‘X-Files’ Finally Coming to Blu-ray?

TXF Steelbook ArtThe rumors are out there, and have been for over a year, but this week multiple sources are suggesting that 20th Century Fox is planning on releasing the entire X-Files series on Blu-ray and that release could happen as early as this winter.  The Digital Bits stated just days ago  in their Comic-Con blog that they spoke with numerous sources at the San Diego Comic-Con, including sources at the studio and the post production facility (HTV/Illuminate), and were told that the series would be released in Blu-ray as part of the 20th Anniversary celebration of The X-Files this year.

“…we believe at least the first season could be announced (in the coming weeks) for release by the end of the year.  Remastering work has been underway at HTV/Illuminate in Hollywood – visual effects and some stock footage shots (of the Hoover building, etc) have required upconversion but otherwise original negative is being scanned in full HD. ” – The Digital Bits

While XFN cannot confirm these reports, we have had sources telling us that the studio is indeed planning to release the series on Blu-ray as early as this winter. There has been no official word from Fox, but Chris Carter addressed the Blu-ray issue at the IDW Panel at Comic-Con this week. 

“I just had a conversation with a guy from Fox yesterday who said they’re pushing for that Blu-ray release but it hasn’t been formalized or it’s not official, so stay tuned for that, but they are releasing it on HD.” – Chris Carter

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in the U.K. announced today that they are releasing the entire series plus both feature films in a new box set (not Blu-ray) in celebration of the 20th Anniversary, and that FTF and IWTB will be released in a Blu-ray box set. While other regions had already received the Blu-ray release of both films, this will be the first time that the dual-film Blu-ray box set has been released in the U.K. 

Given that the U.K. is celebrating the 20th with new box sets and that FTF/IWTB Blu-ray, it’s not a far stretch to believe that 20th Century Fox could in fact be looking at releasing the series on Blu-ray elsewhere. The truth is out there…somewhere. 

Once we hear anything official, you will be the first to know!

 

 

Munich Film Festival

The Munich Film Festival took place June 28 – July 6, 2013 and actor Sir Michael Caine was invited to this year’s festival as the guest of honor. There were screenings of several of his movies including the European premiere of Mr. Morgan’s Last Love starring Gillian Anderson alongside Caine. Unfortunately, Anderson was unable to make it to the festival due to filming schedules.

Besides Sir Michael Caine, lead actress Clemence Poesy and writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck presented the movie to a sold out Carl Orff Auditorium at Munich cultural center: GASTEIG. The audience enjoyed the movie and the was a Q&A following the screening. Sadly the sound system was malfunctioning. Writer/director Sandra Nickelbeck mentioned Gillian Anderson in one of her answers: “that she (Nickelbeck) as director just had to shut her mouth and let Gillian do what she does, because the camera sees more than the plain eye and that Gillian does do magic.”


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After the screening, when the cast and crew were called onto stage, they mentioned a couple of people who worked on the movie but were unable to attend the festival including internationally known composer Hans Zimmer.

The film is a beautiful piece about Mr. Morgan, portrayed by Caine, who is having trouble getting over the loss of his dear wife. He meets the much younger Pauline, played by Poesy, on the bus and they accidently bump into each other again. A wonderful friendship begins between the two characters who don’t have anyone in their lives. Karen, played by Anderson, and Miles, played by Kirk, were contacted after Mr. Morgan tried to commit suicide, and Pauline meets Mr. Morgan’s children. The movie continues telling the story about a father and a son. Truths, lies and hopes.

Gillian is only in 3 scenes but everyone will remember powerful Karen. Watch out for Mr. Morgans children’s pictures! You will be able to spot two Gillian pictures at a very young and a very wild age, since they used actual pictures from her and Justin Kirk.

The German press had a lot to say about Gillian’s role in Mr. Morgan’s Last Love. Carsten Baumgardt from FilmStarts wrote: “Although the appearance of The X-Files icon Gillian Anderson (Playing by Heart) is short, but has a lot to it: As Karen she marauds like a hurricane through her scenes, showing more understanding, despite her cynicism, for her gruff, rigid father than Miles.” To view the full FilmStarts article, please click here. The reviewer from CineClub added: “A very joyous surprise is Gillian Anderson (Scully from The X-Files) from whom one would love to see more. It’s a pity she is gone too soon.” To view the full CineClub review, please click here. Both of these articles are in German.

Frank Spotnitz was invited to the festival to give a lecture: The Writer’s Room of an European TV Series – A Look at the Script Development of Famous American TV Series. After the moderator and Frank were introduced, Frank’s show reel was shown. Needless to say, that watching scenes from The X-FilesMillenniumHarsh RealmThe Lone Gunmen and Hunted on a big screen was awesome! Frank was asked questions on his work as a showrunner, which is basically a writing producer. “The mechanisms of a writing room is to find the perfect story. A marriage of characters and plot” said Spotnitz.

