The Art or the Artist?


In the aftermath of the severe disappointment that was “My Struggle II” (10×6), the hullabaloo on the internet has been, well, loud. And is that a cry of mutiny I hear rising from the din?

Well, our guest post today is from Michael O’Connor who adds his very astute, not to mention loyal, 2 cents into this mess and it’s about friggin’ time. His original post can be found here, and since he appears to be a glutton for punishment, do check out Why I Love The Phantom Menace over on his blog

 

i want to believe

Comments sections are rarely a place to go for insightful discourse. Even so, there’s one recurring comment that rankles me more than most in any conversation about a particular creative property, and it’s this: suggesting an artist be forcibly removed from his or her own creation.

The latest call for revolution has been directed at Chris Carter, the creator and showrunner for The X-Files. Some folks claim that he doesn’t “get” the X-Files, and someone else should be brought in who understands the concept better than the guy who created and ran it for nine seasons going on ten (and two movies).

That kind of sentiment deeply aggravates me; it demonstrates a really ugly side of modern criticism and fandom: a profound lack of respect for the creator of a beloved property, impatience with anything that doesn’t recapture one’s original passion for the material, and arrogance that the critic or fan somehow knows better than the progenitor.

I’m not saying that Chris Carter is perfect, but I would rather suffer through the occasional dud of a mediocre episode than see anyone else at the helm.

In other words, I’m for the artist. How about you?

Before you answer, let me explain my position and also my struggle. When I look at an episode of The X-Files like the recent mini-season premiere (aptly named “My Struggle”), I’m perplexed. This is the guy who gave us “The Post Modern Prometheus,” “Paper Clip” and “Duane Barry,” to name just a few stellar episodes with his name attached. But “My Struggle” is not only a victim of wonky pacing and cardboard one-dimensional characterization; its greatest sin may be its misguided aim to clumsily dispose of the entire alien colonization conspiracy developed and fostered over the course of nine seasons.

It’s almost enough to make me question my faith in the man.

For the record, it wouldn’t be my first crisis of faith with a beloved creator. Comic book writers Frank Miller and Alan Moore could do no wrong for at least a decade, with works like Miller’s The Dark Knight ReturnsDaredevil: Born Again, Batman: Year One and Sin City and Moore’s V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and From Hell still ranking among my favorite series I’ve ever read. But now I’m hard-pressed to say something positive about any of their more recent works.

Even George Lucas, whose prequel trilogy I would argue is nothing short of a masterpiece (your mileage may vary, though you should at least hazard a look at my argument in favor of The Phantom Menace), is equally culpable with Steven Spielberg for a disappointing entry in the Indiana Jones series with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

crystal skull

But so what? Nobody’s perfect, and rather than treat our favorite creators like incompetent Imperial officers who have failed Darth Vader for the last time, let’s step back and embrace the things we love rather than dwell on those that didn’t work for us.

And let’s also consider that maybe, just maybe these geniuses that invented The X-Files or Star Wars orWatchmen might still have some brilliance left in the tank. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t feel confident with anyone at the reins of Indiana Jones except for Lucas and Spielberg. Ditto with Watchmen and Alan Moore (although props to Darwyn Cooke for a noble go of it with his Before Watchmen: Minutemen miniseries). And The Dark Knight Returns IV without Frank Miller–? Well, you get the point.

But you might also see a contradiction. Frank Miller may have created the world of The Dark Knight Returns, but he was using a character who had already been created by someone else: Batman. Isn’t the success and brilliance of a piece of art like Returns proof positive that the original creator should get out of the way at some point (either voluntarily or by force)? I’d say it all depends on where your sympathies lie.

Let’s take a quick detour into the origin of Batman’s creator, Bill Finger. I’d say it’s entirely possible (and even likely) that you could be a fan of the character and never have heard of Bill Finger or never have read a Finger-penned story. That isn’t because Bill didn’t write plenty of them or create the characters you know and love, because he most certainly did. He contributed to the Batman mythos for over two decades. And The Joker, Two-Face, The Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, etc. etc? It was all Bill (with a little help from Jerry Robinson).

batman v joker

And the stories still hold up. If you want original, unfiltered Batman direct from the source, you can’t go wrong with “Robin Dies at Dawn” (Batman #156) “The Origin of Batman” (Batman #47) or “The Joker” (Batman #1). Finger built the foundation upon which all other Batman stories have grown and thrived, and yet his name is completely absent from the art he created. Part of that is due to his shady partner Bob Kane taking credit and financial compensation for Bill’s creations. But part of it is also due to the fact that Batman has now been around for over 75 years and prospered in film and television with hundreds of different creators lending their considerable talents to his ongoing myth. It’s easy to be introduced to a Finger-less Batman.

On the one hand, Bill got screwed. He ended up unknown, penniless and ignored, even as Bob Kane and DC profited handsomely from his creation. On the other hand, would Batman be the cultural touchstone he is today if DC had given sole creative control of the character to Finger? If they had stopped publishing Batman stories after he died or given creative control of the films to his estate?

Who do you side with? The artist or the art? The human being affected or the fiction that inspires so many (and makes so many others wealthy)?

I’m not saying it’s easy to choose. We love the art. We want it to be around forever and we want what we feel is best for it. But we must also understand that the reason we love the art is because someone created it. They had something to say, and we listened, and it touched us and improved our lives in some way.

billfinger

Speaking for myself, I’ll say this: I prefer my art straight from the source, from the original creator. And yet, while I genuinely believe that some of these franchises shouldn’t survive beyond their creators, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to ignore whatever comes after. I can’t deny that I will probably at least take a glance. Whether that’s merely satisfying curiosity or indicative of a deeper addiction I can’t kick, I don’t know. Maybe a little of both.

Regardless, I would question any critic or “fan” who would posit that the solution to the problem of a television show (or film, or series of novels, or comic book) that they no longer enjoy is finding someone else besides the creator to run it. The far more reasonable solution to that problem is simply walking away from it.

If you’ve reached the point with a beloved franchise where you simply can’t stand it, you’ve probably gotten everything you’re going to get out of that universe, those characters, and the scenarios and themes it presents. Insisting that it can be fixed by “someone else” is playing armchair executive. You’ve ceased to engage with it as a piece of creative art and storytelling; instead you’re seeing it as a product that can be exploited and transformed to favor your tastes and predilections.

Speaking personally, I always expect that an artist I admire knows what they’re doing. I operate from that optimistic–perhaps even naive–viewpoint. When I’m confronted with something that challenges my expectations or even upsets me, I’m intrigued to explore further rather than denounce outright. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if you truly love something (or someone), you don’t waste your time and passion demanding for it to be better; you try to understand it and appreciate it for what it is.

