In case you missed it, last Sunday a new episode of The X-Files aired on FOX. For us here at XFN, and perhaps to you as well, this was a Very Big Deal. It’s been a long time since a brand new episode of The X-Files aired on television. A very long time actually. “The Truth Parts One and Two” - the final episodes of season nine - first aired on May 19th, 2002. That made it 13 years, 8 months and 6 days between that episode and the first airing of “My Struggle”, the first episode of season 10. An incredible 4,999 days in total. That’s a long time to wait, and while we Philes may have sat patiently waiting for the return of Mulder and Scully to the small screen, the world has marched onwards. People have been born (perhaps you’re one of them) and died. Wars have been fought, discoveries made, and much, much more. To help put things into perspective, I rounded up a list of just some of the things that have happened in those nearly 5000 days since we watched Mulder and Scully spoon up on a motel bed in Roswell. Fair warning: this post will make you feel old!
Back in May 2002, the Iraq war had not yet begun and the Columbia Space Shuttle was still flying - as were the other shuttles in NASA's fleet. The Human Genome Project was as yet incomplete and Pluto was still a planet. George W. Bush had only recently begun his first term as president, meaning that despite the nearly 14 years between these X-Files episodes, the United States has only elected one new president - Barack Obama. Since 2002 we have seen Hurricane Katrina kill thousands, Saddam Hussein executed, the Fukushima nuclear plant destroyed, and Osama Bin Laden found and killed. In happier news, scientists discovered the Higgs Boson, Prince William married Kate Middleton and went on to have two children, and same-sex marriage was legalised across the U.S. and in many other countries.
When “The Truth” first aired in 2002, there was only one Lord of The Rings movie, five Star Wars movies (Episode II was released just three days earlier), and one Harry Potter movie. The Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it now was barely even a twinkle in Stan Lee’s eye. Jason Bourne was yet to make his cinematic debut, and James Bond was still played by Pierce Brosnan. We had yet to find Nemo, kill Bill, sail with Captain Jack Sparrow, or fall in Love Actually. Nicholas Cage had yet to steal the Declaration of Independence and we had no idea who Lightning McQueen, Mr Incredible, or WALL-E were. Oh, and fetch had definitely not happened and wouldn’t for another two years.
Since 2002, we have seen the release of the entire Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, The Hunger Games trilogy, and three new Harry Potter books (yes, we were still reeling from the events of “The Goblet of Fire” when Mulder and Scully last appeared on TV). John Green began publishing novels, as did Stephanie Meyer, and we discovered “The Da Vinci Code”, “The Help”, and “The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time.” Through the years we have met the Time Traveller’s wife, the Book Thief, and five people in Heaven. Finally, a mere two new Song of Ice and Fire books have been published - hurry up George!
In May 2002, Friends was still on the air, as was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frasier, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. We had yet to be bad guys with Captain Reynolds and his crew on Firefly, cheer on an American Idol, or laugh/cringe at the antics of the Top Gear team. CSI was new to the air, as was Smallville, 24, and The Wire. Ellen had yet to launch her TV show, likewise for Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, and Stephen Fry had not yet begun hosting QI. We had yet to meet Dr. Gregory House, the Winchester brothers, or Veronica Mars, and we were all still unaware of the mysteries surrounding Lost, the hilarity of the Big Bang Theory, or the drama to be found in Grey’s Anatomy. Battlestar Galactica was a show from the 1970s, Doctor Who was still stuck in the 1980s, and both Temperance “Bones” Brennan and Dexter Morgan existed only in books.
Internet & Tech:
Our online lives have changed unbelievable since 2002; if you were even online at all back then - less than 10% of the world’s population was. If you were online, it was probably via a dial-up modem which would have taken you around a quarter of an hour to download a song if you were lucky, and you could have browsed a mere 3 million websites, I wonder how many were X-Files fansites? Back then there was no Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, the biggest social network at the time was Friendster with just 3 million users. Internet Explorer had a 95% market share, most of us searched via Yahoo!, and we certainly didn’t browse on our iDevices as the iPad and iPhone had yet to be launched. If you were one of the early adopters with a first generation iPod, you couldn’t even have used iTunes to update it as that didn’t exist yet either!