Plenty of episodes of The X-Files live long in the memory for fans of the show. However, one particular installment of The X-Files was so gruesome and controversial that the episode was banned for three years, and led to the writers being called sick by their bosses. Now, it’s hailed as one of the most intriguing episodes of the very best sci-fi series around.
When you find out what the episode, titled ‘Home’, was actually about, you will likely shrug and say ‘What’s the big deal?’ but it’s worth remembering modern audiences are subjected to all kinds of dark subject matter these days. But for viewers at the time, this particular storyline from one of the best ’90s TV shows was deemed to be too disturbing.
When one of the best TV series at the time decided to treat its fans to scenes depicting incest, monstrous matriarchs with no arms or legs, and dead children being buried in the backyard, it was a pretty big deal. So much so, that ‘Home’, originally aired in October 1996, was completely removed from programming for three years.
Speaking to the New York Times, the writers of ‘Home’, Glen Morgan and James Wong, explained the reaction to the episode at the time, and why they think it shocked so many people so severely.
On the inception of the episode, Morgan said: “The episode was called ‘Home’ because Jim and I were returning ‘home’ to The X-Files to do some more episodes, and that caused us to think about the notion of ‘Home.’ One person’s safety and comfort is another’s nightmare.”
“We were trying to make a terrifying show,” Wong added. “We didn’t think we were pushing the envelope of taste in the way people seem to ascribe to us… we thought this was the most down-the-middle, straightforward of all of them. As it turns out it, it was one they never repeated until several years later.”
Wong recalled how he first realized the episode might have affected some people: “The people who responded first were the executives. I remember getting a call from a producer. He goes, ‘You guys are sick!'” Morgan added: “The next thing you know, they weren’t going to rerun it. They didn’t want the grief… we were all set to do a sequel to Home and then we got a call from Fox that said ‘Those characters never appear on television again.”’ So we dumped it.”
As with many banned episodes of old TV shows, ‘Home’ developed a certain mystique, and led to more and more viewers being morbidly curious. Morgan claims he doesn’t “know if anyone would remember it if it wasn’t banned.” Do they have any regrets? Not at all, it seems. Wong added: “I’m happy about it, and I’m proud of it. We thought it was going to be terrifying, but we didn’t know it was going to get the outraged response that it got.”
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