Which is why I’m eagerly anticipating Monday’s finale of The X-Files mini-season written and directed by Mr. Carter despite the premiere’s shaky start. Ultimately, my faith can be challenged, but when it comes to art and its artist, and especially where it concerns The X-Files, I still want to believe.

—————–

Michael O’Connor is a writer, filmmaker and designer based out of Portland, Oregon. A graduate of NYU and former editor for Marvel Comics, he has been published in numerous print newspapers like The Winston Salem Journal, The Willamette Week, and The Portland Tribune as well as online sites such as Brewpublic, The New School and RetroZap! He is passionate about art in all its forms, but is particularly fond of novels, comic books, movies… and craft beer.

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70 responses to “The Art or the Artist?

  1. “I wouldn’t feel confident with anyone at the reins other than the original creator who’s been driving the series into the ground.”
    That’s the one huge nonsense statement for me. It just makes no sense to see that someone has been creating bad content for years, and then not be confident that a better writer could do it better. However, aside from that, I do agree with the main concept here, that no one should be forcibly removed from their own show. And regardless of whether we side with the art or the artist, it shouldn’t be our choice to remove someone from their brainchild. Art should be more than just a consumer product (though it’s pretty much already there) with the artist ejected whenever we don’t like what they’re doing. The revival was lackluster at best, but maybe this was just Christ dusting off the rust. I’m confident any new additions to the series could be better.

    • Chris has created some of the best hours of the X-Files in the nine seasons he’s been showrunner. Maybe not recently, sure, but claiming some mysterious stranger can come along and do what Chris has done “better” is unfair to Carter’s legacy.

      • I don’t think that’s unfair. Chris has clearly lost his way in what I believe is his egomaniacal desire to ridicule those he deems unworthy of his “art”. He did not create the X-files on his own. It has a great cast who brought the characters to life. It had a great crew that clearly went the extra mile with every episode…good or bad. I think he subverted everything that was good about the show to satisfy his childish need for revenge against those that disagree with him (refer to parts of season 8 and all of 9).

        • Revenge against those who disagree with him? I’ll admit I’m not up-to-date on the behind-the-scenes gossip, but I don’t see how such a motive would benefit him.

          • Hi Michael, thank you for replying. Although I agree with some of what you said I still feel that all the criticism directed at Chris is totally justifiable and I’m sorry I did not clarify what I was referring to. It’s not gossip, just my opinion. I think that Chris used his talents to strike back at what he thought was unfair…specifically once the Lone Gunman was cancelled he killed them off. I perceived this as a petulant reaction. Was there no other intelligent way to deal with them. He does this quite a bit. Although I think it was a mistake splitting Mulder and Scully up I was looking forward to him dealing with it in an interesting way. Instead there was nothing.

            I absolutely loved Post Modern Prometheus, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas and think that Improbable is extremely underrated. I am not a great writer and lack the ability to make myself clear sometimes. I guess I was hoping that Chris would give me something to think about. Something compelling, different and smart. I have an unholy love of his purple prose but he really dropped the ball here, the dialogue in the revival is simply ridiculous. Have you seen Babylon? I feel that’s the was the worst hour of tv I have seen in years. I believe he was blinded by his own ego.

            • I hear you, Cathy, and please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not defending Carter’s decisions nor telling others that they can’t criticize the man for pulling some boneheaded creative moves. Far from it!

              I absolutely agree that killing off the Lone Gunman was an atrocious decision, especially the way they did it, and if that was a decision made as an FU to the network, it’s a childish reaction on his part to say the least.

              I would also say that starting IWTB by just handwaving away the whole “tried by a military tribunal/fugitives on the run” cliffhanger from the season 9 finale was an ENORMOUS mistake. Think how much cooler this miniseries could have been if Mulder and Scully had been paranormal investigators moving from town-to-town, outrunning the feds and the aliens solving MOTW cases as they went?

              Holding Chris’ feet to the fire and demanding better is absolutely our right as fans. I just think that we can also be respectful and avoid openly campaigning for his removal from the show he birthed. If not because we admire the artist he currently is than at least because we admire the artist he once was.

              RE: “Babylon.” This isn’t going to make me any friends here, but I kind of dug it, aborted mess that it was. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for taking it to task, but I thought it was a damn interesting hour of TV and I loved the smorgasbord of ideas and themes it dabbled in. I mean, let’s put it this way: I’d definitely watch it again before “Space” or “Fight Club” if we’re comparing Carter duds.

              • The horrific murder of the Lone Gunmen was Frank Spotnitz’s idea along with John Shiban. Vince Gilligan held out for a while but eventually went along with the heinous plan. Chris really didn’t have much to do with it I imagine as Spotnitz, Shiban and Gilligan were dealing directly with the Fox network who wouldn’t even let them have a sendoff for the trio until they said they’d kill them. Then Fox gave the go ahead. Petulant? Maybe. But it wasn’t Chris’ petulance.

                I would also say that starting IWTB by just handwaving away the whole “tried by a military tribunal/fugitives on the run” cliffhanger from the season 9 finale was an ENORMOUS mistake. Think how much cooler this miniseries could have been if Mulder and Scully had been paranormal investigators moving from town-to-town, outrunning the feds and the aliens solving MOTW cases as they went?

                *GASP* How did you hack into my head cannon?? That’s completely how I imagined we’d find them at the start of IWTB.

                Holding Chris’ feet to the fire and demanding better is absolutely our right as fans. I just think that we can also be respectful and avoid openly campaigning for his removal from the show he birthed. If not because we admire the artist he currently is than at least because we admire the artist he once was.

                HEAR HEAR

                • Wow I did not know that about the Lone Gunman’s demise. I have never heard that before. I don’t want Chris to be forced out either but I fear what the future holds for the franchise.

                  I love that we can have this discussion. Well written posts as always and I am grateful for that.

              • Oh I get what you’re saying and don’t necessarily disagree. I would not want Chris forced out but I don’t think he takes critism well and the show suffers for it in my opinion?

                By the way I adore your ideas re: investigating on the run! I also think your post was great and it does cause me pause.

                Re: Babylon, oh dear… I will respectfully agree to disagree with you. It was unbelievably offensive. But to each their own.

                Thanks for listening?

                • Sorry I did not mean to end thT with a question mark. I blame my sausage shaped fingers for that one. 🤗

                • No, I don’t think he does take criticism well… which is why the show’s weaknesses seem to have expanded rather than shrunk.

                  I think it’s a case of “This is what worked so of course there’s nothing wrong with it and of course it’ll work again, just give it a minute.”

        • I do think Carter is in an artistic slump, to put it mildly. But I also think that while he may have blinders on to where the franchise went wrong and unjustifiably blames the shipper element for hijacking it, he’s sincerely invested in The X-Files and wants it to succeed. This is his life’s work.

