The Lone Gunmen seemed destined to be an oddity.
When it arrived in March 2001, it must have felt like a throwback. The production team had consciously modelled the series on the classic episodic spy and adventure shows of the sixties, seventies and eighties. Mission: Impossible and The A-Team served as cultural touchstones, with both The Pilot and Eine Kleine Frohike making visual references to Brian dePalma’s cinematic adaptation of Mission: Impossible while Maximum Byers featured an extended discussion of the pros and cons of Pros and Cons, an early first season episode of The A-Team.
In terms of structure and tone, The Lone Gunmen seemed to hark back to the golden age of two-knuckled action adventure television shows like
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Summary: The postal center in Franklin, Pennsylvania, is a happening place. An employee named Ed is moving letters along quickly when he accidentally cuts himself. Ed’s boss pulls him aside to give the bad news that he’s being let go. Ed’s work has been great; it’s just a case of needing to make cutbacks. His parting gift is $100. Ed goes back to finish his task, typing zip codes into a computer. “KILL” flashes on the readout. Ed pauses, then goes back to his job. “KILL” comes up again, then “KILL ‘EM,” and finally, “KILL ‘EM ALL.”
At Franklin’s Civic Center, a bunch of people are crammed into an elevator together. One man sees “NO AIR” on the display screen. Then he sees “CAN’T BREATHE” and “KILL ‘EM ALL.” Later, the building’s lobby is designated a crime scene, and Mulder…
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