Spotnitz told the audience about the pitching and commissioning landscape of the US and its process. “They start out with 100-200 pitches in November or December, and by January there will be 12 scripts selected to shoot pilots. There are only 2 months to search for actors, directors, crew, everyone, because you will be shooting your pilot by March. The delivery date is set for mid or late April. By May you will know if your series was picked up, and the network will announce 3-4 series which will be going into production, but most of those new series are cancelled by episode 13″ said Spotnitz. “In Europe, it’s important that the episode is good, whereas in the US the episode needs to be popular. It’s all about the good work, not about ego. You just want a good show.”

The process in a writers room on the basis of Hunted: Frank wrote the pilot by himself, then he searched for writers with different personalities for his writers room. “The problem in the UK, which doesn’t use the system of a writers room, is that a lot of writers don’t want to be rewritten.” After he hired 3 writers, they were to read the pilot within their first week. Frank would tell them all about the story, the characters, his ideas up until episode 8. Afterwards he would say “forget all about that! What do you think?” Then they would start to discuss storylines, possibilities, followed by the storyboarding, which is done by putting up cards with ideas and characters to a bulletboard and breaking down scenes to the “conflict”.The episodes would be divided and they would talk scenes and moments. Because of the cards they would soon see a story developing on the bulletboard. “Smart, focused minds in a room together” said Spotnitz.

The main difference between the UK and the US systems is that the creator owns the rights. In the US, the network owns the rights after some major changes that took place in 1994. “The opportunity for German and French TV to be heard would be to shoot episodes in English language, even when there are accents involved and dub the show later into the actual language. This way, productions from Germany or France could be sold easily internationally, mostly to the US, because the US is the biggest market. I hope to do shows with German and French actors. I want to see and hear that talent.”  The problems of German and French actors’ accents and writers’comfort and grammar in writing in English were discussed later on.

Frank also talked about the financial parameters of writers. “Even if you were just hired and haven’t written a script, you would already earn money just being in the writers room. Once you write a script, you will earn money for writing it, so you earn extra money for every script you write.”

Frank spoke on the possibility to watch TV shows and movies whenever and in which order you like: “I miss that you can’t go to work and everybody talks about the one episode that was on last night. You don’t have to wait for the next episode anymore. You just go online.”

“Hollywood is a factory. In Europe you come together to work on something because you love it.” Frank also talked about Hunted‘s bullet board: “Having divided the episode into 5 acts. Since BBC has one-hour episodes without commercial breaks, this is a different pace then the US broadcast scheme where an episode has a teaser and 4 acts divided by commercial breaks. Putting scenes, characters and ideas on cards and fill up the board. The story would be worked out,  the script would be written, notes taken and the script would be rewritten until it would be perfect. It’s okay to write 3-4 episodes alone, but you’d be crazy to write more than 6 episodes by yourself.” In that case, you need a writers room to deliver scripts on time.

Frank also talked about the mass audience requests for stand-alone episodes, the so called procedurals, as opposed to the current trend to create heavy serialized stories, which follow a story arc through a season or the complete show’s run. “I would rather watch stand alone movies than keep track of television series, seasons and episodes” said Spotnitz. “The actors in the UK are phenomenal! Their detail to present the performance is brilliant.”

Spotnitz mentioned a couple of stories from The X-Files set days: “There was this other new writer at the beginning of Season 2 who disappeared in his office and never joined us in the writers room. After 2 weeks, he came to meet us and showed us his finished script. It was a comedy. FOX didn’t like the idea of having a comedy in The X-Files and told Chris Carter that it was too risky. Chris thought about it and decided to give it a shot. It became a big hit. We then included comedy episodes once a season” Frank Spotnitz on Darin Morgan writing “Humbug”.

“Once before Christmas during season 4, Darin Morgan said he wouldn’t write a script last minute. They had no script, but the crew was waiting, ready to shoot. They were talking about giving Scully cancer. Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban wrote a script within 2 days time, the writers room met for 1 day, then Chris Carter rewrote the script over Christmas and “Memento Mori” was ready to be shot.” This is the script that earned them an Emmy nomination, and was the only script with four writers’ names on it.

 

 

SDCC TV Guide’s X-Files 20th Anniversary Panel

We know. Usually you have everything tied up and pretty from us just a few minutes after anything X-Files surfaces. Excuse us this delay because we’re literally exhausted from the fantastic day we had yesterday!

We took pictures, we found video, we blogged about it, we met amazing philes and all in all, this year’s SDCC is indeed a celebration to The X-Files.

