Saturday, March 25, 2017

The X Files Spin-Off That Totally Needs to Happen

I mentioned in last week's post that I recently re-watched the 2008 X Files film I Want to Believe. Well, that whetted my appetite for more of what was once my favorite show, so my husband and I decided to revisit last year's new season. And as I watched it, I had an idea.

A major theme of this latest season is Scully's grief over giving up her son, William, for adoption. Though it doesn't look as though 2017 will give us a season 11, season 10 strongly implied that the story would go on with the search for William playing a central role, much as Mulder's search for his sister was central to the original show. I hope we will see another season and that we will find out what happened to William. But, like I said, all of this has given me an idea. And it's a pretty awesome idea, if I do say so myself.

Wouldn't it be cool if, in conjunction with new X Files episodes featuring Mulder and Scully looking for their long-lost son, we also had a spin-off that was all about William. But--here's the important thing--the audience wouldn't know the show was about William. The audience wouldn't know there was any tie to The X Files at all.

Here's what it would look like: there's this teenage boy, whose name is not William because, naturally, his adoptive parents wanted to give him a new name, who has discovered that he has psychic powers (remember that baby William had special powers on the original show). These powers frighten him, so he asks his parents about them. They refuse to tell him anything, and order him to never, ever use his abilities. But he's a teenage boy, so of course he doesn't obey. Then he becomes obsessed with finding his birth parents. His adoptive parents at first resist this, but as the boy's abilities become more and more frightening, they eventually give in, being as desperate for answers as their son is.

We follow William, or whatever his name is now, for...I don't know...five or six seasons, at the end of which his true identity is revealed. There will be multiple clues along the way. Naturally, The X Files will be airing new seasons concurrently with this new show, and minor characters will make appearances on both. It will be very subtle, but once the truth is revealed it will be so obvious you'll wonder why you didn't see it before. Think of the first time you saw The Sixth Sense, before you knew that...sorry, no spoilers on that one. Not that there are still people in the world who don't know how that movie ends, but still. Anyway, this X Files spin-off will be kind of like that. Anyone who is really paying close attention will pick up on the hints. There will be lots of fan theories that the boy from this show is actually William from The X Files, but no confirmation from the producers until the finale airs. And this show and The X Files will have a joint finale, so there's no doubt as to what's going on. And some people will throw their hands in the air and shout, "Oh my God!" while others clap their friends on the back and say, "I knew it!"

Okay, so maybe I'm a nerd who spends way too much time analyzing my favorite TV shows.

Or maybe the producers of The X Files are reading this blog post as we speak and I'm about to become a millionaire.

It's also possible that it's already happening, I just don't know about it because...well...everything I said in this post.

You have to admit, though, it would be a pretty cool thing to see.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Did You See Samantha Mulder in The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008 Movie)?

I Want to Believe is sort of the X Files' fans' red-headed stepchild. I wouldn't go as far as to call it the Star Trek V of the X Files franchise. It's not a bad movie. It's just not really an X Files movie. It has nothing to do with aliens or UFOs, and therefore does nothing to move the overall plot forward. I guess by the time it was made the producers thought that story had come to its official end, so why keep beating a dead horse. Of course we know now, with the advent of last year's new season that the horse never died. It's, in fact, alive and well, which makes I Want to Believe even more irrelevant than it already was, with the exception of the fact that we get to see how Mulder and Scully's lives have moved on after the finale of the original show.

My husband and I recently re-watched The X Files, including the first movie installment from 1998. But we put off watching the second movie for over a year because we figured: what's the point? Well, we finally got around to watching it last night, and I noticed something really cool.

I thought I was crazy when I first saw it. Didn't even say anything to my husband because I was sure I was wrong. But watch this video, and tell me you don't see what I see:

The X Files: I Want to Believe on YouTube

Sorry I couldn't embed the video in this post. I tried multiple times and it just wasn't working. Don't know why.

I also couldn't find a clip of just the scene I needed, so this is the entire film. But scroll in about nine minutes. Watch closely at 9:34 and tell me what you see. Here's the link again, in its original form in case you're one of those people who is suspicious of clicking on random links you find on people's web pages, just because I really, really want you to see it.

So? Did you see it? Did the female FBI agent who passes Mulder and Scully in the hallway look familiar to you? Did you wonder why they were looking at her like they recognized her?

Could it maybe be because she's Samantha Mulder?

Okay, not Samantha herself. Just the actress who played her in the early season flashbacks. I did some Googling, and this is what I found:

So it looks like I was right. I even found this picture to prove it:

Pretty cool, huh?

