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What Episodes Made You Mad


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Guest ModernDayMoriarty

You must remember that the show is rather old now. We would supply evidence if we could, but sites go down and most interviews are lost over the years. As stated however, you can still watch the documentaries which are very revealing. Some of the interviews may still be around, but it's years since I looked at them (there was a site called DarinMorganland or something like that, in which he criticised Millennium's S1 rather sharply).

I can only submit that I would never 'put words in someone's mouth' so to speak. I am interested in bringing out the truth of the matters at hand. I deal only in reliable sources (i.e I try and get it from the people involved in the shows themselves).

It got to the end of the

Morgan and Wong's attitude to the show was not a secret. They never made any bones about the fact that they didn't really like it that much in S1. Glen Morgan disliked Frank's gift and wanted to eradicate it, before deciding he couldn't really do that. They alter the show to resemble better what they would have done, but are saddled with many things they can't change and just had to put up with.

My opinion was that if that was how they felt, they really should have left alone.

Now, I'm afraid I cannot offer you the direct quotes, because I don't know if they still exist (like I said, they are years and years old now). I realise how it must seem, phantom quotes drawn from the ether, but I can offer my word that they are genuine. How reliable the quotes and comments themselves were is of course debateable, as there is so much debate over what really happened (some sites that are still up, claim that it was actually Carter's decision to kill Catherine - something he now denies).

Anyway, this was the scenario as I read about it:

The end of the series was approaching, and M+W became embroiled in an argument with the network over the amount of ad time that Millennium was (or rather wasn't) getting. They were frustrated about the low ratings for the season (and these should be available on this forum if you search long enough, because it always used to be discussed back in the day - maybe someone can find them?)

Anyway, ratings had been poor and M+W wanted to try and end the season well. But they felt this would not be possible as ad time was being given to the superbowl (or something like that). So they fumed about it for a while, wondering what to do.

Apparently, the issue was resolved when Darin Morgan strolled in and said 'Hell, why don't you just end the world?' And that was that. They decided to roll the dice (hence the imagery in the episode) and give Millennium a big send off. As a last measure of defiance, they cut short clips of static into the episode that represented bursts of lost ad time - the time they felt they should have had.

Now, I take issue with that kind of personal axe grinding in an episode. I also take issue with the fact that they (it seems) did not consult with anyone over what they were planning to do. The S3 writers all express dismay over this (so it seems if they knew, they were powerless to stop it - Mike Perry freely admits he didn't see how MLM could continue and started looking for a new job!)

The degree of involvement Carter had in this whole process is extremely muddied. At the time, many reports differed over exactly how much influence he had over S2. Some claimed he handed over responsibility to M+W, some that he left it in the studio's hands and they selected M+W (which seems on the most current evidence - the DVDs - to have been the actual case.

Watch the X-Files Commentaries and you start to uncover more of the mystery. In the commentary for 'Memento Mori', Frank Spotnitz comments vaguely on intense arguments in the writing team over the cancer storyline. Given that there was already bad blood over the death/aborted death of Frohike in 'Musings of a CSM', and that M+W leave at precisely the time that the cancer storyline comes up, it seems likely Spotnitz is talking about them.

This appears to be the time when M+W and Carter stop talking. Carter now claims that the studio gave control of Millennium S2 to M+W without his knowing. At the time, this is certainly not how it was articulated (they didn't outright deny that, just ccouched it in words like 'Carter gives over control to incoming M+W', a sentence that seems innocent enough if you don't know what you are looking for.

Based on the evidence I have pieced together, it seems likely that they simply agreed to leave each other alone, to get on with their respective shows. Out of sight is out of mind (Carter has recently claimed he hasn't even seen most of the S2 episodes even now!) So where does that leave us?

I concluded that the quotes about M+W's decision to end the series altogether were very likely true. They were tired and fed up, by their own admission (and I'm sure that quote must be out there somewhere). The thought of handing back over to Carter... well that is just a guess, but I theorise they were not eager to do that. In any event, I doubt strongly that Carter has anything to do with any part of S2, despite the claims of some sites (the old evidence and the newest evidence just doesn't support it - i think the studio kept his title of exec producer there just to appease him on what must have been an unpopular choice of appointment for him).

Again, it is hard to know for sure. The best surviving evidence is the two part episode itself. They clearly destroy the world (what with the reports of foreign outbreaks and the calls for help in foreign languages at the end), or at least very near. The switch to saying it was only a small case, with the media blowing it up has often been villified (not least by Morgan and Wong, and I think that quote actually be on the Millennial abyss).

