The final entry for Inktober 2023 was alluded to last week. It’s The X-Files, a science-fiction-horror series inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
Tired of the mundane scripts he was churning out for Walt Disney Productions’ teen market, Chris Carter was hired by the upstart Fox Network to develop new programming. Working with his fondness for Twilight Zone and his childhood favorite Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Chris pitched his show — The X-Files — about two FBI agents and their on-going investigations into paranormal occurrences to Fox executives. Initially rejected, Chris reworked the idea and fleshed out the characters. He made the brooding Mulder the “believer” and the no-nonsense Scully the “skeptic,” in a conscience effort to reverse stereotypical gender roles of the stoic male and gullible female. The series was “green-lit,” became a huge hit for the neophyte network and made stars of lead actors Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the process. (The series even moved production from the cheaper Vancouver locale to Los Angeles to accommodate Duchovny.)
The X-Files was filled with strange characters, moody tones and dark storylines, all of which added to its appeal. It found success with its “monster of the week” premise, despite the same scenario responsible for the demise of its processor Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Taking inspiration from earlier, iconic hits like David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and the aforementioned Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The X-Files raged on and intrigued devoted fans for eleven seasons, including a comeback in 2018. Two films based on the show were produced — one released between the fourth and fifth season and a sequel released six years after its initial run ended. It even introduced the catchphrase “The Truth is Out There” into the lexicon of pop culture, alongside other familiar TV lines like “Sit on It” and “Dy-No-Mite!” Even now, reruns of the show have gained a new audience among those too young to have experienced the original craze.