Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.
Before we reached out though, we’ve taken the opportunity to tell you all our stories.
Max: Somewhat unique amongst X-Philes, I can pinpoint the exact day I discovered the show. It was April 14, 1995, and I had just turned 10 a little over a month prior. It was a Friday, and my parents left my sister and me to the care of our sitter (whose name escapes me sadly) while they went out to dinner and a movie. Our sitter at the time was a devoted watcher of The X-Files, and would be one of the many who stayed home on Friday nights to catch the latest adventures of Mulder and Scully. She also was meticulously taping each new episode that aired to add to her collection. Given that she was watching us that evening, she nevertheless kept up her devotion, and let us stay up to watch TV with her. Giving me a brief rundown of the premise, she switched the set to Fox. The night’s episode: season two’s “The Calusari.”
Needless to say, that is quite an auspicious way to be initiated into the X-Files fold. I mean, the cold open revolves around a toddler following a wayward balloon and getting run over by an amusement park train! I never really watched scary films or stuff like that, so something like this was certainly eye opening. Moreover, with images like the father of the toddler getting hung by his necktie to the garage door opener and the grandmother’s group and their incantations, they became instantly indelible. I didn’t “hide behind the couch,” but I was affected and fascinated by that same kind of childhood terror that legions of kids who grew up with Doctor Who experienced.
I was always into sci-fi stuff, and devoured films like Back To The Future, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, and shows like SeaQuest DSV, Earth 2, Lois And Clark, MANTIS, and Sliders (which had just premiered a few weeks before I saw “The Calusari”). The X-Files easily then slid into my rotation of Nickelodeon, The Sci-Fi Channel, and PBS.
It then became a ritual for me to watch the latest episode whenever the babysitter was over. When there was a repeat, she’d bring over a tape with a personal favorite. Later on, after I got older and no longer needed a sitter, I truly became a fan in my own right. By this time, the show had moved to Sundays, and season five was in full swing. For example, I can clearly remember watching “Detour” the night it first aired, and then there were rumors of an X-Files movie!
I eventually saw that film when it came out, my parents surprised me and took me to see it after attending my friend Holly’s bat mitzvah. I was at the peak of my fandom, having bought books (including the one pictured), trading cards, and having collected the special issue of Entertainment Weekly and the pull-out posters from TV Guide. After the show moved to Los Angeles, I never really had the same level of commitment. I recall seeing “Two Fathers”/”One Son,” and also season seven’s “X-COPS”, but other than that, I didn’t really see much more until the final episode aired in 2002. I’m not quite sure what dulled my fandom, just one of those mercurial adolescent things.
It wasn’t until my junior year of college (2005) that I reclaimed my love of the show. My roommate Kenji (who I also went to high school with) had the DVDs, and we spent the year going through the series in order. All the memories came rushing back, and he and I reminisced about our own formative experiences as X-Philes. I also at this time heavily frequented the IMDB message board for the show, and connected with a lot of fans from around the world, a good number of which I still talk to to this day.
It has been over 18 years since that night in April, and I would like to thank my sitter, wherever she is right now, for getting me into a show that remains a personal favorite. Thanks!!!!