For six acclaimed seasons, FBI paranormal detectives Mulder and Scully have been chasing monsters and little green men and exposing government conspiracies, while espousing the mantras "trust no one" and "the truth is out there." This work takes a close look at the popular television series and shows how its style, character and narrative structure have continued to tease and please a wide viewing audience every week for six years. The first section examines the text of the series and the progression of its mythic story arc. This part also looks at the show's use of expressionistic techniques in both its visual and sound effects; the related tropes of self-reflexive humor, irony and the grotesque; and its ability to give the audience an occasional strong sensory jolt. The second section explores the context that has given rise to The X-Files phenomenon in the 1990s. The show's gothic horror tradition is established, and its contribution to the Zeitgeist of the 90s is also acknowledged.
Author: Theresa L. Geller
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Premiering in 1993 on FOX Network, The X-Files followed the investigations of two FBI special agents, Fox Mulder and Dr. Dana Scully as they pursued the supernatural, the bizarre, and the alien, as well as the government conspiracies at work to conceal the truth of their existence. For nine seasons, Chris Carter’s series broke new ground in complex narrative television by integrating science fiction and horror with the forensic investigation of the detective genre. Shaped by the conspiracy films of the 1970s, the series had the ability to comment on the contemporary political climate one week and poke fun at its own self-seriousness the next. Responding to its cinematic visual style, haunting score, complex and nuanced writing, witty dialog, and the exceptional acting of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who elevated the show with their chemistry, fans embraced The X-Files, making it one of the most beloved cult television series to this day. The aim of this book is to provide the reader with several points of entry into the television series, with social, cultural, and political analyses framed by the examination of the show’s many overlapping genres. Divided into chapters highlighting the episodic standalones known as the “monster-of-the-week” (MOTW) and the serial mythology or “mytharc,” the first section of the book explores the ways the MOTWs represented social differences in stories of fantastic, supernatural beings both strange and estranged. Through comparative analyses and detailed discussions of individual episodes, it becomes clear that the MOTWs were less concerned with the alien than with alienation, using the figure of the “monster” to focus on a range of ethnic, racial, and social outsiders. The latter half of the book turns to the serialized mythology, examining both the arc of the alien conspiracy as well as the fan-driven relationship between Mulder and Scully. While the romance subplot was powered in part by the show’s fans, the alien-government conspiracy mythology was Carter’s unique vision. This volume argues that The X-Files was a milestone because it employed the generic tropes of science fiction to call our attention to contemporary global politics and the history behind them. Specifically, Theresa Geller maps the ways the series used the mytharc not to predict the future, but to unbury the violence and injustice of our own past. With its return to television as an “event series” in 2016, this volume offers a timely assessment of the show’s cultural relevance and social significance. Fans of the show, as well as readers interested in cultural studies, genre criticism, race and ethnicity, fan studies, social commentary, and gender studies will appreciate this insightful examination of the series.
The X-Files and Literature
Author: Sharon R. Yang
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
The X-Files and Literature: Unweaving the Story, Unraveling the Lie to find the Truth provides an innovative and valuable exploration of the groundbreaking television program. Although much academic work has been devoted to the social, psychological, and spiritual significance of The X-Files, until this collection none has fully addressed the series’ rich adaptation of literature to interrogate our perception, definition, or recounting of the “truth.” This collection not only unveils new twists and insights into expected connections between The X-Files and Gothic writers or with its modernist and post-modernist slants on narrative, plot, and characterization. The X-Files and Literature also delves into some unexpected literary sources shaping the series, such as the Arthurian quest, Catholic and Biblical mythology, folkloristics, and James Fennimore Cooper and the “vanishing American” mythos. This collection of essays covers both how The X-Files works with literature’s own constantly morphing definition and portrayal of truth through form and content, as well as how the television program may or may not subvert our own contradictory expectations and distrust of literature’s providing us with enlightenment. "As television becomes more and more literary, with shows like Lost and Gilmore Girls sending us off to the bookstore and the library so we might read them more carefully, a book like The X-Files and Literature is welcome indeed. Sharon R. Yang’s diverse collection on one of Nineties’ TV’s richest texts finds the truth of the gothic and the Arthurian and the folkloric, of the postmodern and the metafictional, of Poe, Pynchon, Cooper, Nabokov, and Tennyson, not just “out there” but in the perhaps too complicated narrative of the perpetually frustrated quests of Mulder and Scully. Valuable-in-itself as an intellectual exercise, its real worth may come when we put the book down and return, smarter, better readers, to the primary text." --David Lavery, Co-Editor, Deny All Knowledge: Investigating The X-Files "Sharon Yang's X-Files collection deals with an important subject addressed by thoughtful writers. The idea that television can be seen as a branch of literature is certainly sustained by The X-Files, and the contributors to this volume succeed in making the case. Brian Hauser on Fenimore Cooper, Cary Jones on Mary Shelley, Tamy Burnett on Poe, Thomas Argiro on Pynchon, Matthew VanWinkle on Tennyson-these and more explore the connections with The X-Files not only in terms of sources but also themes and techniques. Both students of television and literature will want to own this book." —Rhonda V. Wilcox, Ph.D., Professor of English, Gordon College, Barnesville
We Want to Believe
Author: Amy M. Donaldson
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
From the first episode to the latest feature film, two main symbols provide the driving force for the iconic television series The X-Files: Fox Mulder's "I Want to Believe" poster and Dana Scully's cross necklace. Mulder's poster may feature a flying saucer, but the phrase "I want to believe" refers to more than simply the quest for the truth about aliens. The search for extraterrestrial life, the truth that is out there, is a metaphor for the search for God. The desire to believe in something greater than ourselves is part of human nature: we want to believe. Scully's cross represents this desire to believe, as well as the internal struggle between faith and what we can see and prove. The X-Files depicts this struggle by posing questions and exploring possible answers, both natural and supernatural. Why would God let the innocent suffer? Can God forgive even the most heinous criminal? What if God is giving us signs to point the way to the truth, but we're not paying attention? These are some of the questions raised by The X-Files. In the spirit of the show, this book uses the symbols and images presented throughout the series to pose such questions and explore some of the answers, particularly in the Christian tradition. With a focus on key themes of the series--faith, hope, love, and truth--along the way, this book journeys from the desire to believe to the message of the cross.
