It’s not every day someone brings tales of dead babies and in-breeding into our living rooms, as well as violent death set to upbeat pop songs, but Glen Morgan has done it and then some.
Alongside his frequent collaborator James Wong, Glen Morgan set a high standard for television horror in the 90’s. A key member of Chris Carter’s seminal television phenomenon The X-Files, and later the underrated but truly brilliant Millennium, Morgan was part of a production team that saw American network television go dark, go funny and never be afraid to pull its punches.
On top of some of the most brilliant episodes of The X-Files and Millennium, Morgan was also the co-creator of the sadly forgotten Space: Above and Beyond, which was axed after one season (one of many unfortunate genre casualties to come from the FOX Network), helped spearhead the Final Destination franchise, itself based on a rejected X-Files idea, directed the remakes of Willard and Black Christmas, created Intruders for BBC America, returned for The X-Files revival, crafting one of the tenth season’s most emotional hours, and now takes the showrunning reigns on Lore, Amazon’s new series based on the phenomenally popular story telling podcast centred around the supernatural and urban myths.
Morgan’s journey to Lore began in the famed offices of Stephen J Cannell; Morgan made contributions to the original Johnny Depp starring 21 Jump Street, before writing for The Commish, the comedy drama cop series famous for starring a pre-The Shield Michael Chiklis.
In the end, despite writing for two Cannell-produced cop shows, it is the weird and macabre world of the supernatural and the horror genre that Morgan has become most famous. Right away, both himself and James Wong becamekey members on The X-Files writing staff, with many of their episodes from the first two seasons becoming instantly popular with the series’ growing cult fan base.
To this day, Squeeze, Ice and Beyond the Sea are still regarded by fans and scholars of the series as some of the finest work on the show, and after returning to the series after leaving to craft their own show, Space: Above and Beyond, they made a controversially triumphant return in its fourth year with Home, a violent and darkly comic tale that caused a massive amount on controversy in the US upon premiering and which was banned for several years by the FOX Network.
After writing some divisive, yet truly brilliant work for The X-Files’ fourth season, they took over as showrunners for Chris Carter’s Millennium. Having contributed some superb scripts to the first season, they ended up taking the show in a very different direction. The series, which focused on serial killers and psychology in its first year, became centred around occult themes in the second, and in doing so became one of the most brilliant seasons of television ever constructed.
Depending on who you talk to, the finale was either crafted as an ending to the show, or a cliffhanger to set up season three, but its incendiary nature which saw half the cast supposedly killed off and the world ending due to a viral apocalypse was surely the most jawdropping finale of a show since Dale Cooper went into the Black Lodge at the end of Twin Peaks.
Never afraid to push the boundaries, either in content or in long dialogue driven scenes, Glen Morgan is one of the television’s most brilliant writers, and now showrunning an adaptation of the famed podcast Lore, it’s going to be fascinating to see the writer and director delve even deeper into the world of the supernatural.
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