          • I agree that no one sees themselves as the villain…I certainly don’t see him as such. 😉

            At the same time I can point to Millennium or Harsh Realm and ask him what happened there…or IWTB or season 9 and lots of 8 etc etc. Were those his life’s work? I bet they would have been if they met the same critical and commercial success of early XF.

            I’m going to stop beating around the bush though, now that this season is over and we look at the result.

            Does a film or piece of music belong to the artist or not when it’s released into the wild? I guess the most knee jerk response is “yes” it belongs to the artist but I don’t think it’s that simple.

            TV and Film, music (especially) are participatory, ongoing experiences for the viewers. It is different from a photo or painting. Artists remix all the time..their own music and others, sampling etc.

            People remake movies, spend countless hours creating fan edits of their favorite to remove or add what they think makes them good or bad.

            So, CC came up with this awesome idea for a TV series and pitched it. No one thought it would come to anything but the network liked the pilot and kept it alive..along with a lot of hard core fans early on.

            He deserves the sole credit for that but not the continued execution for ten years and two movies, video games etc.

            That credit morphed and changed, improved and worsened independent of what ever CC thought of at the very beginning. Regardless, why did he do it? To just create art? Hardly. He wanted to make a hit and make money and he did that by creating an amazing show that shaped TV history BUT he needed money, fans and continued ratings to continue. He needed the network buying into it and keeping the money flowing.

            When you piss the number of people off he has in this season (and in the latter two before) that a guest poster comes in to defend him and it takes on a weight of it’s own…there is something to it beyond just a guy and his art.

            To me to suggest that we just take our ball and go home if Chris doesn’t or can’t see the forest for the trees is a bit…I don’t know…weak? If he was the sole writer, director, producer etc then ya..we’d have no choice but we do. There are.

            At the end of the day the fans of this show want to see justice done if they were going to try anyway…so imo that means making the best future episodes possible….that also means imo that CC shouldn’t write them.

            Anyway…end of my rants on this. It’s all subjective 😉

            • I appreciate your willingness to engage on the topic and speak honestly and intelligently about all this, John. We may disagree in the end, but that’s OK.

              Keep in mind that my original piece WAS titled with a question mark. I wanted to get people thinking about this topic and I’m excited that so many of you rose to the challenge and made your own call. It’s not my intention to lecture anyone on how they should feel, but I do feel very strongly about creators and artists and especially about Chris Carter and The X-Files and I wanted to make my point as persuasively as I could, even as I acknowledged my own doubts and hypocrisies in adopting my particular position.

              You are absolutely right that art can’t continue to exist without an audience. And I am sure that if Carter continues to piss off enough people, he will entirely lose the good will he once engendered and will either lose control of the X-Files or the franchise will fold up for good. When that day happens, I personally think the franchise should end. Your mileage may vary.

              On one final point, I want to say this: there is very little art that is popular and in the public eye that is not (or was not) dependent on financial compensation. I think this whole notion that art and money have to be mutually exclusive is nonsense. Sure, Chris Carter would like to make a living off The X-Files; so does every other artist doing anything at any point in human history. You don’t think Shakespeare was getting paid for his plays?

              The quality of the X-Files speaks for itself and in my eyes, it qualifies as art. The day it becomes just another mass market product to please the fickle attention spans of those who can’t appreciate the artist(s) behind it is the day that it ceases to live up to that term.

  2. Chris Carter’s biggest problem is his ego and his unfounded disrespect for the characters he created as well as the fans he had. He seems to me an artist spiraling towards some sort of madness. He looks like he is using the X-files as his platform to make fun of everyone who does not agree with him. The miniseries was just one big fuck you to the majority of the fans. Not just those who stuck around for more than 20 years but to all the new ones as well. I really don’t think what he created in season 10 can be considered art. It was neither challenging to the viewer nor saying anything except unbelievable contempt (Babylon anyone! ugh that was horrible)

    We loved the characters he created, but those characters would be nothing without the actors who brought so much to them. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are his biggest assets and he threw them away. What a waste.

    He is laughing all the way to the bank at all of us “petulant” fans. I don’t think the franchise will survive another round of his bullshit. Sorry, although I wanted to believe I do not anymore and that makes me very sad.

    • I don’t disagree with your feelings about season 10 and I certainly think Chris could do better. I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to make fans unhappy or “laughing all the way to the bank” though. He made some decisions that were not popular and that a lot of people (myself included) believe to be ill-advised (to put it politely). I still stand by my admiration for the man, however. The X-Files is ultimately all about faith, and I think a lot of our faiths have been challenged with season 10.

  3. Chris Carter not only lost his touch, he lost touch with reality. He knew he had six episodes, so why take two and squeeze a years long story into …the two? The writing was god awful and he wasnt even true to the characters. Ive been there since 1993, so Ive had some experience with the series to say the least. My favorite two episodes this year were the Weremonster and Home Again…both of which where good old fashioned xfiles…ironically, not written by Carter. I think its not crazy or too much to ask to have Frank Spotnitz or Morgan or someone new take over the meat of the series…it gives it a fresh take and propells it w new insight and interesting storytelling. Im seriously questioning Carters sanity when one minute he says William is Mulder’s son, and the next “we dont know” that Mulder and Scully once again share a “plantonic love”…REALLY? I think if I were sleeping with someone since 2000 and had a child with them , I wouldnt call that platonic. Estranged or not…I dont think he knows what platonic means. Either that or hes trying to recapture the MSR of the glory days, but seriously, you cant go home again…they evolved and so did the audience. I hope to God s11 gets some new writers and patches up his mess. Im def not in the minority on this…fresh air…fresh air!

    • I thought Were Monster was great too and definitely the saving grace of the season. I would love to see some of the other writers return for Season 11 as well, but I hope that Chris will remain in his role as showrunner and overseer. It’s just not the X-Files without him.

    • I think that CC was trying to recapture the glory days, and that pursuit backfired on him. Even more sadly, I think he did it because he thought he had figured out what the fans wanted: The X-Files circa Season 3.

      He miscalculated dramatically, but I can’t bring myself to wish him to walk the plank of his own boat.

      The paternity back and forths, the plot takesies backsies… those have been around in full force since Season 8. I didn’t appreciate them then. I appreciate them less now.

      • So, did this plot backfire because the fans *didn’t* really want The X-Files circa Season 3? (Because I know I did). Or because trying to recapture the glory days was a pursuit destined to fail (because you can’t go home again and other cliches)? Because I find it ironic that people say what was wrong with this season was its reliance on nostalgia, when I sat down to watch it hoping for nothing /but/ nostalgia, only to be thoroughly disappointed because what I saw was NOT The X-Files circa Season 3 but more like The X-Files: the season that comes after season 9, except that there’s been a fifteen year gap during which Chris Carter has forgotten the mythology, and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have been polishing their “old fogey” impressions.

