Saturday, 19 June 2010

Five Things to Love about Chris Carter

Today my wife Lily is celebrating her birthday and in honour of this I thought it would be a great chance to look at the “Five Things to Love about Chris Carter”, who it’s safe to say she is a huge fan of, combining it into oh so many aspects of our life, including our engagement which just happened, to be tied in with the UK release of the second film.
Chris Carter is most notably responsible created one of the most popular and influential TV Shows ever, drawing heavy inspiration from shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” to create his legacy “The X Files” which in turn spawned two feature films and three equally great spin off shows Millennium, The Lone Gunmen and Harsh Realm, which despite none of them reaching the same benchmark set by “The X Files” still proved that there was more to this world he created than the personal odyssey of Mulder and Scully and while it might not be as highly regarded today, as it was back at the height of it’s popularity, it’s influence can still be felt even now eight years on from the final revel of “The Truth” which as the 2008 film “The X Files: I want to Believe” proved, the quest for still continues.
So allow me now to present to you, my top five reasons to love Chris Carter.

(1) The Mulder-phone
Mulder’s phone over the course of nine seasons, became kind of a inside joke for the fans of the show, seeing how it always had signal whether he was locked in vaults, lost in the woods or deep underground, he always had perfect signal which for someone like myself who can’t even get a signal in his own house, really makes me wonder what network he was on, to get such amazing coverage!

(2) He created Geek-Chic
There are some people out there who believe that “Geek-Sheek” was a creation of Josh Schwartz and in particular the portrayal of the character Seth in “The O.C” by Adam Brody, which he would then carry on to pretty much any performance from that moment on, to ever increasingly grating levels. Those who believe this are sadly wrong, for it was truly Carter who first made being a geeks cool, not only with the likes of “The Lone Gunmen” but more with “Mulder” who lets be honest is probably the biggest geek of them all, not only obsessing over the unexplained while also processing a worryingly keen interest in pornography, he is without a doubt the biggest geek in the show, with his personal knowledge proving that it’s far more than a professional interest. Still these geek out moments would provide over the years some of the most memorable moments of the show, which are still fondly remembered even now, adding to the humour and scare mix which proved such a potent formula and which would later prove equally successful for Joss Whedon and his “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” reworking.

(3) Making us root for the bad guys
It’s not an easy thing, to create a character so delightfully evil that you not only despise them, but can’t help but admire their evil ways, but from “The Cigarette Smoking Man” to “The Alien Bounty Hunter” as well as my personal favourite “Alex Krycek” if there is one thing Carter has always had an eye for when it came to characters, it would have to be said that his most interesting creations, were always those standing in the way of the truth.
Over the course of his career and through the shows he has only added to this back catalogue, though for myself Krycek will always be the one who stands out from the pack, which could largely be down to the fascinating journey his character took, from his first appearance as a goody two shoes replacement partner for Mulder, to his ever darkening persona with every setback he suffered from losing his hand to being locked in a vault, Carter used them all to add only make him even darker, memorably having Krycek use his prosthetic hand to batter a confession out of one unlucky captive.
He would prove that he hadn’t lost any of this eye for the darker characters or the ability to get into the heads of these characters, as he proved in the “The X Files: I want to Believe” bringing a whole new spin to the Frankenstein mythos, which even included a two headed dog, which alone deserves it’s own mention.

(4) The monster of the week format
One of the worst things about most series today, is the need to constantly have a running storyline, making it really frustrating to get into anything new, that you’ve missed the first few episodes off and while there might have been the main conspiracy storyline in “The X Files”, which for myself eventually became overly complicated and confusing, the episodes which I most fondly remember are the “Monster of the Week” ones which no doubt is the reason I loved the first season of “Millennium” with it’s focus on a different killer each week, while the second season focused more on the Millennium group, causing my interest to wander.
The most interesting aspect of these episodes was also how quickly Carter moved away from the traditional monsters, such as Werewolves and Vampires who in total only amassed around five episodes, throughout their various appearances in the Carter universe, with Carter and his writing team instead more interested in creating their own monsters such as the flukeman and the extreme contortionist and liver eating Eugene Tooms, which in turn only added to the scare factor, seeing how these weren’t familiar creatures but instead something new and much more unpredictable and when it comes to revisiting any of the series, it will always be one of these episode that I’m more likely to dig out, rather than anything from the main storyline, especially when it was these episodes which kept me with “The X Files” especially when it began to lose it’s way in the final seasons.

(5) Giving Wong and Morgan their break
Without a doubt the two guys responsible for more top 10 X files episodes than any other writer, they created some of the shows most memorable and effective episodes for both “The X Files” and “Millennium”, before leaving to create the sadly short-lived “Space: Above and Beyond” which in turn would prove a heavy visual influence for Paul Verhoeven’s “Starship Troopers” (1997).
Since getting their break on the show they have since moved more into film, with their credits including “Willard” (2003) and “Final Destination 1 & 3” (2000 / 2006), but it thanks to Carter that they first got this break, were it could be argued they created some of their best work.


  1. A Good round up of reasons. There's always been way too much focus on what Carter did wrong then right. And man who could put something as creepy as "Blood" and "Home" on network TV is OK in my book.

  2. Without a doubt there is alot of focus on all the things, he did wrong especially when it comes to the second film, which I think alot of people were quick to criticise, but it was purely on the strength of the following (a member of which my wife is a life member it would seem) he has, that he was able to get the second film made, after such a long gap between the series ending and the film getting made.


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