The X-Files is a show that has always been fully aware of its own history. From series-long story arcs to in-jokes and genre tributes, it was self-aware before the idea of “meta” became as commonplace as found footage and mockumentaries.
And so it continues in its latest incarnation, a six-episode miniseries on Fox/CTV.
In last night’s episode (February 1), Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster—a funny and offbeat return to the show’s Monster-of-the-Week glory days—the self-references are piled on fast and furious. There are nods to earlier monster-based episodes and characters, pencils, Scully’s Moby Dick connection, and, naturally, Mulder’s notorious red Speedo.
Sharp-eyed viewers may also have noticed that the mysterious Guy Mann (Rhys Darby, Murray from Flight of the Conchords) even wears Darren McGavin’s suit from the X-Files’ inspirational predecessor, Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
The biggest tribute of the night, however, was reserved for the late director Kim Manners, who was based in Vancouver for many years. In the episode, Duchovny and Darby play out an extended scene in front of a gravestone with the filmmaker’s name, his actual dates of birth and death, and his favorite catchphrase, “Let’s kick it in the ass”.
A Hollywood pro who had worked on such shows as Charlie’s Angels and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Manners originally came to town with Stephen J. Cannell Productions to work on local shows like 21 Jump Street, Booker, and Wiseguy, back when Vancouver was quickly becoming a major force in the movie and television business.
Manners went on to direct 52 episodes of the locally-shot X-Files, as well as 17 episodes of Supernatural, also filmed in Vancouver. He died in 2009.