never watched Millennium. Man, this first season is a real dud.

Season 2 is where it's at, though there's a sustained bit of super weirdness that starts about halfway into Season 3.

Season 1 is bad, with some occasional whoah what the gently caress.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


algebra testes posted:

I think it was already mentioned in this thread, but the "Mulder is actually a great profiler" episodes along with "bog standard serial killer" episodes are a lowkey fave of mine. Mainly because it involves our Protagonist having a skill and using it instead of being 'spooky'.

Aubrey is low-key my favourite episode of the show.

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Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Fresh Bones has the best scare in the series, bar none.

Speaking of BEST EVER EPISODES OF THE X-FILES DEFINITIVE DEFINITE TRUE RANKINGS Irresistible has always scored fairly highly, despite the lack of love for it in this thread.

I think it's fine, with a good guest performance from Nick Chinlund, but of the show's serial killer episodes, Aubrey from that season is already better.

They're both blatantly prototypes for Millennium, though.

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