The X Files: my first love
OH MY GOD IT’s COMING BACK IT’S COMING BACK! A tale of the Internet fandom that created Internet fandoms. *spoilers, I guess? For a twenty year old show?* I properly fell in love with the X Files during season 4, when I was nine. The first episode that converted me irrevocably was Small Potatoes, which is forty five minutes of joy. The show used to come on at 10pm on the BBC, which was hella late to a nine year old. Luckily I had a TV in my room (thanks Mum!) My TV was a ten inch Philips with missing buttons, perched on top of a VHS player that had this twisty knob that stopped the tapes from playing too slowly, or something? My TV and tape player were the coolest things my entire world. Because they brought me The X Files.
I can pin-point the exact moment that I fell in love with the show:
Make of that what you will.
Season 4 is a dark one to start with, by anyone’s standards, let alone a kid’s. In a few short weeks, I had my heart ripped out. Scully got diagnosed with cancer, and everything fell apart. In the season finale, Mulder actually KILLED HIMSELF. Like, he shot himself in the head. Dead. So season 4 ends with Scully dying, and Mulder dead. I think I made a face like this for about six months: Of course, they both survived and went on to make another 100 episodes and two movies. But I didn’t know that. Cast your mind back to a dark and distant time, a time before spoilers and Internet forums and Tumblr. That season break was TORTURE. I spent the time hoarding X Files magazines (still have them) and begging my parents for X Files VHS boxsets (still have them – see? However that photo was taken in 2000. They’re all safe and sound in the attic now, with my DVDs on the shelf downstairs).
Then…. Well, we’re spoiled now, with our iTunes and our Sky and our “totally legal” downloads. But then, I had four channels, and The X Files was only available first on Sky. We couldn’t afford Sky. So my wonderful dad posted me a VHS recording every month, of four episodes each time that he recorded for me. I’m not actually sure if he got Sky just to do this? I like to believe he did. I used to wait for the tapes and I’d instantly smash in that little plastic thingie on them so that no one could accidentally record over them. (Man, this sounds so sad why am I telling anyone this?) Posters went up, covering every inch of my wall. My first computer was bought (thanks Dad!) and that rockin’ 4gb hard drive quickly became full with X Files photos and screencaps. And fanfic. Oh – the fanfic. The dialup noise from our ridiculously expensive Internet (thanks Mum!) still makes my heart skip a little bit. It meant that I could chat to my fellow X-Philes, and know that I wasn’t completely alone – and plain weird – for wanting to find the Truth and, of course, for wanting two fictional characters to get together. Fast forward to August 21st 1998, and I’m eleven. And The X Files movie is out in the UK! But its certificate fifteen. My loving, understanding – probably bewildered – mother dressed me up and padded my bra and got me into the cinema at the earliest showing. Which was before midday. I know this because I still have the ticket.
Then this happened:
And the SQUEE!! overtook me and I tried to get into the cinema a further five times but only succeeded once more before it stopped screening. Then it ended up in Blockbuster/Ritz video and I shit you not – I loaned the VHS copy so many times they had to write it off and they sold it to me!! Wow. It’s all coming back to me now. In fact, it’s in that photo of my shelf. The retail version was in a red case, and the rental version in blue. Random Fandom Flashbacks I used to have a count down on my watch to the time the show started, and I’d give people little updates throughout the day. I used to ask my (obviously very patient) friends to quiz me on episode numbers and names and quotes. I used to play “six degrees of X Files” which is like “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” except you have to link every actor back to The X Files somehow. I had a dog named Dana. I learned about Photoshop via X Files fan art (then later on through Harry Potter fan art) I may or may not have written the odd fanfic. I once got an email reply from Dean Haglund (Langley from the Lone Gunmen) and printed it out and stuck it on my wall. I can’t remember if I discovered, or MADE this? But it’s on my old external hard drive, either way: Also this: Did I mention there was an X Files episode called Emily? And that she is Scully’s DAUGHTER? Yeah that was quite an exciting time for my younger self. I of course went on to buy everything in the Ten Thirteen family: Millennium, Harsh Realm, and Lone Gunmen. To this day I still make fan T-Shirts etc at Red Bubble.
It’s coming back for 6 episodes, if the press is to be believed. I must be in a coma, because – seriously – this is too much goodness to be believed. WOW. I promise I will *try* to keep my fangirling at bay. But… WOW The Truth Is Still Out There!!!! Do you have any fandom tales to share?? If so, add in the comments below!