Let me be clear about one thing right off the bat. As a lover of the English language I’m always searching for the exact right word to describe something, and I don’t use the word “incomparable” lightly. I use it because no relationship I’ve ever seen on television compares to how realistic and effortless the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson is on The X-Files. When they perform a scene together, there’s absolutely no sense of actors repeating lines from a script. It’s genuine. Viewers believe a real conversation is happening between two actual people who know each other as well as Mulder and Scully would.
Remember my post from a few weeks back about how Gillian Anderson was, superficially speaking, the antithesis of what the show was looking for in a female lead? –> (Dana Scully) The reason she got the part anyway was because no one in the room could deny the lightning they’d trapped in a bottle when they saw the unprecedented chemistry between the two. Chemistry on T.V. is like Voice in fiction. It can’t be taught or forcefully applied, but when a writer taps into it, and it’s right, they’d be a fool not to run with it because it’s not something easily harnessed.
Don’t take my word for it; listen to what The X-Files team has to say on the subject:
That’s not to say that the hard part is over. Chemistry is one thing, but then it’s up to the writers to give the characters excellent dialogue, and not let that potential go to waste. Luckily, the show is as well-written as it is well-cast. Let these Mulder and Scullyisms courtesy of Snakey973 be your proof:
When Mulder and Scully interact it’s easy to believe the two have known each other well and for a long time. Viewers believe that they know each other personally as well as professionally, and not only spend much time together at work, but outside of it as well. They have the kind of back-and-forth that happy long-term couples have, where they can joke with each other and understand and appreciate the other’s sense of humor. Their use of sarcasm, the faces they make at one another, and the way they good-naturedly give each other a hard time are all characteristics of real relationships. You can always tell when two people aren’t comfortable around each other because they are being too polite. Mulder and Scully share an intimate comfort and speak to each other as I would to my closest friends.
I’ve seen shows like Stargate-SG-1 (Jack and Carter) and 12 Monkeys (Cole and Cassie) come close, but I still have yet to see a real competitor for The X-Files in the chemistry department. The stars seem to have aligned perfectly over this one creative endeavor, and fans are eternally grateful.