Gillian Anderson: only 2 out of 207 X-Files were ever directed by women

foz upfront 2017 ny
A new 11 episode season of X-Files is coming to Fox either this fall or early next year. I found the six-episode revival, which aired in early 2016, to be a mixed bag. The best episodes were a return to the quirky funny X-Files we love and the worst were a convoluted mess of conspiracy theories, just like in the 90s. Unlike in the original series, the writing team for this upcoming full season is now all male. (Women were credited as co-writers on just one of the six recent episodes.) A quick glance at Wiki shows that in X-Files’s nine season run, which ended in 2002, they did have occasional episodes written by women. This was of course in a much lower proportion than you would expect, at about 1-2 episodes a season. Women directed just two episodes in the entire original series of over 200.

We know that only male writers have been hired for the next season because the Washington Post pointed out that creator Chris Carter had an all male writing team so far. It’s possible he’ll hire some women but star Gillian Anderson isn’t holding her breath. She tweeted a link to the article and added the detail about the alarming lack of women directors as well. (She’s credited with directing one episode.) Here’s what she wrote:

Anderson has previously spoken out about the pay disparity on X-Files and the fact that she was offered half of what her co-star David Duchovny was paid for the six season revival (I assume he told her his salary). She did achieve pay equity eventually. Now she’s rightfully calling them out for not having any female writers at all. Oh and I checked and the writing team for last season was two white guys, an asian guy and Chris Carter (who is white).

People often cite television as the medium in which women and minorities are gaining more representation on screen and while that may be true in comparison to the past, the numbers are still woefully low. The Washington Post points us to this article in Variety reviewing the numbers of women and people of color in the new scripted series for the fall. They concluded that “white men make up a the majority of showrunners and lead actors on the new series ordered for the upcoming season” with “low representation for women and people of color in the topmost roles both in front of and behind the camera.” It figures.

The BAFTA Television Awards 2017

Gillian Anderson smiles as she leaves the BBC Breakfast studio's

foz upfront 2017 ny

photos credit: WENN and Backgrid

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15 Responses to “Gillian Anderson: only 2 out of 207 X-Files were ever directed by women”

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  1. Unknown says:

    I grew up watching the X-Files and she (Sully) largely shaped my character as wanting to be a strong STEM-based female. Gillian Anderson deserves so much for all she had to put up during production back then and even now working on increasing awareness and opportunities for women behind the scenes. There are brilliant women writers and directors, but given how cut-throat (and dying) the TV industry can be, I wouldn’t be surprised if they only did safe/known hires making it even more harder to break that barrier.

  2. lucy2 says:

    Out of curiosity, I counted the number of directors they had over the series, thinking maybe 2 or 3 had done the majority of the episodes. Nope. They had almost 50 different directors.
    Only 2 were women, Gillian and Michelle MacLaren (who is an awesome director).

  3. Elina says:

    I watched The Fall and I couldn’t help but love her badassery. Amazing, strong, powerful, woman.

  4. LadyT says:

    She remains so beautiful and natural looking. 49th birthday next month. THIS is how it’s done ladies!

  5. Mannori says:

    Robin Wright hustled and proved herself capable and ended directing something as like 10 episodes of House of Cards so far, and she’s pretty great at it. Is also about about forcing their hands at this point, because is clear that nobody is going to knock at our doors to give us equal representation. The time has come to stop whining and just demand. Gillian has directed some short I think. Why doesn’t prepare herself and take the issue on her own hands. She just like Robin Wright did, has the star power and name recognition to do it.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      Pretty sure that’s easier said than done. There are plenty of women who have the skills, but until someone actually says yes, you can direct, that’s not going to happen. There’s a gateway and the people in power control who goes in and out. Obviously, Anderson is doing her best to change that by speaking out. Fans can demand as well, that puts pressure where it needs to go.

      • Mannori says:

        True. Is a long and difficult road. What I’m saying is that women like Wright and Anderson have the tools and star power to force the situations. Blackmail and threaten if necessary. They are the leading ladies on their respective shows. If Wright managed successfully to get directing and executive producing credits on her show and is fighting the fight for equal pay with Spacey as well, I think Gillian at least should be able to impose one female director. What is baffles me and makes me angry is the silence of their leading men: Duchovny could and should speak out as well.

    • EOA says:

      She did do that – she’s one of the two women she’s referencing. (She directed an important but messy episode called “all things”. Duchovney also directed, he did 3 episodes in total). It shouldn’t be just up to her, though – they should hire more women directors, and I say this as a huge fan of the show.

    • Amy says:

      The problem with Robin Wright as an example is that she is already an actress. She has the connections and the fiancial resources to become a director.
      What about women who have go to school for film-making? Why aren’t they being give the same oppertunties are Robin Wright?

  6. cindy says:

    I am still an x- files fan, but its disappointing to hear this. Ugh.

    On a shallow note, Gillian looks amazing. Man, she is beautiful.

    • poorlittlerichgirl says:

      Did you see the pap photos of her and her husband on vacation? Holy Moses! Her body is insane! She looks good, not just for her age but as a human being in general.

  7. Mia4s says:

    What’s past is past however the fact that they didn’t take this new wave of episodes as an opportunity to do better is extremely disappointing. Sadly only two of the episodes were any good of the new run anyway; and the episodes Chris Carter wrote were garbage. Just disappointing all around.

  8. Amy says:

    Its not just the X-files. Woman are not given the chance period.
    Unless they are already an actress or someone who comes from wealth and privileged.
    I personally would love to see more women who actually spend good money going to schools like NYU, Columbia, USC, UCLA actually be given the chance to direct. It makes me angry and sad.
    What happens to those who can’t make it in film? Just asking.

  9. Lisa says:

    As a fan of XF from the beginning, what’s incredible to me is that I never noticed until now. And I had to google Michelle MacLaren. She was co-executive producer of 46 episodes from seasons 7-9, but all of them (except ‘all things,’ which Gillian directed in 2000) were written and directed by men.

    Btw, you wrote ‘six season revival’ where it should be ‘six episode’!