  4. Yeah, I totally thought Bob Kane created Batman…

  5. I appreciate the effort Michael makes with respects to art and the artist but he leaves out one very significant fact.

    The X-Files has always been a collaborative process. He did not create, writer and direct ALL the episodes in the series. He created the story and then many, many other talented directors and writers made it what it eventually became.

    So, I do not find it objectionable in the least to ask him to take a back seat to the directing and writing duties for any future episodes. IF he loves his baby that much I would think he would want it to shine regardless of who is doing the work.

    That Michael is a fan of the prequels severely curtails my thoughts on his point of view on the medium. They were objectively a poor attempt to recapture the OT. Not with regards to the story but with the writing, dialogue, directing (sound familiar?).

    Despite what CC thinks, the X-Files (like SW) is part of the culture and are iconic pieces of our lives. Of course CC can continue to do with the show what he likes much like Lucas did with the prequels (as is their right) but the bottom line is that both are commercial ventures which rely on fan participation to succeed.

    There’s a reason The Force Awaken took a lot from a A New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back and not the prequels…because they have become thought of as inferior episodes in the story.

    Let me just finish with this. CC can continue down the road as he chooses but he may end up tarnishing the legacy of his his masterpiece to the point no one cares much anymore.

    • Hi John, thanks for the feedback. First off, I’d like to say that yes, I am a proud defender of the prequels and feel that they have a lot to offer to anyone open to experiencing them with an open mind. I don’t think they are an attempt AT ALL to recapture the OT, but rather to expand and broaden the definition of what Star Wars can be.

      You are correct that TFA took a lot from ANH, to the extent that it is pretty much a carbon copy of that film. Great art is not just copying what was successful previously; it’s striking out on your own and doing something different and risky.

      The prequels are not OBJECTIVELY bad, just as nothing is OBJECTIVELY bad; you can say they are SUBJECTIVELY bad, but that is an opinion. Nothing is objectively good or bad.

      You raise a perfectly valid point that the X-Files is a collaborative piece of art, just as a film is, just as most art is outside of perhaps painting and novel-writing (depending on the influence of the editor). I am certainly not saying that other voices are not welcome, but it is ultimately CC who created the show, guided it, and oversaw the other voices who came in to add their contributions. Spotnitz, Gilligan, the Morgans, Wong… none of them would have been there if not for Chris.

      I would agree that X-Files Season 10 was a disappointment. For me, at least, and it sounds like for several others. But I would rather see Chris tarnish the “legacy of his masterpiece” as you put it than to see it pulled from his control and given to someone else. It sounds like we both agree that it is a critic or fan’s right to feel angry about the quality of the work, to criticize the writing, direction, whatever, but it’s incredibly tacky to campaign for a creator to lose the right to his own creation.

      • Chris has already lost sight of his own creation. Fox will ultimately decide what to do with it. I certainly won’t of course but if enough of us agree then Chris will be SOL regardless unless he listens.

        As far as the prequels being subjectively inferior. I disagree. The dialogue (as an example) on it’s own is objectively poor, not good, not believable.

        Entire movies worth of attention has been spent on why the prequels are objectively bad in comparison to what is objectively considered the opposite. Sure, there are always someone, somewhere who will argue the point but to say there is in effect no bad movies (everything is subjective) is mind boggling.

        If that is true then there are no great movies either.

        TFA decided to copy the better story, the more iconic universe and characters for a reason. Yes, great art is ultimately unique comparatively but to say the prequels embody that is a bit disingenuous. Saying that , I did agree that the story was good. The execution was not and I believe time has shown that to be true.

        Cheers

        Btw—I meant to capture to magic and success of the OT–not the story itself.

        • “Objective” cannot refer to an opinion. The definition of objective is: “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.”

          So yes, there are no objectively great movies and no objectively bad movies. There are subjectively great movies and subjectively bad movies, but the whole point of art is that people are not always going to agree about it.

          You can’t measure the quality of a film or a TV show like it’s liquid in a beaker. These are not facts. They are opinions.

          • Fair comment…I would say it’s also fair that great films have more people subjectively agreeing it is great and vice versa.

            That being said how do you think critics and fans just happen to agree en masse for some films and not others? Is it chance? or do you think there is some objective measures of why they feel that way?

            Why do some films receive many more positive opinions than others?

            • There are plenty of films, novels, paintings and television shows out there that reach a consensus opinion of being “great.” That’s all well and good, but if something on that list doesn’t move me, am I wrong?

              I think Citizen Kane is an awesome piece of filmmaking, but is it my favorite film of all time? No. Is it yours? Because according to just about every list on the best movies of all time, it should be.

              Similarly, the Academy Awards celebrate a ton of films every year that I don’t particularly like and ignore so many other great films. Some of the winners I think are legitimately great. Others? Not so much.

              Art is subjective, not a popularity contest. If you truly love something that a lot of people don’t like, that doesn’t mean you should change your opinion to fit in with what everybody else says. I think best-of lists are fine as a starting point, but they are not the final word.

              Also: opinions change. Blade Runner was a critical dud at the time it was released and is now widely considered to be a sci-fi masterpiece. How can it be “objectively” great if it was once derided as a disaster?

              Similarly Picasso’s paintings during his Blue Period? Not so popular. Now? Art historians will tell you they were some of his best works.

              I’m not saying you have to like the prequels or Chris Carter’s contributions to The X-Files; I’m not saying they are objectively great. I am saying that I think they’re brilliant and would love to share my enthusiasm and my passion and the reasons I enjoy them with both the believers and the naysayers alike.

              • Of course you are not wrong but that misses my point.

                Citizen Kane is a great movie because it has objectively better elements in it that other films did not at the time, were unique.

                If enough people feel and demonstrate why one film is better than it stands to reason there are some objective examples of why that is. Is there a difference between the cinematography in Lawrence of Arabia and Deadpool? Is that difference measurable, demonstrable? Why is the latter seen as an example of the finest on the topic?

                I really like The Chronicles of Riddick. Subjectively dig the atmosphere, epic story telling..the massive threat of the villains etc. but…It is not an objectively good piece of film making. I just happen to like elements of it. I don’t think it deserves a place among the great films of the 20th century or an Oscar for best picture.

                Is the dialogue better in My Dinner with Andre VS Kung Fu Panda 3? Why? Is it demonstrable…could you convince me with objective examples? Why do literary classics remain classics…or get there in the first place? they age well…as with Blade Runner and Picasso.

                Objectivity and subjectivity are not mutually exclusive when it comes to the value of a piece of art..

