Friday, June 22, 2007

Dana Scully, FBI

I've been a fan of The X-Files for a couple years now, and the more I watch it, the more I'm convinced it really is the best show to ever be on television.

I recently picked up all 9 seasons on DVD (Best Buy had a sale, $20 per season; I couldn't resist) and have been watching through them again. About three years ago I bought Asian bootleg versions of all 9 seasons labeled as "Collector's Editions" off ebay for a little over a hundred bucks. The quality wasn't great, and occasionally the DVDs would have trouble playing. I still feel it was a good purchase, because at the time the official DVDs were over $50 each and I hadn't seen enough of the series to warrant spending $450 on it. After watching through much of the series and finding out how well done it is, I can now justify my $190 purchase of all 9 seasons.

With the new purchase, instead of picking up at season 8 where I left off, I decided to start fresh. I started over.

Season 1, episode 1: The Pilot.

It's a well done episode, and really does set the tone for the entire series. It does a good job of introducing each character without making it seem trite and obvious, yet at the same time leave enough so that they can grow and evolve throughout the series. I learned some interesting things that I hadn't really otherwise picked up

  • Mulder is an Oxford graduate with a degree in psychology.
  • He's regarded as the best criminal profiler at the FBI.
  • Scully did her undergraduate work in physics and her senior thesis was on Einstein's Twin Paradox and a new approach to it (which is cool, but rather pointless, because it'd already been explained about 50 years prior).
  • She then went to medical school and was recruited to the FBI. They even mentioned that she may have taught at the academy.
  • The Section Chief and the Cigarette Smoking Man are the ones who assign Scully to the X-files.
  • The storage room at the end of the first episode is later seen again in season five, but at no point in between (that I can think of).

Part of the reason I believe that The X-Files is such a great series is because so many of the things that occur throughout season one that begin in the pilot extend throughout much of the series. Theres a beautiful blend between single-episode stories - the monster episodes - and the numerous story arcs. The story telling itself is extraordinarily well done, often leaving episodes "solved" in such a way that you're never quite sure exactly what happened, while not leaving the viewer thinking "that didn't make sense" or "uhm, what?"

I think the thing I find most intrguing on that list is that Scully's undergraduate degree is in physics. Since I started watching the series, she's easily been one of my favorite television characters - one of my favorite fictional characters. Aside from her prepossessing appearance, which is subtle, respectable, and alluring simultaneously, her attitude towards the unexplained phenomenon she constantly encounters is realistic. I like to believe that in such a scenario, I would have a similar reaction: pessimistic and doubting, without denying the facts, even though they appear unbelievable and impossible. She's a truly respectable character.

Without trying to sound like every other X-files fan, I have actually considered applying for a career in the FBI. At the moment, I do not meet the current requirements for application and admission (they have a very complex application process, quite unlike the CIA). However, graduate school is something I've been interested in for years, and the idea of medical school is something I've never cast aside. As a matter of fact, I've been told that medical schools are very open to physics majors and that they often do quite well. One of my professors has worked in the medical physics field and he once told me that the few physicists he knew who went into medical school were always greatly respected for their critical thinking abilities. It may sound impressionable, but hearing that Scully went from physics to medicine is actually encouraging. Medical shows have often ranked among my favorite - Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, House - and I've always been intrigued by medicine. It seems like a very worthwhile and respectable thing to do with my life; devoting myself to learning about the human body and how to help others.

One thing that makes me believe I could actually do it is because I find real medicine (i.e. not television show medicine) interesting. I'm fascinated about how the human body works and adore talking to medical doctors whenever I can - their knowledge is so impressive and enthralling. I've been trying to figure out what to do with my life and just recently received a job offer (not a career-type job, just a basic job). It might be worth applying to medical school, just to see if I can get in. There's no harm in applying, right? I don't think I'll go to any graduate programs (whether in physics, medicine, or something else entirely) for at least a year, though. I want to just live for a little while. I want to relax and have fun before becoming a responsible adult.

During that time, I think I'll keep watching The X-Files.

[ for the life of me I can't figure out what's wrong with the formatting after the bullet points. I've been messing with the html for an hour now and I got nothing. Fixed.]

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