As huge a deal as The X-Files was to pop culture back in the day, it was no surprise that the word of a new Chris Carter show in the works stirred up a lot of excitement across the realms of geekdom. But with that excitement came doubt. After all, The X-Files has been off the air for over a decade, and the second X-Files movie wasn’t exactly a high point in the genre. What if Chris Carter returned, only to reveal that he shouldn’t have? His new apocalyptic pilot, The After, met with a decidedly mixed reaction when it went up for public perusal last month, but it must have impressed the Powers That Be — Variety is reporting that the show has been ordered to series by Amazon Studios.
Written and directed by Carter, The After follows several strangers who find their fates intertwined as a mysterious apocalyptic event throws the world into chaos. The pilot leaves the nature of that event unexplored until the final moments, when it drops a batshit-crazy twist into the proceedings that suggests the show could potentially improve over the pilot’s mediocrity…or it might flame out in spectacular fashion. Suffice to say, it looks like The After will be channeling not just The X-Files but also Carter’s Millennium. Unfortunately, the pilot had some serious problems working against it, ranging from awkward dialogue to cliched characters to, in at least one instance, an actor who doesn’t seem to have any ability to, well, act. Hopefully now that the show has been given the greenlight, Carter will find his stride again and The After will earn our eyeballs. (You can read Nick’s review of the pilot right here.)
The After was posted on Amazon as part of their “Pilot Season,” which presents various completed pilots for the public to view and then vote on. This year there were 10 pilots up for review, including dramas, comedies, and children’s shows. While Carter’s name no doubt drew plenty of attention, familiarity isn’t always enough to win the day. Last year the high-profile Zombieland pilot, based on the 2009 horror/comedy, premiered to brutal reviews, leading the show and film’s creator to accuse the fan base of having “hated it out of existence.” Honestly, I think in many ways Zombieland was a better pilot than The After, or at least a less bad one. Still, the thought of a new Carter show is exciting, so I will watch with much interest to see where it goes. Fingers crossed that it works out and evolves into a show worthy of his X-Files legacy.
The After stars Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar, and Louise Monot.
Of the other drama and comedy projects up for the public vote, Amazon also gave series orders to the cop drama Bosch, the musical dramedy Mozart in the Jungle, and the dark comedy Transparent, which stars Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambor as a father who reveals to his grown children that he’s undergoing gender reassignment surgery to become a woman. You can watch the Amazon Studios pilots here.