- Network: FOX
- Series Premiere Date: Sep 10, 1993
Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings
Mar 22, 2016The seventh season of The X-Files feels like the end.
Indeed, going into the season, the production team were quite certain that it wasThe seventh season of The X-Files feels like the end.
Indeed, going into the season, the production team were quite certain that it was going to be the end. Chris Carter and David Duchovny had signed two-year extensions to their initial five-year contracts that would expire at the end of the season. David Duchovny had signalled that he was unlikely to return for an eighth season. Frank Spotnitz suggested that the writing staff were approaching the seventh season like it was their last time working with these characters on this show.
Gradually, however, things changed. As the seventh season continued, it became more and more likely that it wouldn’t be the seventh season of the show. Most obviously, Fox endured one of its worst seasons on record; there was simply no show that could hope to replace The X-Files in the network’s line-up. As a result, there was a clear urge to continue the show into an eighth season. However, the production team could not commit to the possibility because David Duchovny was in the midst of an on-going lawsuit against Fox.
As a result, the entire seventh season occupies a hazily-defined realm between life and death. As the season goes on, it feels more and more like the seventh season is hedging its bets; that the production team might be happy to move on to other projects, but are not entirely ready to give up on The X-Files yet. Watching the season in hindsight feels weird; it often feels like the production team want to bring the curtain down, but are unwilling to definitively or conclusive wrap up all the threads.
If the sixth season of The X-Files fixated on the show’s immortality and timelessness, the seventh season plays as a reaction against that. The seventh season is very keenly aware that everything must end and that The X-Files‘ cultural moment might be fading. There is something mournful and morose about the seventh season, as if The X-Files is watching itself slip away into history. After all, this was the point where the show became readily available on DVD and where Duchovny was engaged in a lawsuit over syndication; The X-Files was becoming a legacy concern.
The seventh season is about death and undeath.
Seven years is a long time; it might be time to wrap up The X-Files. This theme of death and undeath plays out across the season. Most obviously, there is the slow decline of the Cigarette-Smoking Man across the season; one of the show’s most iconic characters, he perhaps embodies the slow erosion of the series. Over the course of the year, he grows progressively weaker. Scully notes as much when she encounters him in Closure. In En Ami, he embraces his own death drive and destroys a potentially world-altering piece of information that might cure him.
However, as the season goes on, the Cigarette-Smoking Man finds himself panicking in the face of his own mortality. By the time that the season reaches Requiem, the once imposing figure is confined to a wheelchair smoking cigarettes through a hole in his throat. In the final forty-five minutes of the season, his inner circle reduced to Marita and Krycek (and Nurse Greta), he makes a last desperate bid to restore the mythology to its former glory. He tries to reassert the way that things were.
The seventh season has an interesting relationship with its own history. It frequently feels like the seventh season of The X-Files has detached itself from its own continuity, and is building stories on foggy half-remembered and reinterpreted history. The version of Frank Black who appears in Millennium has little tangible connection to the character who headlined his own show for three years. The version of Donnie Pfaster who appears in Orison feels markedly different than the character who made Irresistible so haunting.
Then again, the seventh season of The X-Files feels quite firmly anchored to its particular cultural moment. The X-Files has always felt like a show firmly anchored in the nineties, even as the series continues to resonate beyond that. There are always markers of the show’s cultural context to be found, whether it is jokes about Bill Clinton’s haircut in Fearful Symmetry, references to the drive-by shootings on the White House in Colony or Anasazi, or even the V-chip debate that informs Wetwired.
The seventh season of The X-Files is a strange beast. It is not nearly consistent enough to rank with the show’s strongest years, but it remains interesting in its own right. The seventh season was written as a year that might or might not be the end of The X-Files. Curiously enough, it watches in much the same way.… Full Review »
Dec 15, 2015Season seven will definitely turn some heads. And in both directions. It contains some flaws, but those willing to overlook its jumbledSeason seven will definitely turn some heads. And in both directions. It contains some flaws, but those willing to overlook its jumbled structure will discover the grand design Carter has so beautifully crafted.… Full Review »
Sep 1, 2015Season seven will definitely turn some heads. And in both directions. It contains some flaws, but those willing to overlook its jumbledSeason seven will definitely turn some heads. And in both directions. It contains some flaws, but those willing to overlook its jumbled structure will discover the grand design Carter has so beautifully crafted.… Full Review »