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Chris Carter's The After

Pilot Episode for X-Files Creator Chris Carter’s ‘The After’: Free to Watch at Amazon!

Fans of The X-Files may be excited to learn that creator Chris Carter – who has not really been involved in much else since the end of the series – has written and directed a new show, simply titled The After. Up until now, the blurb for the series has simply said that the story “follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation”. You can now find out more yourself right now, however, by watching the pilot episode of the series, which is available to stream, for free, from Amazon.

Minor spoilers below

After having just watched it, my opinion is divided. After a short prelude, the story proper begins with eight characters emerging from a building to find that the world has descended into chaos – the power has been out (strangely, apparently for a whole day already…), there are no communications, people are rioting on the streets, and strange booming sounds are being heard in the distance (though powerful enough to crack glass). The choice of the eight characters feels a bit heavy-handed in trying to insert as much diversity/conflict as possible: we have a policewoman, a convicted murderer (claiming innocence) on the lam, a lawyer, a prostitute, a clown (no, really), a spectacularly rich old lady, a French actress, and an offensive, brawling Irishman.

(Come to think of it, on writing that list out, perhaps I’ve been a bit hasty: is there some sort of symbolism intended in terms of representations of justice, comedy, avarice, sensuality, violence etc? Especially in terms of what emerges as the main theme of the show, mentioned below.)

Really this ‘group emerging and fighting their way through a post-apocalyptic scenario’ has become a bit of an overdone trope these days (and I’m the world’s biggest fan of post-apocalyptic stories, so that’s saying something!), with scenarios from zombie plagues to a worldwide loss of power. For that reason, I think, many may struggle to find excitement in the first three quarters of the pilot episode. Even the trailer from Amazon makes a feature of this aspect:

I have the feeling that both Amazon and Chris Carter wanted this scenario to be a bit of a ‘blind’ to the sting in the tail of the pilot though, because the storyline turns absolutely full-on X-Files in the final section – so much so that I felt like I was sitting through one of those classic episodes from the early 90s. Sadly, I think plenty of people might not sit through the pilot for long enough to experience the change in vibe – indeed, many hastily posted reviews that I’ve seen already suggest to me that the reviewer quickly viewed some of it, then turned it off and wrote their review without finishing the episode.

In short, and without giving too much away, what seemed to have been some sort of technological or terrorism-related apocalyptic scenario now seems it might be a whole lot more ‘authentic apocalypse’ – as in the Biblical kind – with a creepy, supernatural element exploding on to the screen. The ending certainly suggests that future episodes will be a whole lot more X-Files in vibe, and those who watch the entire pilot, I think, would be keen to see what happens in the next episode after that ending.

Chris Carter’s back, baby! It’s just a shame they kept him in the cage for most of the pilot episode, before releasing him in full attack mode at the end.

(Oh, and did anyone else thing that police officer Marly bears more than a passing resemblance to Dana Scully?)

If you watch the pilot episode of The After, and like it, make sure you take part in the short survey at Amazon (button on the right side of the screen), and tell them you want to see more.

Watch: The After

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