After all these years Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are back for a six-episode miniseries. After watching episode one, however, it remains uncertain whether it will be worth investing the time in the next five installments set to air.
The X-Files Past
Although I have never believed in UFOs, government conspiracies or the paranormal I was always a big fan of The X-Files. Quality storytelling, impressive special effects and high production values sucked me in when the show burst on the scene in 1993, kept my interest until it went off the air and even drew me into the movie theater for two forgettable The X-Files feature films. It was with great interest, then, that I sat down to watch the first episode of the six-episode The X-Files miniseries that debuted last night on FOX.
The program begins with a segment that sums all that has already transpired in the world of The X-Files and sets the stage for what is to come. I can hardly find the words to describe how good these first few minutes were to watch. Enthralling, captivating, hypnotic, and cinematic are just four that spring to mind. For fans it was as if the show had never left the air. Those unfamiliar with the series were brought up to speed. I imagined everyone watching was ready to have our socks knocked off.
Bashing the Right
What came next was a string of very offensive insults directed toward Republicans and Conservatives. After what seemed like the tenth shot had been taken at the Right I had decided that this review would be limited to just three words: “#*&@ The X-Files.” By the time I finished watching the episode I had changed my mind. The program did not deserve to be dismissed so easily.
Monster of the Week
Though most would probably associate the show with extraterrestrials, early in the series’ run many plots were centered around other subjects. The X-Files was at its best when mythical creatures such as the Jersey Devil were brought to life or monsters created in the fertile minds of the show’s writers became the program’s star for an episode.
Mulder and Scully
The dynamic that existed between Mulder and Scully and how it shaped the series was another factor that made the show so special. Mulder was always a “believer” who was ready to accept paranormal, otherworldly and conspiratorial explanations for the cases the two FBI agents handled. Scully argued for the skeptics viewpoint grounded in known science. The audience was left to decide for her or himself which of the two presented a more believable argument in the context of the program.
Changes in the Show
As The X-Files went on and the seasons past, the show shifted more and more of its focus toward UFOs and UFO-related conspiracies and away from all other topics. In the series’ final season, which concluded in 2002 only two episodes had no relation to UFOs.
Another change that took place over the course of the program was that Scully went from becoming a skeptic to a “believer.” As a consequence of these two major evolutions of the show, The X-Files lost much of its luster and became a shadow of its former self. It nonetheless never ceased to be worth watching and much better TV than most of what else was on television at the time.
Hopes for the Future
When I learned that The X-Files was coming back to television, I hoped that the show would return to what made it great. Scully, of course, could never go back to being an all-out skeptic. However, devoting some episodes to something other than “little green men” certainly seemed doable.
Perhaps considering what The X-Files became by 2002, episode one simply could not have centered around anything but aliens. Despite my disappointment at this fact the program did make for enjoyable TV. I will be watching tonight and hope to see Mulder and Scully chasing Bigfoot through the Pacific Northwest.
Advice for Chris Carter
If The X-Files creator and primary writer, “tolerant” Liberal Chris Carter, wants to bring the series back to TV on a permanent basis he would do well to remember that at least half of those who watch television will vote Republican in November. If the remaining five episodes of The X-Files include more jabs at Republicans and Conservatives The X-Files may well alienate a large portion of its audience and fail in the ratings for the same reason that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is tanking.
This is not what I want. I want something similar to The X-Files of the mid-1990s, but will probably enjoy shows about “little green men” as well as long as they do not come with a dose of blue state men’s politics.
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