Kiss and Tell

Sorry, `X-Files’ fans, the producer promises the latest Mulder-Scully lip-lock is just a tease

In a way, it’s too bad Sunday’s episode of Fox’s “The X-Files” is getting more attention for what happens near the end than it does for its plot.

The paranormal series is giving a final send-off to its sort-of-sister “Millennium,” producer Chris Carter’s moody, dark show about visionary ex-FBI profiler Frank Black’s (Lance Henriksen) battle against a shadowy organization near the end of the century.

Airing at 8 p.m. on WFLD-Ch. 32, the episode ties up loose ends from the 1996-99 series, which was canceled in May. One of those is the fate of Black, whom Carter likens to the typical “hero with the weight of the world on his shoulders.” The episode also features a former member of the nefarious Millennium Group’s plot to raise the dead and use them to wreak havoc in the new century.

But more attention has been focused on one of the most anticipated moments in “X-Files” history: a kiss between special FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

The actors have kissed on-screen before. Once a shape-shifter posed as Mulder got Scully drunk and put the smackdown on her. Another time it was a Scully-lookalike from 1939 from whom a time-traveling Mulder stole a smooch. And in the “X-Files” movie, the couple’s lips brushed slightly before Scully got stung by a virus-carrying bee.

But never have Scully and Mulder done the lips-on-lips thing as themselves. And before fans of the show think they should be especially thankful this weekend because of the kiss, listen up. “X-Files” creator Carter says there will be no romantic entanglement mixed in with alien- and-mutant investigations.

“I’ve resisted any temptation (of romance) because I don’t think it’s right for the characters,” says Carter. “For me, the passion and the protectiveness of one towards the other is something that we all admire and envy because that kind of trust and caring happens so infrequently in life. When it does, it is transcendent.”

Carter says the relationship between Mulder and Scully has never been about sex or romance. It is the closeness between partners that most law enforcement types share that is at the center of their bond. It is also the closeness of two best friends, which in many cases can be as special and deep as a love affair

“Sometimes (viewers) don’t realize how protective Mulder is of Scully, and how noble and masculine and good that is,” Carter says. “They see it as two people who kid each other and are playful and protect each other in the most common senses of the word. But he’s very protective of her as a woman.” Carter adds that Scully is just as protective of Mulder.

Carter, the 43-year-old California surf bum/surfing writer who was brought into the Disney family 13 years ago to work on television movies, also was protective about his other series, “Harsh Realm.” But that didn’t stop Fox from canceling the show about soldiers fighting in a virtual reality war after only a couple of episodes.

Carter says Fox entertainment chief Doug Herzog didn’t “get” the concept behind “Realm,” and might not get “The X-Files’ ” mandate of monsters, mutants and government coverups. Herzog, on the other hand, has said he loves having Carter as part of the Fox family.

Carter says if he does another series (he has a pilot idea he would like work on in the spring), “I certainly want to do it at a place where they’re going to support it. They’re going to nurture it and they’re going to make sure that they’ve done everything they can to get it to its audience. And I believe that was just not the case with `Harsh Realm.’ “

He also says Fox has approached him about another season of “The X-Files,” but Carter says some “hurdles . . . I’ll quote them,” have to be cleared up. Probably the largest hurdle–in addition to Herzog getting a clue about the show–is his and Duchovny’s contracts are up at the end of this season.

(Carter adds he is enjoying a healthy working relationship with Duchovny, the tired-of-the-show actor who is suing Fox for selling repeats of the show to its FX cable network rather than putting the show on the block to the highest bidder.)

Also a consideration is Anderson, whose contract runs for another season. She, too, is “tired” of working on the show, Carter says, and has said this will be her last season as well.

This season Carter and his producers are “telling just good, scary stories again” and not doing as many lighthearted shows as they did last season. They have enough material to either end the series this May or go another season, plus the game plan calls for another “X-Files” movie in 2001.

Meanwhile, FX is airing a nine-hour “Millennium” marathon Sunday with host Lance Henriksen and featuring episodes that closely relate to and lead up to the “X-Files/Millennium” crossover at 8 p.m. The “Millennium” marathon starts at 11 a.m. And the cable channel airs its 14-hour “X-Files” marathon at 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, with fan-selected episodes in 11 categories, including “Best Mulder/Scully Chemistry,” “Best Scully Episode” and “Best Mulder Episode.”

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