Today is just the second day of the convention and we still have quite a few events to go, but here it is our round up from yesterday’s X-Files activities.


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You can also find our pictures and the ones we’ve sourced from around the net here:

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And this is our bullet point summary of the whole panel as we live blogged on Twitter

The panel started promptly with a collage of important scenes from the show, followed by an introduction by Michael Schneider, the moderator of the show. After he introduced the writing staff invited to the panel (Darin and Glen Morgan, John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, James Wong and David Amann) he proceeded to introduce Chris Carter. The crowd gave a standing ovation to the creator and showrunner of the series. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson followed, making a dramatic entrance to the delight of the fans, yileding light torches much like the ones they used on the show.

Chris Carter reminisced about how they approached FOX to pitch the show, and how they passed on it at first. He used visual aids to present the idea to the studio and Gillian was curious which kind of aids did he use.

Anderson also joked about the question of whether Mulder and Scully had gotten together at some point, “We shot a sex scene, its hidden somewhere,” she said between laughs, to Duchovny’s surprise. “I bet you’ve said that before.” She completed also adding that something had happened between their characters since they indeed had a child together.

Vince Gilligan shared that he loved the series before he even got to write for it, and how he learned everything he knows and uses in his own show from working on The X-Files. David Duchovny added that the show was so flexible that it could encompass many ideas that he always thought they should come back to and do a third movie. On this topic, Chris Carter dodged the question a number of times during the panel, but Gillian Anderson showed her support of the idea. While she’s not drawn to the option of bringing back the show on a limited series, she would come back for XF3, and the fans went crazy at her response.

Anderson also reminisced about how she didn’t realize that Mulder was so attractive: “I would have gone there a lot sooner!” she said and the crowd hooted and whistled.

Chris Carter seems to think that if the show were on today it would still be very valid, specially with all the NSA topics out there; how you use the technology such as cellphones and computers would have of course be the main difference, but the paranoia would remain the same.

Darin Morgan spoke about what a delight it was to work with David and Gillian, and joked about his own role as the infamous Flukeman. John Shiban also had stories to tell when he spoke about how his own son became part of X-Files history, playing the first incarnation of the newborn baby William, Mulder and Scully’s son. Jerry Shiban came on stage and Gillian joked that he could perfectly well be their son as the young man resembles her.

Chris Carter also spoke about the Season 10 comics that have just been released and how working with Joe Harris has been a great collaboration, with great ideas and stories that can stand on its own. On that note, (SPOILERS) they also spoke about the return of The Lone Gunmen to the storyline, and their demise in the original series. John Shiban spoke about writing “Jump The Shark” and a logical closure to the characters. They also spoke about how the character of Frohike came about.

When asked about their favorite episodes and scariest moments, Glen Morgan spoke about “Home” – for him it was a good moment to talk about Scully’s desire to be a mother some day, and actually analyzing what a true home is. David also remembered about teaching Scully how to hit a baseball in “The Unnatural” and the dance at the end of “Post Modern Prometheus”.

Gillian also speaks of the conversation on the rock from “Quagmire”, which she admits to not remember very much and David joked that that’s the one where he confesses that he was born with one leg! The panel discussed their favorite bad guys: the Flukeman, Eddie Van Blundht, – Howard Gordon joked that Darin Morgan should have shown everyone his tail. James Wong said that his favorite was Eugene Tooms. Gillian agreed but that he also didn’t like the “big oil guy”, not remembering exactly the character she was referring to and Chris joked about if she had even seen the show. David remembered how hard it was to react to some of the bad guys because they were composed later on CGI, and John Shiban added that Chris always pushed them to make their bad guys scarier. Carter added that to him the scarier ones were the Peacock brothers and the Well Manicured man, played by John Neville. The mention of the late actor brought cheers from the audience.

One of the audience members asked what would Mulder and Scully do if they went on a real date, to which Anderson deadpanned “Have sex.” Duchovny added that then they would have dinner and Carter completed saying that it would probably be BBQ. This exchange caused and eruption of cheers and laughter from the fans. Chris said that they fell in love in the pilot, the minute that she walked into the X-Files basement office.

They also spoke of the “Scully Effect” where thousands of women have been inspired in their personal and professional paths by Scully’s choices. Gillian appreciated how her character’s strenght, how people listened to her and she was a decent human being, Carter spoke about how Scully was his fantasy woman: strong, smart, stubborn, resourceful and tough, how her upbringing caused her to be a multidimensional character since she was spiritual but at the same time a scientist that stuck to her beliefs. “She had these two warring sides to her character,” said Carter.

Gillian was also asked abotu her experience shooting House of Mirth, how it was complicated to film and to get the story ideas through.

