In the week since the season finale of the return run of “The X-Files” I have taken time to consider all six episodes as a unit and given some thought to the future of the show. Read on for my thoughts.
Mulder’s Gut and Scully’s Butt
Early in the finale, we see a series of still photographs that show how the two agents aged through the eight years “The X-Files” was originally on the air. Upon seeing them one could not help but ponder the hand that father time has dealt the show’s two leading characters. Gillian Anderson (who portrays Dana Scully) aged remarkably well in the fifteen years since the series was last on television. She has kept her figure, retained a very youthful looking face and was as sexy as ever in a scene in the “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” episode that was so steamy it made we wonder if I had accidently tuned into “The XXX-Files” instead of “The X-Files.” Could it be the alien DNA that explains why she has retainer her beauty so well?
David Duchovny (who plays Fox Mulder), on the other hand, has really let himself go. Even when Duchovny appeared in business attire in the first installment of the season, it was obvious that he had a prominent gut. For this reason, I was surprised to see him in nothing but red Speedo underwear in the same “Were-Monster” episode in which Anderson looked so sultry.
He looked even worse in “Babylon” when he was shown wearing no shirt and his stomach hung down so low that it sometimes covered his belt. It must be said, though, that he deserves to be commended for his willingness to appear in these two scenes for the good of “The X-Files” despite his appearance. Its further evidence that he is not one of those vain self-obsessed Hollywood/television types. Either way, I think both straight and gay people can agree that Fox Mulder in a state of undress is something we all could have done without seeing this season.
Duchovny has the wealth to hire a nutritionist and personal chef. His career affords him plenty of free time to work out. Looking his best is part of his job. His fans from “The X-Files” heyday who work regular jobs can be forgiven if they have “dad bods.” Duchovny is a dad who has no excuse for having a dad bod.
In interviews Duchovny has always come across as a pleasant, down-to-earth person and so I do not want to just run him down without giving him his just desserts. He was the star of all six installments. Duchovny is that rare actor who can do drama and comedy and did both equally well this past season. I was particularly struck by how well he used facial expressions to deliver humor.
“The X-Files” in HD
The first run of “The X-Files” ended in 2001. Watching in 2016 we were able to see the series on large, widescreen, flat HD televisions that project brilliant colors. The program was always visually sumptuous. These last six episodes were even more so due to advances in technology.
Every episode had at least one scene that began with a Ford motor vehicle approaching from a distance and ended with a close-up on the front of the vehicle and the Ford logo. The coming of such blatant and reappearing product placement is an obvious evolution in television. Every day the percentage of us with DVRs is increasing and less and less of us are watching commercials because it is so easy to fast-forward through them. Advertisers will not buy commercial time if people do not watch their advertisements. Expect to see arrangements such as “The X-Files” had with the Ford Motor Company, in which Ford both bought traditional commercial spots and had their product featured in each episode as well, to become the norm. This does not bother me since it may lead to the eventual elimination of traditional commercials altogether. Furthermore, if done skillfully, product placement could even aid the viewer in her or his willingness to suspend disbelief when viewing a television program.
The Future of “The X-Files”
The return of the series was a hit! Although the ratings did trail off as the season progressed, it garnered far more viewers than was necessary for Fox to bring it back next year. News broke in the last week that suggests it is almost a lock that there will be a season eleven.
I want the program’s quality level to return to that of its glory days. For this to happen there will have to be more monster-themed episodes and less storylines centered around extraterrestrials and government conspiracies. There will also have to be less politics and lecturing of the audience.
Overall, the wring just needs to be better. In a vox.com piece, Todd VanDerWerff argued that it “would…be interesting to explore what “The X-Files” might look like if it were written by a woman, or a person of color, or someone barely in their 20s, who only knows the show from binge-watching it on Netflix?” (http://www.vox.com/2016/2/24/11104426/the-x-files-finale-recap-bad) Unilke VanDerWerff, I believe that what would make “The X-Files” most interesting is if the series hired the most talented writers available regardless of what demographic group they may fall into.
In my reviews of all six installments, I was at times quite hard on “The X-Files.” Despite its flaws, the show was still better than almost everything else on TV. It will be a long wait for the next fall television season and another string of what will hopefully be entertaining episodes.
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