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After seven years of Hank Moody on Showtime’s Californication, David Duchovny doesn’t seem intent on getting roped into more long-term projects any time soon. His future will reteam him with Gillian Anderson for Fox’s X-Files revival and have him chasing Charles Manson for NBC’s Aquarius, and he thinks that it’s precisely these shortened forms of storytelling that will be the future of television. The truth is out there…in Duchovny’s head.
Speaking with Variety, Duchovny shared that it was precisely the compact nature of Chris Carter’s new X-Files story that got him interested again. Here are his thoughts on how to ensure TV’s impact for years to come.
Television started to change in that now there are limited runs. I think it’s the way the networks have to survive in the future. I think you can attract the talent you want by having a shorter season and you can tell more interesting stories.
Not that Duchovny is the first person to have this idea or anything. TV has been shifting more towards shortened TV seasons for a few years now, as broadcast networks are adapting more to both the cable programming model and that of international networks, such as the U.K.’s usual 6-8 episodes in a season. (Didn’t work for Gracepoint though.) These shortened production schedules definitely aid in drawing to TV bigger names that don’t necessarily have time for hiatus-friendly traditional seasons.
But as someone who went from 20+-episode TV seasons to 12-episode TV seasons while keeping a feature film career steady, he’s got an insider opinion on the issue. Aquarius is currently set as a 13-episode event series, which may or may not lead to multiple seasons, and The X-Files is coming back for what seems like a standalone six-episode season, though I’m sure massive ratings would provoke everyone to come back for more.
I would never have gone and done another 22 episodes of X-Files, but we’re going to do six — well, that’s like doing a movie…Six to me sounds very doable at any walk of my life. It’s not a great hardship in terms of time. I would hope it would be successful. I would hope we could continue, but right now, I’m just looking at it as these six, and then we’ll see what happens.
I think everyone could do with more Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in the modern era, so here’s hoping whatever Carter is cooking up is worth the wait. At this point, even Duchovny isn’t quite sure what the show’s format will be like, though he assumes that there will be standalone episodes that work within an overall arc. As well, he said the show’s tone will probably refrain from going “weirder and darker” than Gillian Anderson’s other show, Hannibal. So I guess nothing like “Home” again.
I’m all for shortened seasons and the recent embrace of anthology series, both for star power and for story power. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’re seeing a bigger chunk of Hollywood’s elite heading to the small screen. Or to Netflix, more likely, where Anderson’s stellar drama The Fall can be seen.