Chris was also asked about the fact that the mythology formula has been credited to him, and he recognized that many showrunners and writers do put it to The X-Files to create such scheme or popularizing it; the episodes “Colony” and “End Game” were the ones that allowed them to establish that format.

When asked which was their favorite place to shoot, Duchovny admitted that they grew up in Vancouver, that there would be the home of the show, which surprised Gillian, probably motivated to the constant comments back in the day that Duchovny didn’t like being so far from Los Angeles, eventually motivating the show’s move to California. She admitted that both crews in both cities were different but while being in Los Angeles they were alowed more time off, Vancouver always brings nostalgia to them.

When asked if Gillian would work with David in another project besides X-Files, she joked that apparently they couldn’t, and David argumented that there’s something sacred about Mulder and Scully and that he wouldn’t want them to work together outside of that.

Chris Carter couldn’t avoid the XF3 question any longer, and he argumented that he needs a reason to get excited and do it all over again, because it is a lot of hard work, but that seeing crowds like the ones that showed at Ballroom 20 was inspiring to him.

Anderson finished up the panel by auctioning a Mulder and Scully cardboard standee, which proceeds are going to charity. Duchovny joked that this was the way they were going to fund the movie.

Online the fans followed closely this event, making the topic trend worldwide on Twitter, under the hashtag #XF20.

An additional panel for the Season 10 comics has been organized by IDW will show today. More information and pictures as they come!

2013 Emmy Nominations For X-Files Alumns

Is that time of the year again, the Emmy Awards nominations are in and, while we are not surprised of this year’s nominees, we are delighted that Homeland, from Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, and Breaking Bad, from Vince Gilligan, took an amazing number of nods. American Horror Story, which James Wong writes and executive produces took the most nominations of the trio because of the technical nominations.


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Here’s the list for each show:

Breaking Bad (Vince Gilligan)

  • Outstanding Drama Series
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Brian Cranston
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Jonathan Banks
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Aaron Paul 
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Anna Gunn
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series – George Mastras
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series – Thomas Schnauz
  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series – Michelle MacLaren
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series – Skip McDonald
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series – Kelley Dixon
  • Outstanding Sound Editing for a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series

Homeland (Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa)

  • Outstanding Drama Series
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Damian Lewis
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Claire Danes
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Mandy Patinkin
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Morena Baccarin
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – Rupert Friend
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series – Henry Bromell
  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series – Leslie Linka Glaren
  • Outstanding Interactive Program
  • Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series

American Horror Story: Asylum (James Wong)

  • Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie – Jessica Lange
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie – Sarah Paulson
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie – James Cromwell
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie – Zachary Quinto
  • Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Movie – Episode “I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)”
  • Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Movie – Episode “Welcome to Briarcliff”
  • Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie – Fabienne Bouville
  • Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or a Movie (Non-Prosthetic)
  • Outstanding Prothetic Makeup for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries a Movie or a Special
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries, a Movie or a Special

Congratulations to all the nominees!

 

The Art of “The X-Files”

ADGOn May 19th 2013, fans of The X-Files were given a rare treat; a chance to spend time with the minds behind the art of The X-Files. The event, held at the iconic Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, and celebrated by the Art Directors Guild Film Society, the American Cinematheque, and The Hollywood Reporter, brought together production designer Corey Kaplan (The X-Files, Scandal, Cold Case, Robbery Homicide Division), writer-producer-director Vince Gilligan (The X-Files, Breaking Bad, The Lone Gunmen, Harsh Realm) and Creator-Writer-Producer-Director Chris Carter (The X-Files, Harsh Realm, Millennium, The Lone Gunmen). Moderated by production designer John Muto (Home Alone, River’s Edge, Terminator 2 3-D), the event presented the art and design of The X-Files by screening “Je Souhaite” and “Triangle” and included a panel discussion.

What made this event unique is that as a television viewing audience, we often celebrate and obsess over actors, and at times writers and producers. We become deeply connected to the characters and to the story of the hardships they face. However, the world that is created by the Art Department under the guidance of the Production Designer often goes unmentioned. This is likely due to the ability of the visual medium to submerse the viewer into an environment so compelling that we momentarily suspend belief. We forget the complexities of set design and construction, of picking out the right costumes and maintaining outfit continuity, of choosing makeup that both enhances the character yet seems realistic, of creating convincing special effects, and the arduous search for the perfect location. The style that unifies the image goes unnoticed because Production Design, when done right, complements the story and actors so well it becomes their world.

It is the job of the Production Designer to tell a visual story by taking the words off the page of the script and manifesting them on screen. Working alongside the cinematography department, they create a world that both matches and enhances the characters and their story. By utilizing sets, locations, props, special effects, costume design, framing, lighting, and pacing, the image communicates not only visual information but also emotional information.

