« Name change? | Main | When is Bush's next speech? »

"The X-Files" was a goddamn ripoff

[Note: As long as you-know-what continues to consume the entire news cycle, I will honor my vow to make shit up to write about. So, in that spirit...]

Today's topic is: The X-Files was a damn ripoff, although many of its viewers were too young to know it. Its creator, Chris Carter, admitted to being inspired by a short-lived television show from the early 70's called Kolchak: The Night Stalker, about a hapless news reporter and monster-chaser named Carl Kolchak.

It wasn't just the show itself that was influenced by Kolchak. Sometimes it was entire episodes. Remember the one about that shit monster who lived in the sewers? That was a direct rip-off of this K:TNS episode, which was clearly way ahead of its time.

Kolchak was sweet. He had Real Ultimate Power (just kidding.) Anyway, it was my favorite TV show as a kid.

Now to be fair, since Mulder and Scully were FBI agents whose job was to investigate the paranormal, I suppose TXF was somewhat more plausible in its premise than K:TNS. Kolchak was just a poor schlub who just happened to encounter a different monster or haint each week.

A vampire in Las Vegas? Sure, why not. A werewolf on a cruise ship? Well okay, maybe.... But week after week? Eventually, suspension of disbelief became a real problem, even for an 8-year-old like myself.

Not that Kolchak ever had much luck getting people to believe him anyway. The role of the "skeptic," which foreshadowed Dana Scully, was played by Kolchak's long-suffering boss, Tony Vincenzo. I don't think Tony ever spoke to Kolchak without yelling. "What do you mean there's a monster eating strippers' eyes out in Chicago, Carl?! That's ridiculous! I know I didn't believe you the other fourteen times you saw a monster and it turned out to be true, but this time I REALLY don't believe you!!"

Well actually, Vincenzo never said that. I don't think Kolchak ever convinced him of anything. In fact, I'm not sure Kolchak ever even got a story. I'm not sure how he remained employed.

I think The Horror in the Heights was quite possibly my favorite Night Stalker episode ever, and a good one to start with for anyone who feels like seeking out the old shows.

Also for anyone interested, Kolchak lives on to this day. Moonstone Books has a line of comic books (okay, okay, "graphic novels") about our intrepid investigator, who paved the way for Mulder, Scully and... Buffy. Some of these "graphic novels" are based on scripts for the old TV show that were never actually filmed, and others are entirely new stories. Check 'em out. Kolchak kicked ass, so let's not let him die on us.

"I promised I'd show up with a haircut, a new hat, and pressed suit... but I lie a lot." -- Carl Kolchak


I remember an episode directed by Robert Zemeckis, I think it was one of the first things he ever did. It was about a headless biker. Some TV critic called it the most tasteless hour of television he'd ever seen, lol.

It started off as one of those made for TV movies in the early 70's. That format owned the TV weekly schedule in those days, much like a gazillion reality shows have their grip on the weekly schedule now. The Night Stalker really resonated with the diehard group of scifi/horror/weird stuff fans....of which I am one and I watched the series faithfully. Anyway, I've always been a Darrin McGavin fan.

texas hold em Great site! Congradulations!

texas hold em Great site! Congradulations!

Post a comment