Whether or not you’re excited by the prospect of more The X-Files revival episodes crammed into peak TV’s moment of nostalgia, Fox’s announcement last April made many longtime fans quite happy. Or at least that was until co-star Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI Special Agent Dana Scully alongside David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder, called out the revival for hiring an all-male writing staff. Spurred by a Twitter-driven onslaught of complaints, Anderson added that only two of the show’s total 207 episodes were directed by women, adding she “[looked] forward to the day when the numbers are different.”
A little over a month later, Fox Chairwoman and CEO Dana Walden told journalists at the 2017 Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour that the problem had been rectified. Specifically, she said, The X-Files creator Chris Carter had hired two female writers and two female directors for the upcoming 11th season. However, whether the two writers would be crediting with composing an episode each, or simply participating in the writers’ room, wasn’t revealed. What’s more, Walden’s attempt to explain Carter’s reasons for hiring an all-male staff were… weird. Per BuzzFeed:
“I don’t want to make excuses for anyone. I want to just explain that after 200 plus episodes of a show that has a very deep and specific mythology — where the fanbase has a very high expectation that the episodes are going to deliver on those Easter eggs and be consistent with those original episodes. The tendency is to want to rely on the people [who] helped you on the original, when you’re just doing 10 episodes. And the crew that was with Chris for a very long time happened to be a group of male writers.”
As The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tim Goodman put it, Walden’s description of Carter’s initial reasons for hiring male writers basically sounded like a matter of comfort. That, and the implication that only those (male) writers who’d been along for most or all of the first ride would be able to crack The X-Files‘ complex subject matter.
The full meaning of Carter’s reasoning notwithstanding, Fox was quick to appease TCA attendees and fans online with another The X-Files announcement. Specifically, that the upcoming 11th season would try to avoid the 10th season’s overly nostalgic pitfalls by creating only two mythology episodes. The other eight episodes, Walden explained, would be standalone or monster-of-the-week-type stories fans often prefer.