Production Design on The X-Files took this a step farther. The visuals of The X-Files not only brought us into the world of Mulder and Scully, they also gave validity to a science fiction genre that is often plagued with big ideas but campy production by telling complex stories with fantastical elements in a believable way. With The X-Files, sci-fi suddenly found a mainstream audience.  


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The Pilot

vlcsnap-00025The pilot does an excellent job of setting up the viewer for the nature of the show by utilizing emotional information through production design. After a fade in, we see a female running in a sky blue nightgown, her figure barely lit by the moon as she becomes encapsulated by the shadows of the woods. We only see her face as a dark figure approaches and a bright light fills the screen then fades to the dead body of the young woman. In this scene we understand her fear through the visual medium and we are left to question what happened.

A low lighting source enhances the production design by appearing throughout the pilot with several different types of light: moonlight, streetlights, headlights, flashlights, slideshow projector lights, police lights, fire light, and candlelight. At its most intense moments, the lighting is reduced and the use of window shades, rain, and foliage are used to create eerie or strong emotional moments, such as when Mulder reveals his sister’s abduction to Scully in the motel room. The episode features prominent sets such as Mulder’s office, which automatically gives the viewer visual cues as to Mulder’s character. The IWTB poster, photos, and office clutter suggest a man both obsessed with the paranormal and his work. vlcsnap-00030Along with the dim lighting situations, the costume design maintained a subdued neutral color palette and established the two tone suits for Mulder and Scully. For visual effects, the chimpanzee alien body in the casket, the nosebleed from Theresa Hoese, and the leaves circling Billy towards the end of the episode all stand out as well done and help drive the episode forward. At the end of the episode, as Cancerman logs the evidence, the viewer is informed of the vastness of the room by the large shelving units, and even though you only see one row, you are led to believe the room is much larger. The use of signage outside the door clues the viewer in that the evidence is being stored in a secure facility at the heart of the Pentagon, and the viewer suddenly realizes how deep the conspiracy goes.

Favorite scenes from The Pilot

vlcsnap-00029When Scully enters the FBI in the beginning to go to Blevins office and passes all the office workers, and even as she talks to Blevins, you see people through the blinds moving around. This gives the viewer visual cues that there is a much larger world than what is being filmed.­

The silhouette of Cancerman, with his head bowed, as Billy recounts the abductions in the brightly lit interrogation room. This scene is interesting in that the viewer questions why Cancerman is there, and begins to wonder about his connection to what happened to Billy.

vlcsnap-00016‘Home’

It would be easy to congratulate the special effects department on the makeup and prosthetics of the Peacock family and be done with this; however, this episode features some extraordinarily well designed production design with a remarkably small amount of locations for an episode including: the Peacock’s House, the Sheriff’s station, the Hotel, and the Sheriff’s House. As with the pilot, lighting during the opening scenes plays an important role in setting the mood. The lighting filters through the vines with the sickle and then continues with the addition of candlelight to set the ambiance for the grisly birthing scene. This low level lighting enhances the suspense while the candlelight enhances the abnormalities of the Peacock’s faces. Following the birth, the shot of the baby’s last view as the man shovels dirt onto his body is riveting.  The baby’s hand also plays a symbolic role of the need for help as it reaches from the dirt where the boys playing baseball discover it. It is only later that we see the baby’s body, most likely so that the viewer does not write off what happened to the child as a result of his deformities.

“Home” makes great use of light and dark with manyvlcsnap-00017 of the exterior shots of the town showing a sunny, perfect day in contrast to the interior of the Peacock’s House which is starkly dark in comparison. While the darkness is technically due to a lack of electricity, it serves as a symbolic way to hide the dark secrets of the Peacock family, which Mulder and Scully later begin to uncover, as they enter the house upon seeing a pair of bloody scissors. Lighting is effectively used as the camera zooms in on the eyes of a hidden figure as Mulder and Scully search the house. 

Probably the most interesting aspect of “Home” is that it really deals with the struggle of two sides trying to maintain their way of life. As the Sheriff takes a nondescript gray box out of his desk, he opens it and pulls out a pistol. We see his character struggle with the thought of using it. He puts it back. Later, as the Peacock brothers get in their car to head to the Sheriff’s home, the choice of car is of great interest as it lends to the notion of a bygone era, which this episode heavily deals with. The Peacocks and the Sherriff are both in a struggle to hold on to their way of life against outside forces. As the Sheriff is being bludgeoned, the camera angle from his wife’s POV, along with her attempt to muffle her anguish as his blood creeps along the floor towards her fingers, heightens the viewer’s sense of impending doom. The viewer fears for her, knowing she can’t escape. Some may have thought this scene too brutal, and in fact the episode was banned for years from being re-shown on the network, but this brutal scene highlights the desire for peace with the reality of violence.