MIB: you clearly have a different view on things than I do. But I cannot see how you think ending the season like that could in any way be construed as healthy for the series. You must know how networks are - they will take any opportunity usually, to end a show that is not performing. Carnivale had an ending that suggested some kind of resolution (but it patently was not finished), which was immediately jumped on and the show was cancelled.

Whenever you make a leap like that, you must have one of two things. Either you a) have already received confirmation of a new series or b) put a 'To be continued...' tag on to let people know you don't consider this to be the end.

My assertion is, as it has always been, that M+W simply were not the right people for this job, and didn't hire the right people. They themselves and Darin Morgan were openly criticial (Jose Chung's DD contains strong attacks on S1). Darin Morgan (and this is a quote from DarinMorganland if it is still there) said :Millennium Season 1 wasn't too dark - it just wasn't too good.' Combined with what Zeus contributed about Morgan and Wong talking of MLM being less fun than X-Files, it was just wrong of them to accept something they had no emotional investment in, precisely because it was always going to mean that it would be easy to simply abandon the series if it didn't work out.

The flip side of this is Carter, who juggling film commitments and his work on The X-Files, insisted that the show continued and did whatever it took to keep it alive. He was talking of a fourth season, and as I've said before, the 'seen the light' imagery suggests that Frank was moving towards a more religious angle. But it wasn't to be.

You don't agree that M+W killed off the series. I see it as fairly indisputable, despite a last stand rescusitation effort. I have argued many times, you simply cannot change a show twice in 3 years. M+W are the ones who first instigated and later necessitated these changes. How can this not be their doing?

But... as people have said, we should be careful of all this strong passion. I would contend that the whole point of the thread was to uncover episodes that made you mad, and I think everyone can see that TFH/TTIN certainly did that, as it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And as a parting note, I realise that I haven't actually pointed out yet (in this thread anyway, although I have many times in the past) commented that I actually consider the quality of 'The Fourth Horseman' to be fairly good. I think 'The Time is Now' is a self indulgent mess, but TFH is very tense and well handled for the most part.

But regardless of how well they deal with the situation (and their writing style is ideally suited I think to the subject matter), it had no business being there. It was contrary to their own mythology, and like I said was severely detrimental to the show's longevity. Indeed it is part of what infuritates me, that an episode that broadly speaking is handled seriously and well (as opposed to many of their S2 episodes, and forgetting of course the dire family massacre scene), ends up being so wantonly self destructive to the series.

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Guest ZeusFaber
I concluded that the quotes about M+W's decision to end the series altogether were very likely true. They were tired and fed up, by their own admission (and I'm sure that quote must be out there somewhere). The thought of handing back over to Carter... well that is just a guess, but I theorise they were not eager to do that. In any event, I doubt strongly that Carter has anything to do with any part of S2, despite the claims of some sites (the old evidence and the newest evidence just doesn't support it - i think the studio kept his title of exec producer there just to appease him on what must have been an unpopular choice of appointment for him).

I'll just step in on this point. It always seems like people remain confused over this issue when there is really no need to be. All it takes is a little understanding of how the TV business works and what various titles mean.

M&W became the showrunners of S2, no question. As showrunners, they're in charge, no question. CC is out of it, not involved, not running the ship, not writing a word, not managing the staff, not in the writers' room. He retains the Executive Producer tag not because of studio appeasement or anything like that, but plain and simply because it's still his property, his creation. M&W had a one-year contract to showrun S2, and that was it. One year and that's all. So CC is still the umbrella top name because after that one year it defaults back to him and he has the option of whether to step back in full-time or hand it over to someone else or do half and half (which is what he ultimately ended up doing). It's like a hotel where there is one owner who appoints a manager to do all the day-to-day running while the owner never sets foot in the building -- yet all the while his name still stays above the door.

A great current comparison is Lost. JJ Abrams co-created the series and was involved in the beginning, but stepped aside later to focus on other projects leaving Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse as showruners. But JJ Abrams is still Executive Producer all the way through for the exact same reasons. It's just business, and it's really very simple. No cloak and dagger, no appeasement or secret deals, just TV.

(Btw, this isn't direct at you specifically, MDM, as I know it could sound condescending if it were. Rather it's intended as a general clear-up for all, just to make it clear. There's no need for anyone to be confused about this.)