                • I need an edit function….LoA has the better cinematography in my example….lol. Deadpool was fun though 🙂

                • Oooo. If no one cares if I add a half-pence worth of my opinion in, I think art is subjective. Now, I think there can be identifiable reasons why art resonates or why it doesn’t, but for instance you mention the classics and many classics of literature weren’t considered classics until the write combination of culture, social climate, exposure, religion, etc. came along and they were rediscovered. One of my favorites, Mark Twain, hated another one of my favorites, Jane Austen, even though she’s passionately loved by English speakers everywhere. Was he objectively wrong? Or did she just rub him the wrong way for personal reasons? Then of course, some classics become classics only to be forgotten again and have their lovely praises clouded with criticism.

                  There are trends and patterns of acceptance, but something being largely accepted or praised doesn’t make it objectively, demonstratively good. It just means that it has markers that attract an audience, or rather, it has identifiable reasons why it “works” that may or may not also make it great.

                  And on that note, I’ve been slowly working up a post on some of those markers in The X-Files.

                  • I appreciate your words on the topic, Salome and you are right.

                    My only contention is that there is subjective art-the way one feels about it and objective art-something that can be observed and measured compared to other examples.

                    I cannot think of anyone who could look at the sculptures of Michelangelo and think it was an inferior example of art compared to let’s say….your daughter at age 5 who made it just for you on mother’s day. But the latter has much more meaning for you and you cherish it more than any old marble naked guy. 😉

                    Same thing with my examples on cinematography or writing or dialogue etc.

                    With respects to the SW prequels I can amply demonstrate horribly written dialogue…easily and in abundance. Michael would likely acknowledge that as it goes but the way he feels about the movie and how it resonates with him is obviously subjective and that’s fine of course. Doesn’t make the dialogue any less horrible I’m afraid compared to dialogue that flows naturally, sounds realistic, is not out of character.

                    With respects to CC and the XF. Well, the proof is right here on your wonderful blog. I can’t read one post that defends his three eps..not one. The reasons given are subjective, the way we FEEL about the story as a whole but…also objectively. CSM being brought back from the boneyard, TLG being relegated to a brief, voiceless scene. Choices in how the mythology just changed 180 degrees after nine years of story-line. Those are not subjective examples they are something you can point to and everyone has to agree they exist as such and everyone here agrees they were bad choices for the same reasons.

                    As far as classics are concerned. Yes, the way one feels about them is completely subjective. What is objective about them is that they have survived for many years..some for thousands of years and are still considered valuable. Is that do to with how people feel about them or is it something else as well?

                    I may not like Plato but I cannot objectively or honestly state his work has no value as a whole.

                • Gah! I could keep arguing but if I do that, we’re going to be at it all day and start running in circles. I certainly enjoyed the debate with you, John, and appreciate all the folks who disagreed with me but still managed to keep it civil. It gives me hope for the Internet! 😉

        • Aside: Now see, I thought the dialogue in what excerpts of 50 Shades of Gray I read was objectively piss poor. The world subjectively disagreed.

          • Lol…never read it but i would guess the dialogue was not what got people excited about the books…it was the topic and goings on between dialogue. 🙂

  6. Mr. O’Connor: I notice this was written before you actually saw “My Struggle, II.” Now that you’ve watched it, I’m curious to know what you thought of the finale, especially of his boring, pathetic excuse for a cliffhanger.

    “The X-Files” isn’t Art and Chris Carter isn’t a poor, misunderstood artist. TXF is a commercial television show, subject to the same rules and rewards as anything else on network TV. Whatever you want to term him, Chris Carter has been handsomely paid for his part in creating the series. I’m not worried about hurting his feelings–or yours–by calling for his ouster.

    The professional critics thought his episodes were bad. The fans thought his episodes were bad. Since the revival was announced, there was tremendous excitement on the part of the fans and plenty of media attention paid to season ten. Fox did a good job of marketing, for a change. As a result, the ratings were high. This made everyone concerned a big pile of cash so I can see why the executives would want to keep him on board–he made them money and that’s the name of the game in commercial television. But there is no reason for anyone who is a fan to bow down to the absurd idea of Chris Carter being this great artist, who deserves the benefit of the doubt, solely because he created “The X-Files.”

    At this point in his life, Chris Carter seems incapable of creating anything worth watching. The series legally belongs to Fox. It’s up to them to keep him or fire him. My guess is they’ll keep him around as long as the ratings hold up. My time, however, belongs to me and life is too short to watch bad television. I’ve spent enough time “engaging” with his new episodes already. I have no plans to watch them again on any platform, or buy them when they’re released on Blu-ray. That neat little space in my Blu-rays box set is going to stay empty. I want the man fired. I certainly don’t want to increase his paycheck, or reward Fox for keeping him around.

    Just so we’re clear, as far as I’m concerned “Star Wars” isn’t Art, it’s a successful movie franchise. “Batman”? He’s a comic book character. I don’t care beans about either creation so I don’t care who is writing them, drawing them–or making money off of them. But I do care about “The X-Files” and I’m not going to apologize for wanting Chris Carter replaced with someone who can do a better job with the series.

    Yes, this means I’m just another one of those uppity, “petulant” fans who thinks they know better than Chris Carter. Mr. O’Connor, let me introduce you to Economics 101. If fans don’t like what you’ve created, we don’t have to read, watch or buy your products. What’s more, we can easily find something else to watch, read or buy that does make us happy. If we like, we can write fix-it fanfic for those terrible episodes. We can create fanart for the characters we love. We can make vids and podcasts. People don’t passively consume media anymore. They can and do speak out when they’re unhappy. If you don’t like that the fans today feel free to criticize the shows they watch and the comics they read, maybe you need to think about making a change. Maybe you are in the wrong business.

    • “The X-Files” isn’t Art and Chris Carter isn’t a poor, misunderstood artist. TXF is a commercial television show, subject to the same rules and rewards as anything else on network TV. Whatever you want to term him, Chris Carter has been handsomely paid for his part in creating the series. I’m not worried about hurting his feelings–or yours–by calling for his ouster.”

      _______________________________________________________

      You said that better than I did. 🙂

    • nosohryuforyou

      > “People don’t passively consume media anymore. They can and do speak out when they’re unhappy. If you don’t like that the fans today feel free to criticize the shows they watch and the comics they read, maybe you need to think about making a change. Maybe you are in the wrong business.”

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Creators have access to feedback from fans on an unprecedented level. The savvy ones use that opportunity to make sure they stay in touch with what keeps the fans engaged, making the creation process collaborative. The Chris Carters go out of their way to not deliver what fans want, and then tell fans they’re wrong for not accepting what was delivered. That’s not collaboration, that’s not even respect — that’s condescension.

      • That’s where I’m going to disagree with you. “Delivering What the Fans Want” is the surest way of making bland, predictable pap, in other words, the complete opposite of what The X-Files has stood for since day one. This isn’t a brand of ice cream or a line of toothpaste, guys and gals. It doesn’t have to be a soulless corporate product.