vlcsnap-00022The success of the production design in “Home” lies in locations that feel like real places rather than poke a rural living. As Mulder uses a 2×4 to open a door and the trap springs, the door cracks from the pressure and the panes break. It makes the viewer feel as if the characters are in true danger. The special effects to make the Peacock mother a quadriplegic was also both outstanding and wholly believable. The old family photos are informative and help to identify the woman to the viewer. Another item of note is that the costume design in this episode absolutely fits the characters. For the Sheriff who took great pride in his job, his uniform was clean and pressed. While the clothes of the Peacocks were dirty and disheveled, their costumes fit with the rural styles of the Amish and Mennonites, two equally reclusive groups that take pride in family.

Favorite Scene from ‘Home’

The burial of the baby was excellently executed. The visuals were both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. The Peacock brother crying while another comforts him; the dark figure with a shovel in the rain as lightning illuminates his frame; the baby’s wails as its hand protrudes its cover. It culminated in a deeply moving scene.

‘Theef’

vlcsnap-00008The introduction to this episode does a good job of setting up Doctor Robert Wieder as a wealthy, successful family man.  He appears by all accounts a nice person. We glean this from the large house, the physician of the year award, his interaction with his family, and the inclusion of several framed photos of the family smiling. However, all is not well as Wieder’s father-in-law throws back the covers to get into bed and there’s dirt in the shape a small man on the sheets. A slightly disfigured man, Orel Peattie, appears behind him and the house alarm goes off.

In this episode the lighting is brighter than in the previously mentioned episodes. Here the episode uses the sound of the motion detector and the length of time it takes for Wieder to investigate to heighten the tension. Weider slips in the blood as he finds his father in law hung. “Theef” is scrawled on the wall using the victim’s blood, the body of the victim framed perfectly. The house of the doctor’s, which is well lit, clean, and well decorated with floral arrangements and framed artwork, stands in stark contrast to the dark, yellow lit, rundown apartment where Peattie is staying. It’s wonderfully done, which is also the reason I picked this episode. We see an obese woman hand rolling the cheap carpet in a room filled with cheap furniture and lit by cheap lighting fixtures that are poorly maintained. Tvlcsnap-00007he wall paper is damaged in places, ripped, bulging out, or water damaged.  Peattie’s apartment is filled with assorted bottles and raw chicken feet. We see an assortment of small puppets, in particular one that matches the victim at the beginning of the episode. The importance of family and furthermore the importance of the family photos is later illustrated when Wieder’s wife notices an empty picture frame. After finding a dirt figure in their bed, Wieder’s wife falls and seems afflicted with an odd disease. The special effects are well done and the bulging skin adds to the discomfort of her affliction. As she lies in the hospital bed, her wounds look horrendous and quite painful. The appearance of Theef on the scans was a nice touch and furthered the notion that the doctor can’t hide behind science and that there are nefarious forces at work. We later see very little of an occult store, however, the neon Palm Reader sign along with an assortment of jars and bones is all the information the viewer needs. The interaction between Peattie and the vending machine later in the episode is really interesting. By using the device of the vending machine and the microwave, we know more about the character and his lack of understanding of the modern world. Furthermore, the microwave is used as a tool to foreshadow the radiation death in the MRI machine of Dr. Wieder’s wife. After microwaving popcorn, Peattie microwaves a puppet containing the photo of Dr. Wider’s wife; the microwave beeping is eerily disturbing as it signifies the end of her life.

vlcsnap-00015Later in the episode, the cemetery with small markers amongst the graffiti in the inner city is interesting. It stands in contrast to the cemeteries that are normally in large green fields and have elegant headstones. It’s where the city can bury the unclaimed cheaply. There’s also something oddly endearing about Peattie talking to his deceased daughter’s skull in a box. In the final scenes of the episode, the puppets are well used as Scully momentarily loses her vision and the doctor suffers immense pain as Peattie presses a knife into his puppet’s chest. Of particular note, the viewer assumes the puppet will be for his daughter, as Peattie has been attacking the doctor’s family, but likely due to the loss of his own daughter, he is unwilling to harm the doctor’s child, and so attacks Wieder instead.

Favorite Scenes from ‘Theef’

I picked this episode for the care taken in Dr. Weider’s house vs. Peattie’s apartment. The change in atmosphere is remarkable and is reflected in the lighting, the décor, and in the characters.

