As the creator of such popular shows as The X-Files and Millennium, writer, producer, and occasional director Chris Carter could be classified as the poster boy for paranoid, sci-fi-slanted television of the 1990s. Though Carter's material and approach may not be entirely original (as fans of Kolchak can certainly attest), his acute skill for tapping into the prevailing millennial paranoia of his generation is as patently undeniable as the public's endless fascination with the mysterious otherworldly forces on which he has built an empire. The son of a blue-collar worker, Carter was raised in the working-class suburbs of California. His early work included a stint as a writer for various surfing-oriented publications. Eager to move beyond the life of a beach-bound writer but unsure of how to make the leap to uncharted territory, Carter longed for the sort of stability that seemed to come so easily to his brother, a successful research scientist. As luck would have it, a close friend of Carter's at Surfing Magazine was the cousin of noted Hollywood screenwriter Dori Pierson -- and soon after the pair were introduced, romance began to blossom. Encouraged by his newfound muse to pursue a career in screenwriting, the ambitious and amiable young writer quickly landed a lucrative, entry-level writing position at Disney while simultaneously gaining a reputation as an arbitrator of cool among the Mouse House elite.
A subsequent teaming with FOX network executive Peter Roth offered a chance for Carter to exercise his imagination on the small screen, and with a childhood fascination with Kolchak fueling his creative fire, he began researching alien abductions and other bizarre supernatural phenomenon in preparation for a show that would be something of an updated version of the popular '70s series. With Carter's limited experience and a go-for-broke attitude to propel his idea, The X-Files would be the element that could either make or break his fledgling career. Though everyone involved with The X-Files from inception to execution no doubt had faith in the series, few could have anticipated the mark that the quirky and creepy series would make on the history of television. With smart stories, a solid cast, and slick production values, The X-Files created a seductively paranoid universe all its own -- a universe that viewers simply couldn't get enough of. A successful nine-year run on FOX was only the beginning; in addition to making a successful leap to the big screen in 1998, the series inspired two spin-offs -- Millennium and The Lone Gunmen. Though neither series managed to achieve the success of The X-Files, both carried Carter's unmistakable mark and expanded his universe and influence on the small screen. In 1999, Carter returned to television for the similarly minded sci-fi drama Harsh Realm. Though the show's life on the small screen was short-lived, fans could take solace in the fact that they would be seeing more of X-Files agents Mulder and Scully when it was announced in April 2004 that a sequel to The X-Files movie was in the early stages of production. Though an X-Files movie was released four years later (The X-Files: I Want to Believe), it was not a sequel, and fared somewhat poorly among fans hoping for further insight into the show's mythology.