        • I think, Noso, that this is what you were getting at in your comment on “X-Cops”, that too much anticipation of audience desire will ruin a work of art. Well…. here it is. I think CC tried too much this season to give the fans what he thought they wanted and it’s backfired on him.

    • Wendy, if you don’t think The X-Files (or Star Wars or Batman) is art, what do you think art is? Art is whatever moves you, whatever speaks to you. The X-Files clearly means a lot to you, or you wouldn’t be so enraged by the perceived lack of quality in this mini-season.

      I completely agree that the mini-season series was underwhelming. I enjoyed a few of the eps, but overall (and especially considering the mythology eps) thought it was a bust. I’m happy to grouse about it with my fellow X-Philes and you can feel free to call me by my first name. No need to stand on formalities. We don’t need to be enemies simply because we disagree on a larger point.

      I’m perfectly aware of the economical realities of a television show and yes, you should not watch “bad television.” If the X-Files is no longer a quality product for you, then you have the right to stop watching it and I would encourage you to do so. There are plenty of shows or franchises that I lost interest in after disagreeing with a particular creative decision.

      But I would personally rather step away from The X-Files the moment it becomes unredeemable in my eyes than see it being run by anyone besides Chris Carter. That’s a personal decision, not a directive for any of you to follow. The point of the piece was to argue for the artist over the art, but as I point out in the piece, it’s a tough decision that each of us has to make individually.

      The moment the audience starts dictating the art is the moment that it ceases to be art. If all any of us want to watch is something that’s predictable, mainstream, and designed for easy consumption and mass appeal, then why did we fall in love with a show as subversive, smart, and niche as The X-Files in the first place?

      • Okay. Michael it is. I don’t consider anyone a personal enemy, let alone someone who is a fan of my favorite television show. Fine. You’re right. Art is anything someone wants to define as art. So let’s agree that The X-Files is art. Is it okay for me to say that season 10 was bad art? Blaming the fans for Chris Carter’s failure as a writer, producer, showrunner–or artist– is ridiculous. Come on. He’s the professional. He gets the credit when he succeeds and he gets the blame when he blows it. He blew it, big time.

        Making a television series isn’t the same process as writing a novel or painting a picture or composing a sonata. Television is a collaborative medium, one that is driven by market forces. He used other people’s money and he employed hundreds of people to make “his” art. You can’t deny those realities. He didn’t write or direct most of the episodes. He had a fantastic crew of people working on the series and I’m sure he would be the first to give credit where credit is due. Chris Carter did create Mulder and Scully on paper–and the characters are what I loved most about the series. But it was David Duchovny’s acting which brought Mulder to life. Gillian Anderson’s acting did the same thing for Scully.

        What I loved about The X-Files was watching Mulder and Scully solve cases together. I loved their partnership–watching them argue, watching them banter, watching them save lives and solve cases. (Sorry, David Duchovny–you’re wrong–they did solve cases. Plenty of them.) So, for season ten, I had no objection to Mulder and Scully no longer being a couple–but an explanation for how and why that happened was essential. The way Carter did it was lazy, bad writing. He turned their separation into just another lame plot device accompanied by trite dialogue. God, Michael. He has this amazing, iconic pair of characters, and actors with unparalleled chemistry, and what does he do? He introduces a pair of Mulder-Scully dopplegangers!

        Even at its best, which was season three imho, The X-Files was a mixed bag in terms of quality. Season three gave us “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” but it also produced “Teso Dos Bischos.” I didn’t watch TXF for the Monsters of the Week, although those episodes hold up better on rewatch, and I didn’t watch for the mythology, although without it, the characters wouldn’t have same depth, not by any means. And while I wasn’t a relationshipper, I would have been fine with Mulder and Scully ending up in a romantic relationship–if it had been written by someone who knew how to portray how adult relationships actually work.

        As the showrunner, for years Chris Carter has been making one bad decision after another. Killing off the Lonegunmen was unacceptable. Making Scully pregnant in the first place was a horrible decision for so many reasons. Having her give William up for adoption was cruel to the fans and wrong for her character. Speaking of character assassination, look at what he did to Monica Reyes. He used her as a mouthpiece because he doesn’t know how to write a script!

        I had hoped that season ten would be a way for Chris Carter to make up for everything that went wrong at the end of the original series. Instead, he’s done nothing but tarnish his own legacy. I’m not dictating what he creates, I’m asking that he be held accountable for doing a crappy job. Given that season ten is a cringe-worthy embarrassment, I wish he’d just left Mulder and Scully alone. He didn’t just owe the fans a better season and a better series finale, he owed it to everyone who worked on the production and believed in his work. I would rather the series end here than to leave in his incompetent hands. But it doesn’t matter what I think. Fan opinion counts for less than nothing to the higher-ups. As long the ratings stay high, Chris Carter’s position with The X-Files is secure.

        • Blaming the fans for Chris Carter’s failure as a writer, producer, showrunner–or artist– is ridiculous. Come on. He’s the professional. He gets the credit when he succeeds and he gets the blame when he blows it. He blew it, big time.

          I know this is a response to Michael and I don’t want to be presumptuous as I’m sure he’ll respond for himself, but I don’t think he’s blaming fans at all. In fact, he seems to agree that CC’s work this season wasn’t good. He’s not arguing that we’re wrong in our tastes and CC’s blameless no matter what creative decisions he makes, he’s questioning the relatively recent development in all fandoms of an attitude that says fans have the right to get exactly what they demand, and if they don’t get what they demand they have the right to kick the creator off of his own intellectual property because what they want is all that matters. It’s the “I may not have written anything but 2 pieces of bad fanfic in my life but I’m smarter than all of these successful people and I’m going to demean them until they do what I want” syndrome that he’s taking issue with. Chris Carter did blow it big time and he’s disappointed most of us. Do we now denigrate what he *did* give us and venomously and summarily dismiss him? Because he didn’t do it all by himself, does that justify our personal attacks? Does that make it easier to cry, “Off with his head?”

          I understand exactly what you’re saying because I hoped the same thing – that the lazy, bad writing would disappear, that the revival would course correct the franchise from where it fell off in Season 9. And I’m sorely disappointed that it didn’t. But I guess I’m sore and not grievously injured.

  7. Emily Michelle

    Some interesting food for thought here! (Although I’m not sure I follow the Batman example; he concludes that section with “genuinely believ[ing] that some of these franchises shouldn’t survive beyond their creators,” but starts it by praising Miller’s Batman runs? I’ve read it like three times and I’m still not sure which side he’s arguing, Batman-wise.) I definitely hear what he’s saying, and there are certain works for which I’d definitely agree—you wouldn’t tell Degas “I love your idea of painting ballerinas, but I think Cezanne would do a better job of it, so we’re going to have him paint your dancers now”—and yet the concept doesn’t really ring true to me as it relates to the X-Files.