And while we're on the subject of odd things involving X Files actors, isn't it a little ironic that Mulder's sister was played by an actress whose last name was Morley? Only diehard fans will understand that, but I'm scratching my head over here.

Okay, that's all. Just thought I'd share. It's the perfect time of year for finding Easter Eggs, after all.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

TV Viewing Habits: Me Versus My Husband

Couple Bonding

My husband and I watch television together all the time, and while I do have "my" shows and he has "his" shows, still we watch them as a couple. And often discuss them after we watch them. Our discussions can be frustrating for both of us because I generally have all these opinions I want to throw at him, and I expect him to have an equal number of opinions to throw back at me. He usually doesn't, which leads to me going away disappointed and him going away annoyed.

When I Love a Show

If I really love a television show, I'll watch it over and over. My husband likes to do that with movies, but not so much TV shows. It's an odd difference between us.

Because I'm watching my favorite shows numerous times, I generally get a deeper understanding of the characters and the plot than I would otherwise. This leads to some of those opinions I like to throw at my husband. But because he hasn't watched the shows as much as I have, he hasn't had the time to generate many opinions of his own.

A Recent Discussion About One of My Favorite Shows

For those of you who frequent my blog, it's no secret that I love Supernatural. And if you've been a really faithful reader, you may know that seasons one and two are my favorites. The show just went off in odd directions after those early years, and it's never quite been the same. But of the first two seasons, the second is by far the better. And my favorite episode from season two is, in my opinion, one of the bests episodes of any TV show ever.

The episode is "Heart". It aired late in the second season and follows Sam and Dean as they investigate a series of what look like werewolf attacks. They interview the woman who found one of the victims, only to find out that *spoiler alert* she's the werewolf, but has no memory of what she's done. By this point she and Sam have developed a mutual attraction for each other and have entered into a tentative relationship. When they realize what's happening, Sam is the one who has to kill her.

I recently watched this episode for the fourth time. What? I told you I like to re-watch my favorite TV shows. Well, anyway, I watched it for the fourth time in the midst of taking my husband through his second viewing of seasons one and two. Why am I doing that? Because we still watch the new episodes together, and I wanted to show him how much the show has changed since the early days. So we're making our way through the season and we're nearing this episode and I'm going on and on about how it's the best Supernatural episode ever. The best episode of anything ever. Then we finally watch it together.

After it was over, he asked me why I think it's so good. Before launching into my explanation, I asked him if he knew the first rule of good writing (yeah, Supernatural used to be a well-written show before it started contradicting itself every other week). I don't remember his answer, but I think it may have had something to do with grammar or punctuation. I told him no. The first rule of good writing is "show, don't tell". All writers are familiar with that one. It pretty much makes or breaks a story.

Season two of Supernatural is a prime example of "show, don't tell". While in later episodes the bonding moments between Sam and Dean have come off as forced and overly sappy, in season two they were genuine and highly effective. Why? Because we'd been on the journey with them and felt everything they felt along the way.

The season begins with the death of their father. This sparks a role reversal between the brothers, with Sam now being the one who wants to make Dad proud and Dean wanting to say "to hell with it" and go off and find a normal life somewhere. Trying to force a character arc like that can be awkward as all get out, but if it follows naturally from early events, it's quite effective. In this case it followed naturally. Never once did I feel Sam and Dean were stepping out of character. The way they each dealt with John's death was believable to me.

It's eventually revealed that the reason Dean is so fed up with hunting is because John told him something disturbing right before he died. He told him if he couldn't save Sam, he'd have to kill him. Dean carries that burden all through the season. We see him struggle with it. We see his fear that he won't be able to save Sam. We see that he's still really chasing after his father's approval, but with John gone, the only family he has to cling to is Sam, and he clings to him tenaciously. And it's all very believable because we understand everything he's been through up to that point.

We also watch Sam struggling with the concept that he could turn into something evil. That when he was a baby a demon chose him for some sinister purpose and while he has no idea what that purpose is, he's sure he wants no part of it. Again, we suffer with him along the way.

Then we get close to the end of the season, and we have "Heart". Okay, so maybe doing an episode where Sam's love interest turns into something evil, thereby mirroring what Sam fears is going to happen to him, was a little forced. But you know what? This was before Supernatural started doing those kinds of episodes every dadgum week, so it worked back then. The writing leading up to it made us ripe for the emotional roller coaster of that episode.