‘Tithonus’vlcsnap-00004

The story begins with a woman pushing a mail cart down long abandoned hallways as a man, Alfred Fellig, with a cold, apathetic demeanor, follows her from afar. He takes no action to hide himself. (It’s important to note that Fellig is a reference to the aptly named New York photographer Weegee who was known for taking crime scene photos prior to police arrival). The woman becomes frightened of Fellig’s presence and pushes the elevator button quickly. Once in the elevator, she is relieved to be surrounded by others, but Fellig is able to get on the elevator at the last moment. As he looks into the reflection of the door, the passengers are monochromatic while he and the objects around him are in color. He exits the elevator to her relief. Moments later, he’s seen running down 17 flights of stairs. The lights in the elevator flicker, the elevator shakes, the cord breaks, and the passengers free fall to their inevitable deaths. Fellig is ready and prepared with an old, medium format camera in hand to capture the last glimpse of life fade from the woman’s hand. It’s important to note here that the nail polish used on the woman, bright red, adds in her identification as the owner of the hand.

In the next scene, Mulder and Scully are completing boring background checks in a nondescript and cramped shared office where the desks are right next to each other. It’s quite different than the office we are used to and highlights their recent troubles with the FBI higher ups. Later in the episode, a business man with chest pains exits a New York bus. Fellig shows up, and the man appears gray against the colored background. Here color is used to foreshadow this man’s death. The man enters his apartment corridor to check mail and suffers a heart attack. As he lies dying, Fellig steps in and captures his last moments.

The X-Files continuously makes good use of long corridors and vast rooms of shelves, and that is true even in this episode. As Scully investigates Fellig’s background while in the police basement, there is a great deal of depth shown by using multiple shelves which alludes to the vast quantity of data Scully wades through in search of information. As Scully goes through the old files, Fellig’s photo shows he never seems to get any older. It’s worth noting that the folders as well as the papers within show age. Another interesting note is the form design which changes as the document gets older with the fine print showing an increase in processing fees over the years. It’s the attention to detail that makes the production design of The X-Files so good. vlcsnap-00002The screen time for these documents is short and they may have gotten away with the same form and new folders, but they went the extra mile for authenticity and it shows. Later in the episode, we see a man running in the dark, his light up shoes lighting as he runs, while his attacker pursues. We barely catch a glimpse of the bloody knife as a shadow shoves him to the ground and stabs him to death for his shoes. As the attacker is prying the shoes off the corpse, Fellig is taking photos from a fire escape. After the attacker flees, Fellig goes for a closer look, but the attacker returns and stabs him, stealing his camera. Fellig, still alive, pries the knife from his back and struggles to stand in the darkness of the street, leaving the knife behind. The streets look convincingly like New York, while being filmed in Los Angeles. Later in the episode, Fellig comes clean to Scully about his ability to determine when people are about to die. As she sits in a darkened car with him, they watch as a prostitute is harassed by a man. Fellig switches on his camera, and Scully, fearing for the woman’s life and incredulous as to the lack of care on Fellig’s part, exits the car and runs toward the woman. The fact that Scully narrowly avoids an oncoming postal truck, foreshadows what is about to happen next. Scully handcuffs the man harassing the prostitute, but when the woman goes to leave, she steps off the sidewalk and into the path of a big rig. It’s interesting to note that Scully criticizes Fellig for not stepping in to help victims, but when she comes to the aid of one, the victim dies anyway, and Scully may in some part have influenced how that happened.

When Scully goes to Fellig’s apartment, the viewer sees that Fellig lives meagerly. The horror of immortality is shown in his scars and in his demeanor; he has lost all hope and seeks only death. His apartment serves to highlight this using set design. There’s a wonderful scene here where Scully runs her hand across the photo taken in 1929 of a dead woman, and she asks Fellig how he knows when someone is going to die. She is visibly shaken which is interesting for a woman who has had some fascination with death since childhood. Wardrobe did an excellent job of capturing the outfits of that era in the old photos. As Fellig talks about seeing death, he and Scully are in the darkroom, illuminated by the red safelight. While there are quite a few special effects in this episode, the blood dripping from the camera lens after Fellig and Scully are shot is a great touch.

Favorite Scene from ‘Tithonus’

The Shooting of Fellig and Scully was remarkable. vlcsnap-00005The close quarters of the dark room provide for an intimate exchange between Fellig and Scully after they are shot. As he grabs her hand and tells her to close her eyes, the monotone color drains from her body and into his, and he finally receives the death he’s been seeking all these years. It’s a moving moment that has profound consequences for Scully as this implies, as Clyde Bruchman told her several years earlier, that she is immortal.