    This discussion comes down to one thing: is a TV show art, or is it a product? Call me cynical, but I agree with Wendy Bird above that it’s first and foremost a product; it’s something that a network is trying to sell to viewers. This is by necessity; a single creator does not have the resources necessary to create a show, and anyone willing to give them those resources, i.e. a network, is a business and is going to to expect a return on their investment.

    So instead of the analogy of assigning Cezanne to paint Degas’ ballerinas, I think of it like a business. Somebody has a really good idea for an exciting new variety of widget, so he starts a company, makes himself CEO, and hires some clever engineers and designers (and a few terrible engineers and designers, because let’s be real, the X-Files oeuvre always been a grab bag of the sublime, the passable, and the awful). The CEO also does some R&D work himself, with mixed results. This collaboration produces a line of fabulous widgets that make the company wildly successful, despite some new products that are total crap. Only then later in the company’s lifespan, the CEO starts doing a whole lot of the R&D work himself, and the products he creates are increasingly bad. The company by this point is such a trusted household name that the series of duds haven’t hurt the stock prices . . . yet. But people who pay close attention to this kind of thing worry that yet more duds will start to erode consumer confidence and the brand may soon become irreparably damaged. Is it unreasonable for the board to pull the CEO aside and say “Look buddy, maybe you should put more of your focus on running the company and let some of your trusted engineers shoulder some more of the R&D load”? No. In fact, it would be unreasonable of them *not* to do that. They’re trying to protect the brand.

    Of course, the whole analogy hinges on whether you think that the X-Files is art or commerce; if you’re in the art camp, it doesn’t work at all and you just wasted your time reading that paragraph, sorry. 🙂

    I’m not suggesting that the show be ripped from his grasp; I’m just suggesting that he step back and let other people take on more writing responsibilities in future seasons. And it’d be nice if he came to that realization on his own, because then everyone could be happy, but if it only happens because it’s suggested to him by others, that could work too. So I personally don’t have a problem with critics and reviewers (professional or armchair) stating that he’s not doing the show any favors.

    Because he’s not. There’s no kind way to say this, but outside the original concept, his contributions to the show have not exactly been stellar. I mean, he had a handful of good episodes, but compared to how many he wrote in total, it’s a fairly small percentage, and the ones he wrote that are good were often collaborations with other writers. And I’m not saying he’s solely responsible for a lot of the show’s worst habits—baffling and self-contradictory mythology, wooden dialogue, lengthy exposition, purple prose—but he certainly employed them often enough. And actually he is solely responsible for the mythology one.

    • I think the best TV can be art AND commerce…The thing is…the X Files was pretty good at the beginning but it took fan input and a willingness of the fledgling network to stay with them until it really took off. I don’t think that would happen today..or not very likely.

      So, yeah, we could argue great art doesn’t need an audience but successful television does or it won’t last a few episodes. By that measure Chris Carter needs to sit back and bring in someone else.

      • I would love to see Gilligan come in – who apparently apologized profusely to Carter for not being available – Spotnitz come in, Howard Gordon come in and all the like. But more than that, I would like to see CC reflect on his own work, not on the show as a phenomenon but on his own writing, why it used to resonate and why it’s not resonating lately. Talent isn’t so much the issue. Insight is.

    • Emily, thank you for engaging with the piece. If we end up with different conclusions, so be it. But I admire your attempt to at least get to the bottom of my argument.

      I used the (perhaps rather labored) Batman analogy because I personally know how hard it is to value a creator over the art they create. I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m not denying that it’s possible for great stories to be told by other creative talents without the purview of the original creator. Merely that, as fellow human beings and perhaps creative people ourselves, it behooves us to check our pitchforks at the door when a creator does something that we disagree with or dislike.

      It’s easy to think that someone/ANYONE can do it better, but that line of thinking is short-sighted. We fell in love with these shows because there was a human being behind the scenes making artistic decisions that captivated us and moved us. We don’t owe Carter an endless audience if we’re no longer happy with the direction of the show, but we at least owe him the courtesy of not calling for his head and getting him fired from his own creation.

      The moment you start to think of any piece of art as a product is the moment you’re not going to be satisfied with it anyway. It’s not going to move you; it’s not going to captivate you; it’s not going to be something that calls for multiple viewings or deep conversations with friends.

      We put “art” on a pedestal and point to things that don’t personally move us and that were commercial ventures at the time they were created. You don’t think Leonado da Vinci got paid for the Mona Lisa? (Now, show of hands: who here is more moved or affected by the Mona Lisa than your favorite episode of the X-Files?)

      I would also caution fans from practicing revisionist history when it comes to creators. Go back and revisit Chris Carter helmed eps like “Deep Throat,” “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” “Duane Barry,” “Red Museum,” “Paper Clip,” “The Post-Modern Prometheus,” or “How The Ghosts Stole Christmas” (just to name a few) and tell me this guy isn’t crazy talented. I’m not going to deny he’s had a bad run recently, but maybe it’s just the equivalent of Picasso’s Blue Period.

      • Emily Michelle

        No revisionist history happening here; of the episodes you just mentioned, I only liked Post-Modern Prometheus and maybe Duane Barry (which is, of course, only an opinion, but then “crazy talented” is also only an opinion); maybe if I liked more of his work, I’d be more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. 🙂 One of my problems with all this is that in my book, CC was not the “human being behind the scenes making artistic decisions that captivated us and moved us.” He had the concept for the show, and that is indeed worthy of admiration, but it was other people who shaped the show. (I recently read in an interview that CC had originally planned for the show to be only about aliens, and it took Jim Wong asking if they could do an episode about something else for him to eventually decide to branch out into being about the paranormal in general—CC originally said no, then later changed his mind. Imagine how different this show would have been if it had been entirely about aliens! He may very well have eventually realized on his own that it was too narrow a focus, but the fact remains that he didn’t. We owe Wong for that.). And in terms of specific moments? He wrote precisely one episode that would make it into my top 20 (Milagro). So I guess I just don’t give him as much credit as you do? I mean, he created a really cool sandbox for other people to play in, I’ve just never thought he made very good sandcastles.

        And how much credit he does or doesn’t deserve is beside the point: whether he’s great or terrible at what he does, I just don’t agree that we owe him anything. I mean, certainly I wouldn’t advocate walking up to him in the street and telling him that the X-Files would be better off without him, but I guess it just doesn’t bother me at all if people express that idea online. First, because it’s not probably not going to affect anything anyway, and second, because part of creating something for public consumption is opening yourself to the possibility that people are going to hate what you’ve done and express that thought aloud. It’s like yelling at the coach during a football game because you disagree with the plays he’s running. Yes, it’s his team and his call, and no, it doesn’t accomplish anything, but that’s one way fans express displeasure with how things are being handled.

