The cast, the crew, the storytelling itself - everything about The Lone Gunmen was suffused with joy in a way that few series ever are. Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and I used to cry with laughter breaking stories for the show. After all the darkness of The X-Files (and for me, Millennium) for so many years, here was a show with sweetness and light. It felt good to make it.
But that’s not to say the work was easy – if you’re doing your job right, it never is. More than anything, we struggled to get the tone right. We veered from drama with comedic touches in the pilot episode, to outright absurdist comedy in episodes like Madam I’m Adam, and back again, finally finding what we thought was the perfect balance when Michael McKean joined the cast in All About Yves, the season finale.
But alas, Fox had been chasing improved ratings in the Friday night time slot ever since The X-Files moved to Sunday nights, and The Lone Gunmen wasn’t able to deliver them. Despite our best efforts, it was over and out after thirteen delicious episodes.
One footnote: even before the series premiered, the X-Files writer Darin Morgan showed us that the animated series King of the Hill had one of their characters wear a “Bring Back the Lone Gunmen” t-shirt. Perhaps they knew something we didn’t.