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The X-Files was a revolutionary television show when it debuted in the 1990s as it brought aliens and monsters and government conspiracies to the small screen on a weekly basis. The series ended its original run in 2002, but Fox revived it for a tenth season in 2016. A Season 11 is in the works, and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are both slated to reprise their roles. As it happens, however, Anderson isn't entirely pleased with one aspect of production:
The news broke earlier this week that the writing staff for The X-Files Season 11 was going to be comprised of seven men and no women. It was a fact that didn't set well with many fans, and Gillian Anderson's tweet proves that she wasn't happy about it either. Her statistic about the number of episodes directed by women in the history of The X-Files is positively staggering, especially considering that Anderson herself was one of the two directors. After directing one episode -- that she actually wrote -- Gillian Anderson makes up 50% of the women who directed episodes of The X-Files.
Even as a longtime fan of The X-Files, I was shocked to discover how few women had directed episodes, although it does make a certain degree of sense in hindsight. Maybe if there had been more women in positions of power behind the scenes, somebody on set would have realized that Scully was pregnant for about 13 months between the end of Season 7 and the end of Season 8. No wonder something was up with William -- he was in the womb for more than a year!
In all seriousness, this wasn't the first time that Gillian Anderson has spoken out about the treatment of women in showbiz, and it's hard to blame her. During the original run of The X-Files, she had to fight to be paid the same as David Duchovny, despite the fact that they pretty equally shared the workload for the first seven seasons. Then, almost unbelievably, she was only offered half of what Duchovny was offered to return for the 2016 revival. Given that Anderson was the only one of the two to remain on the show as a regular for the first nine seasons, it's absurd to think that she wasn't given at least the same amount as Duchovny from the outset.
Hopefully Gillian Anderson's efforts to spread awareness about how few women get to write and direct on big shows will help but an end to the imbalance. Patty Jenkins' success as director of Wonder Woman -- which is poised to become the most successful DCEU movie to date -- may help on the big screen; the small screen may still need some work.