Corey2The X-Files’ Corey Kaplan

Corey Kaplan came into an already established television show at the beginning of its 6th season, having never done a television series. After getting a call to interview for an open Production Design position on The X-Files due to her previous work with director/producer/cinematographer Michael Watkins and producer Bernie Caulfield, she showed up armed with an art portfolio and a skateboard. Choosing to be herself in the interview, thinking she would never get the job, she told them their show was art. She got the job. What came next is a testament to her talent and perseverance as a designer. Without any architectural drawings for the sets from Vancouver, she re-created sets from photos. The first set for season 6 was the nuclear power plant complete with a tank and an alien shedding its skin. With crew taking bets on how long she would last, she made a scaled model of the set in her den in the wee hours of the morning and then pitched it as a permanent set. Remarkably, the set was built and then used throughout the rest of the series as Mulder’s basement, a ship holding compartment, a high tech jail, an oil rig interior, an NSA workspace, and so on. When the show ended in 2002, it was the last set to come down. Of particular note, was Corey’s ability to pick up on design elements found throughout the first five seasons and carry them forward in a way that flowed seamlessly for the television viewer. Her wild success on The X-Files garnered her an Emmy nomination and two Art Director’s Guild awards for Excellence in Production Design. Her later work on Cold Case, and currently on Scandal, shows that her employment on The X-Files was anything but a fluke.

XFN’s Garrett Devol is a former production design student at the American Film institute and currently works as a multi-media developer and graphic designer for a small-business federal contractor.

‘The X-Files’ at San Diego Comic-Con

Twenty years after The X-Files first graced our screens, the series’ cast and crew is headed to San Diego Comic-Con. If you’re not familiar with conventions, Comic-Con International is the comic-con to go to. Every July, 130,000 fans of TV, film, comics, video games, and many other genres pack into the convention center in downtown San Diego. 

This year, the convention runs from Thursday, July 18th through Sunday the 21st, with preview night on Wednesday. Generally, the floor opens every day at 9:30am and close at 7pm, except for Sunday when everything wraps up at 5pm. 

There are lots of X-Files events happening at SDCC this year, and XFN will be covering them all. Here’s a look at what’s in store:

TV Guide Panel 

This year, the biggest XF event by far is TV Guide Magazine’s The X-Files‘ 20th Anniversary Panel. It will feature Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Chris Carter, David Amann, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, and James Wong. We’re not sure that they could really fit anyone else on stage if they wanted to. 

The panel will take place on Thursday from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in Ballroom 20. TV Guide’s Los Angeles Bureau Chief Michael Schnieder will moderate. 

If you’re not attending, don’t worry because XFN will be bringing you full coverage of the event. We will live tweet the entire panel from our Twitter, with a few of those updates on our Facebook as well. You will also find a full write-up here after the event. The panel has its own official Twitter account that you can follow, too. 

IDW Publishing’s The X-Files: Season 10

IDW Publishing will be holding several events for the new X-Files comics! There will be an entire panel devoted to the subject on Friday at 1:45pm in Room 5AB. It will include Gillian Anderson, Chris Carter, Dean Haglund, IDW Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall, writer Joe Harris, and editor Denton Tipton. We will be live tweeting this panel as well.

There will also be a comic signing at the IDW booth (#2643) for the Issue #1 Convention Cover Variant on Friday at 3:30. This will include Gillian Anderson, Chris Carter, Joe Harris, and cover artist Joe Corroney.

Lightspeed Fine Art

The Lightspeed Fine Art booth (#3745) will be hosting David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Chris Carter. On Thursday after the X-Files panel, there will be a combined photo-op will all three of them for $275. There is one with just David and Gillian for $200. Gillian will also be doing solo photo-ops Thursday through Saturday (price TBA). 

Gillian ($60), David ($80), and Chris ($30) will all be signing autographs on Thursday afternoon, though Gillian will have autograph time scheduled through Saturday. Autographs for Chris and David, as well as the combined photo-ops, must be pre-ordered through Lightspeed by calling them at 949-679-4444. Tickets for photos with Gillian or her autograph can be pre-ordered or bought directly at the booth during the convention. 

Follow Lightspeed Fine Art on Twitter or Facebook for more updates. 

Dean Haglund

In addition to his appearance at the IDW Season 10 panel, Dean will also be making two other appearances. On Friday from 8:45-9:45pm, he will be in Room 5AB for the Space Command panel, and on Saturday he will be on the Femme Fatales panel in Room 6DE from 8:15pm to 9:15pm. 

Corey Kaplan

X-Files production designer Corey Kaplan will be at Comic-Con this year. She will be on Saturday’s Film and TV Production Designers of the Art Directors Guild panel from 10:30am to 11:30am in Room 24ABC. Corey will also be on the Sails Pavillion following the panel for autographs from 11:45am to 12:45pm. 

This is currently everything X-Files related on the Comic-Con schedule. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated this week, and check in here for full write-ups of the events. SDCC 2013 is going to be a very exciting convention!