"The ways in which Anglo-American culture conceptualizes women and conceptualizes detectives conflict. These clashing cultural paradigms result in representations of the female investigator that mark her as intrinsically flawed, thus discharging the tension between the culturally disparate concepts of "woman" and "detective." This study explores how the ways in which Anglo-American culture represents the female investigator as flawed vary by genre and medium. The introduction contains a brief survey of the scholarship on detective fiction to date. Chapter 1 examines what I term the "almost investigator" in several gothic novels: Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and The Law and the Lady. The "almost investigator" shows flashes of investigative brilliance, but the answers to her questions are provided by others, and are not the direct result of her investigations. Chapter 2 examines the female investigator in the modern lesbian detective novels of Elizabeth Pincus, Nikki Baker, Mabel Maney, Jackie Manthorne, and Katherine V. Forrest. The lesbian investigator is marked by a troubled relationship with the phallic symbols of cars and driving, by concern over bodily weakness and femme sexuality, and by fantasies of rescue. Chapter 3 traces the history of the female investigator on television. These television portrayals follow prevailing socio-cultural norms of their times in the ways that female investigators are flawed. Chapter 4 traces the trope of madness in films with female investigators, which I suggest is linked to the Anglo-American conception of the Gaze, the camera, and the detective on screen as intrinsically masculine. The conclusion is a case study of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, as the original gothic novel, as lesbian detective novel, as made-for-television movie, and as film. The conclusion demonstrates that the same basic narrative of female detection varies its portrayal of the female investigator as flawed depending on the medium and genre."
An engaging and provocative study of the contemporary prime-time 'quality' serial television format, this book gives a timely account of prominent programmes such as 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ER, The Sopranos and The West Wing and explores their influential position within the television industry. Divided into the areas of history, aesthetics and reception, the text provides an illuminating overview of an increasingly hybrid television studies discipline. Chapters consider the formal and aesthetic elements in the contemporary television serial through approaches ranging from those concerned with issues of gender and sexuality, national identity, and reception to industry history and textual analysis. The book also includes British examples of 'quality' serial television emphasizing not only their cultural specificity but also the transnational context in which these programmes operate. Features *Section introductions provide student-friendly explanations of the various approaches and methodologies employed in the book *Chapters are written by an international team of experts in the field of television studies *Ideal for use as a textbook on courses in contemporary television taught at undergraduate level
"The critical vocabulary of the mainstream often give short shrift to the fantastic, and scholars of the fantastic have often had to look elsewhere for their critical termionology. Such scholars will find Wolfe's work an excellent resource." Choice
Author: Liam Kennedy, Stephen Shapiro
Wide-ranging perspectives on "the best dramatic series ever created"
Before the X-Files, before alt.conspiracy, there was Robert Anton Wilson and his legendary Illuminatus! Trilogy. Now this avatar of conspiriology, renowned for his razor wit and progressive philosophy, takes you on a fascinating, eclectic ride through what Wilson has termed the "Cultic Twilight" where conspiracy theories flourish. Everything Is Under Control covers the range of Wilson's kaleidoscopic knowledge, from John Adams to the Voronezh (former Soviet Union) UFO sighting, the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu to the Mothman prophecies, and everything in between. What do the Freemasons, the Kennedys, and Princess Diana have in common? All are at the center of gigantic conspiracy theories with incredibly complex and endlessly multiplying twists, turns, highways and byways. Arranged by alphabetical entries which include cross-references to other entries in the book and also provide addresses to related sites on the Web, this book is truly interactive--you can dip in, read through, or follow one of the URLs from an interesting entry onto the internet. What some famous people say about Robert Anton Wilson: "A dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway to higher consciousness." --Tom Robbins "Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity." --Philip K. Dick "One of the most important scientific philosophers of his century--scholarly, witty, scientific, hip and hopeful." --Dr. Timothy Leary
Deny All Knowledge
Author: David Lavery, Angela Hague, Marla Cartwright
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
An examination of why the television show that has suggested "that the United States government is involved in a vast conspiracy with former Nazi and Japanese scientists to assist alien beings in performing experiments--including genetic hybridization--on American citizens is so popular.--Cover.