"Heart" begins light, then gets more and more intense as the story progresses. Because we know what Sam and Dean are going through, we know just how hard this case is for them. Because instead of Sam having to kill Madison because of what she's become, it could very well be Dean having to kill Sam because of what's he's become. And while Sam has a harder time with the case itself, since he's the one who's become intimate with Madison, Dean's the one who wrestles the most with the broader implications of what they have to do. That's why the camera stays fixed on Dean when Sam goes to do what must be done. Because the audience knows, from everything that's come before, exactly what Dean is thinking. He's sad that Sam has to kill someone he cares about, but he's also imagining the day he'll have to do the same thing to Sam. It's also strongly implied that he has a certain admiration for Sam for making what must have been one of the hardest decisions of his life. He knows he won't be able to make the same decision when the time comes. It marks another shift in Dean's character. Things had always been cut and dried for him, as far as the ethics of monster hunting was concerned. Now he's questioning everything.

My Husband's Response

So I finished telling my husband all that, and he said, "I just thought Sam was sad that he had to kill his girlfriend."

"Seriously!" I wailed in response. "You couldn't see all that other crap they were carrying with them as they wrestled with that case?"

He shrugged. "I don't watch television shows and memorize everything the characters have ever thought, said, or felt."

Then I asked, "How do you enjoy watching television if you don't think about all that stuff?"

And my husband said, "How do you enjoy life if you are constantly thinking about that stuff?"

I had to think about that one for a while. When I finally came up with a response, I said, "I spend a lot of time alone thinking about the emotions I'm feeling and what factors in my life may have caused me to feel that way."

To which he replied, "Well, I don't do that. I'm a man."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Indie Book of the Month: March 2017

A Cozy Mystery

Another departure from my usual reading habits. Don't get me wrong, now. I adore mysteries. I just don't typically go for the cozy variety. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I tend to steer clear of fiction that is too formulaic. If there are certain events which have to happen (for example, discovering the dead body of a prominent member of society) and it has to happen at a certain time, and there are certain events that must come next in order to be true to the genre, I generally won't enjoy the read.

I also like to stay away from books that are too light. When I read (or watch a movie or television show) I want to be dragged on an emotional rollercoaster so intense it leaves me breathless at the end. If I'm not pulled deep enough into the characters' minds, if I don't feel their pain and their joy, if the pathos of the story does not give me that fluttery feeling deep down in my gut, I won't experience the catharsis I was seeking and won't enjoy the book (or the movie or the television show).

So imagine my surprise when I found myself totally engrossed in a toe-tinglingly cozy mystery in my quest to find my next Book of the Month.

The Book

Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot. What a fun book! Really, I should revamp my criteria for a good read. Just because it doesn't leave me weeping by the end doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. And I really did. I loved this book.

I said in last month's post that it is often the world-building that draws me into a book. That was certainly true of this one. I loved the description of the old house, the detailed backstory about the famous author, the quaint seaside town, the quirky cast of characters, and the food. All of it. I loved all of it.

I totally want to spend the night in the Moorehaven Bed and Breakfast Inn. The only people who are allowed to stay there are mystery authors, but that shouldn't be a problem for me. I've written one mystery novel, so that counts, right? I hope so. Ms. Talbot, can you please give me Pippa Winterbourne's number? Or does the B&B have a website I can look up? A vacation in the Pacific Northwest sounds like just what I need right now.

I also craved scones the whole time I was reading this book. I craved them for about three days before I finally realized there are recipes at the end of the book. Yeah, you heard me. Scone recipes right there in the book! And, yep, I baked them. And they were delicious. I'd rather be eating them in the dining room of a historic bed and breakfast which was once the home of a famous author, but eating them in my own kitchen wasn't a terrible experience. Again, Ms. Talbot, that phone number, please? I need to book a room at this hotel. Now.

Okay, so the house is gorgeous and the food is delicious. What about story? Does it deliver? Absolutely! But it's the world-building that makes it so fantastic. I think that's often true of fiction that falls into one of these limited genres. You know the mystery is going to play out in a fairly predictable pattern. What makes it unique is the setting, the characters, and the backstory. And all those things came together nicely by the end. Things which were mentioned casually in early chapters became significant later on, rewarding the reader for paying attention at the beginning. And though the progression of events was predictable enough to qualify the book as a cozy mystery, the actual details of the mystery managed to take me by surprise.

If you're a cozy mystery fan, you should definitely check this book out. Even if you're not (remember, I don't often read cozies) you should still give it a chance. It won't disappoint.