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, by the way. I know the commenters by and large have not agreed with the thoughts therein, but it’s probably very healthy for everyone to consider other sides of the argument. And it’s a bit brave of you to express them right now, given the current climate in the X-Files online world. 🙂

        • Thanks for the kind words, Emily. We definitely don’t see eye-to-eye on this topic but I appreciated the chance to defend my POV with such a good natured team of debaters.

    • I’m not suggesting that the show be ripped from his grasp; I’m just suggesting that he step back and let other people take on more writing responsibilities in future seasons.

      I agree. I think like in Seasons 8 & 9, he’s doing too much. But calling for more and varied input is a far cry from a coup.

      There’s no kind way to say this, but outside the original concept, his contributions to the show have not exactly been stellar. I mean, he had a handful of good episodes, but compared to how many he wrote in total, it’s a fairly small percentage, and the ones he wrote that are good were often collaborations with other writers.

      So it’s just me? Because even aside from the usual suspects like “The Post-Modern Prometheus”, “Triangle”, and “Irresistible”, I’m thinking of episodes like “Duane Barry”, “Darkness Falls”, “The Erlenmeyer Flask”, “Gethsemene”, “Redux”, “Redux II” (Redux II!!!!), “Requiem”, and “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”. And even episodes like “Colony” and “Anasazi” he was humble enough to collaborate with David Duchovny on. I suspect he’s a team player and that’s part of the reason so many of his efforts are joint efforts, and why the 1013 staff and crew are still so loyal to him. But homeboy could shut it down by himself when he set his mind to. I want that Chris Carter back.

      And the mistakes of the mythology… Uncle Frank must take joint credit for.

      We’re right to criticize. And I’m sure he can take it. Frankly, these handful of episodes deserve it. Season 9 deserved it. I hope he takes it to heart and course corrects. It’s vitriol and arrogance from people who wouldn’t have anything to criticize but for him that I can’t understand. (Not from you, of course, dear.)

      Very interesting analogy, btw. I wonder what side Fox will come down on…

      • Emily Michelle

        Yeah, this morning I went over and over the list of episodes he wrote and found maybe two or three that I would put in the upper pantheon of episodes and a handful more that are basically fine, and the rest I am not remotely interested in. (Although somehow I did not notice until you pointed it out right now that he wrote Irresistible. I do very much like Irresistible.) The problem is, I think, that I don’t like mythology episodes, and that’s where he spent the bulk of his time. Though to be fair, Redux I and II are the only mythology episodes that I would agree to watch without being paid or coerced. So I do have to give him credit there. 🙂

        I think my trouble with CC is I have a hard time wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he really comes off in interviews as condescending toward or dismissive of people who interact with the X-Files in ways he doesn’t like, and that gets my back up. (This very day I read an interview of his from 1997 where the interviewer asked “Do you feel pressure from the fans to push the [M/S] relationship further and further?” and he responded “No, the fans really don’t want me to do that. YOU REALLY DON’T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN!” [it was italicized, not caps] Really, dude? A, you’re either deliberately ignoring or super out-of-touch with a sizable portion of your fan base, and B, you don’t get to tell your fans that the way they feel about the show is wrong.) If he was this very likable guy, or he’d managed to inspire more affection and loyalty in all his viewers, maybe we’d be more tolerant of a few Babylons—heck, the first terrible half-season of Agents of SHIELD coasted by on residual good-will from the show runners being related to Joss Whedon. But I guess that’s the danger of being in the public eye so much. Maybe if Darin Morgan had given more interviews, he’d have said something to make people mad and we’d all start side-eyeing Clyde Bruckman.

        I guess the thing with any creation that becomes beloved, especially one that’s been kicking around for a couple decades now, is that the fans get very possessive and territorial. And this whole “kick Chris Carter off the show” has become a popular and fun shorthand to express the general displeasure with season 10 (and season 9, and IWTB . . .). My feeling is that if it came down to it, with most of the people who are calling for blood, really what they want is for CC to write fewer (or no) episodes in future seasons. He could still run the show, contribute to the mythology, but not be allowed to write as much dialogue, you know? But maybe that’s me projecting on people; maybe everyone really does want him fired. I don’t know.

        • He doesn’t come across great it interviews, TRUE. And I think his public face is one of willful obstinance… but I suspect in private he questions himself a lot… which is how we ended up with such disjointed episodes this season and why he attempted (mostly in vain) to turn back the clock in the first place. Despite how he comes across, everyone from the actors to the writers to the crew seem to love him and are enduringly loyal to him, which says a lot. However awkward and formal and protective of his work he can be in interviews, he’s apparently humble, cooperative and supportive on the job. But even if he weren’t, what’s his is his; we’re possessive and territorial over his ideas (Christ died for sinners of whom I am chief), but they are his ideas and we wouldn’t have them to obsess over if he hadn’t done what he did and if he weren’t who he is. GA and DD wouldn’t have had Mulder and Scully to act. Vince Gilligan would’ve still been a writing genius, but not for this show.

        • Yeah, I think you have the gist of it.

          Have him at the helm and leave the writing to others. He can create ideas and they can flesh them into great episodes. I don’t with the guy ill will at all.

          Reminds me of Lucas thumbing his nose at the army of critics to his continuing changes to SW. All he had to do was remaster the OT as it was released in 1977–tuck it in with the tenth re-issue. But he gave the very fans who paid him billions over the years and helped create the iconic movie of my generation the big finger. Yeah, I’m a little bitter. LOL

  8. Michael has already said everything I could possibly hope to say in the comments and said it better than I could ever possibly hope to say it. So I’m just gonna leave this here: http://templeofgeek.com/in-defence-of-chris-carter/

    Because while he’s far kinder than I, Eamon is an Irishman who knows what’s up.

    P.S. He brings up an excellent point – DD and GA have stated MULTIPLE times in interviews that they will not do The X-Files without CC. There’s a reason for their loyalty; there should be a reason for ours.

    • P.P.S. Let’s also not forget that collaborative effort though TXF always was, it was a ship with a captain. And that captain reigned his crew in on episodes like “One Breath”, “Never Again”, “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” and even “Chinga”. Someone has to oversee the vision even if other people are carrying it out.

    • I never thought they would ever do XF without CC. He gave them the start that made them rich and famous.

      If I was in their shoes I do the same. He can still be at the helm without writing an episode though…;P

  9. Dear Chris Carter,

    “Life is like a sewer… what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it.”
    — Tom Lehrer, Singer, Songwriter and Actual Intellectual

  10. Pingback: The Fanatical Audience |

  11. X-Files fans should check out this new edition of an unusual sci-fi book series. It’s called Distant Cousin Arrival by Dr. Al Past. You can find it at Amazon. I wrote the Forward in the book just released yesterday and I have read all the books in the series. A version for television is in the works. Of course I have been an X-Files fan since the very first episode.

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