Fox Told X-Files Writers the Peacock Family "Could Never Appear on Television Again"

Friday, 30 October 2015 - 1:36PM
X-Files
Friday, 30 October 2015 - 1:36PM
Fox Told X-Files Writers the Peacock Family "Could Never Appear on Television Again"

"Home," the fourth season episode of The X-Files which centered around a horrifying inbred mutant family named the Peacocks, is one of the most beloved X-Files episode of all time. It's also the most controversial by far, as its disturbing violence and subversive depiction of incest led to the first-ever TV-MA rating and a subsequent ban of the episode. Fox famously never replayed the episode, barring one special Halloween showing three years later.

In spite of this controversy, and maybe partially because of it, the episode has become a cult classic, and left the fans (the fans who didn't complain in the first place, that is), clamoring for a sequel. We all hoped that the episode in the revival entitled "Home Again," would bring back the Peacock family, but Chris Carter debunked that particular dream. Now, the writers of "Home," Glen Morgan and James Wong, told The New York Times in a recent interview that they attempted to make a sequel back in 1997, but Fox forbade them from ever using the characters again.



It's a testament to the writers' ability that the episode was so controversial in spite of a lack of actual explicit content. There was no graphic violence or sex, just extremely disturbing implications, but they were enough to get the episode banned. In the interview, Wong and Morgan recall the most contentious parts of the episode that caught the eye of the executives and censors: the relationship between Mrs. Peacock and her sons, the deformed baby who was buried alive, but most of all, the scene in which the mutants kill the sheriff and his wife with baseball bats, awesomely set to Johnny Mathis's "Wonderful, Wonderful" (or a soundalike cover, as Mathis refused to let them use his song after reading the script).

Opening quote
"The people who responded first were the executives," said Wong of the scene. "I remember getting a call from a producer. He goes, 'You guys are sick!' I thought, 'What is he talking about?' I thought we had done more extreme stuff.
Closing quote


Opening quote
We were starting to get a little concerned, so I brought in our broadcast standards and practices executive when we edited the scene when the three brothers were murdering the sheriff," said Morgan. "They killed him with clubs. We had a rule - in baseball, if you 'break' your wrists, it's a strike. So we never let the characters break their wrists when they were swinging down to hit the sheriff."
Closing quote


For those of you who don't care about baseball, he's essentially saying that they resolved not to pull their punches and make the baseball bat scene obviously fake. The violence is still all implied, but that attitude made it much scarier, and didn't help their case with the censors and network.

Opening quote
"The next thing you know, they weren't going to rerun it," continued Morgan. "They didn't want the grief. In fact, the next year Jim and I ran the show "Millennium," which Chris Carter also created, and the ratings were low on that show and we thought, 'Hey, what if Lance Henriksen finds the surviving members of the Peacock family?' Everybody thought that was a great idea. And we were all set to do a sequel to 'Home' and then we got a call from Fox that was: 'Those characters never appear on television again.' So we dumped it.
Closing quote


So there you have it; although Morgan named his episode of the revival "Home Again," "knowing that suckers out there would think it was a sequel to 'Home,'" we will likely never see the Peacocks on our screens again, for better and for worse. 



New Key Art for X-Files Revival

The X-Files revival miniseries airs on January 24 on Fox. "Home Again," written and directed by Glen Morgan, is the second episode, which will air on January 25.

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