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Guest ModernDayMoriarty

It's not as easy as you make out unfortuntaely Zeus. The prevailing theory now is that Carter did nothing during S2. However, there are sites still around even now, that claim that killing Catherine off was Carter's idea and that M+W were acting on his say so. (Search for it, it's not hard to find).

Yet there are other sources that claim it was purely M+W's idea. The real issue I am interested in, is how Carter managed to be so ignorant of everything that was going on. Having a free hand is surely not the same as 'Never speak to me about it'?

They worked at the same company, on a show that Carter created and was closely involved in on its first year, and remained heavily invested in, in the third year. I find it bizarre that there appears to have been absolutely no commuication whatsoever between the two parties (and there are any number of other people who you would imagine would chat to people on the other show).

The two parties (Morgan and Wong/Chris Carter) were after all big friends when making The X-Files. We all know that something happened at some point to sour that relationship. I merely suggested that them breaking apart before S2 even starts, makes the most sense given what we know. Otherwise I should find it highly unusual that they wouldn't chat to each other what they were doing.

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Guest ZeusFaber

Allow me to clarify further. Passing over showrunning duties does not neccessarily mean that the two parties never speak to each other. M&W could still call CC up and ask his opinion, naturally. Just because he's not officially on staff, doesn't mean there's a restraining order on them exchanging words or calling them up on the phone.

When you're producing a TV show, you have something called the Writers' Room where everyone on staff will sit down together and hammer out what they're going to do with the show, what episodes they've got planned, etc. etc. It's the showrunner's job to run the Writers' Room, and that's M&W for S2. CC isn't in that room for S2, not involved, not the boss of or part of the staff. He's away doing all that in the X-Files's Writers' Room. The whole point of handing over the reigns to someone else was so that he wouldn't have to be dividing his time between plotting two different show's seasons and writing and re-writing scripts. There wouldn't be any point in doing it if he was just going to continue doing all those things as before. That's showbusiness.

Now, that doesn't mean to say that M&W might not have called CC up towards the end of the season to ask his advice and perhaps what he thought would be best for the future. Bear in mind that everyone knew M&W were leaving Millennium at the end of S2, so it would only be courteous to maybe see what CC had in mind for S3, if he would be returning and such. So they may have spoken about things, and as for Catherine's death, I've read those contradictory reports in the past too. Who can say now whether the idea originally came from CC or M&W? Regardless, the ultimate decision rested with M&W, because for S2 they had the role of deciding what ends up in the final cuts of the episodes -- that's the whole point of being a showrunner.

Now, as for the relationship between M&W and CC and when it started to "turn sour", as you say, we can only speculate. However, I would say that they were never quite "big friends" even from the early days of TXF. More friendly, yes, but they've all said there was always a spirit of oneupmanship and healthy competition from the beginning. If I were to guess, I would say that things first took a turn for the worse when FOX marketed Space: Above and Beyond with the taglines: "from the producers of The X-Files". M&W were unhappy that it could be interpreted to sound like the show was a creation of Carter's, when it had nothing to do with him, while CC was probably a little concerned by the same implications, perhaps not wanted his creation and his reputation associated with something that has nothing to with him, and not wanting the risk of a failure (which Space ultimately was), to drag down him or The X-Files.

Again, I'm just speculating, nothing more, but I imagine this might be one source of contention between the two parties which could only exacerbate existing tensions regarding the spirit of competition between them, and the disagreements they had over the tone of Millennium's first season. Things probably got worse following Glen Morgan's insistence that Frohike be killed off at the end of "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man". He also wanted it to be called "Memoirs of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" and that the episode's contents be all real backstory to CSM, while CC preffered it to be more ambiguous and only possible events mixed with confabulation, erroneous facts and Frohike's fervent imagination. In disagreement, M&W even went so far as to shoot an alternate ending of the episode where Frohike gets killed, despite CC's earlier directive not to.

So that probably didn't help matters any further, and when CC returned to find what they had done to his other series, Millennium, I imagine he wouldn't have been all that pleased with the pair. I also harbour a little suspicion that M&W have always been just a bit jealous of Carter, having more clout with network given the success of TXF, and also getting another show (Millennium) on the air for three seasons, while everything M&W set out to do on their own ended in failure, quickly canceled or not even picked-up after a pilot.

Again though, I stress that these points are solely my speculations and not facts. The aforementioned stuff about showrunning though is far less subjective.

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