Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The X-Files Strikes Back

I remember when I first heard the news The X-Files would return. So many feels: excitement, nervousness, glee, and of course, terror. Because what if it the show comes back...and isn't any good? What if the old magic is gone? What if the sinkhole mess of mythology that broke the show in the later seasons (and we won't even mention the second movie) similarly sucks the joy out of these new episodes?

In short, I was freaking terrified. But I also WANT TO BELIEVE.

And now here we are. The first three episodes have aired and we're halfway through the new "season." I am sure you're all did it go?

Yes, indeed, The X-Files is back. Everything that we loved about the original show is still here and a lot of the same beats, themes, and jokes work. But I don't mean to imply it feels like no time has passed. Somehow everyone in front of and behind the cameras managed to capture the tone of the show, but it's clear that events and relationships have evolved and changed. It's like when you get together with your good friends from many years ago. It doesn't matter how much time has passed, you still click and carry on as if you had seen each other just yesterday. But now you joke about spouses, kids, or jobs. You know, actual life stuff instead of boobs. Well, let's be honest. You're still going to joke about boobs. 

Ok, so we can all agree that The X-Files is well and truly back! Of course, this also means that all the old problems with the show are still there. The alien conspiracy still doesn't make any sense, Vancouver is still not Washington, D.C., and the idea that Mulder and Scully would still be employed by the Federal government is totally ludicrous. Oh, and Duchovny is still all mumble and Anderson seems like she could start snoozing in the middle of a scene.


Scully still rockin the pantsuits. She wore it before it was cool.

Of the three episodes that have aired, the third (Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster) is the strongest. It's also not a coincidence that it's a monster-of-the-week episode seemingly unrelated to the alien stuff. I always considered the stand-alone episodes the strongest of the series, when The X-Files could play with genre, expectations, and storytelling techniques.

Don't get me wrong, the conspiracy remains the core of the series and the reason Mulder and Scully are positioned to investigate the other weirdness. But the thing I loved most about The-X-Files was the creativity of the stories and the chemistry between the two leads. I think some of that gets lost when we spend so much time trying to explain that aliens are real and are working with a shady group of old white dudes to take over the world except not really it's just the shady old white dudes stealing the alien technology to plan a complete collapse of the world economy and then fascism. Um, something like that anyway.

I will admit that the first episode of the new series basically did what I thought was impossible: it condensed a bunch of the past mythology into something that actually makes sense and is (somewhat) easily explained. It also put Mulder in a position to have a crisis of faith, which means Scully can help bring him around. For the most part though, Mulder is still the believer, Scully is still the doubter, and Skinner is still strangely hot. And bald. Just in case you were worried about that last part.

To sum up, watching the new X-files episodes feels just like watching the old ones. Whether that's good or bad, I leave it to you to decide. From my perspective, it's most decidedly a wonderful thing.

Now if they figure out a way to bring back Krycek I can die happy.


Unknown said...

Agreed. Beardy Skinner is rockin' it. And even though he shot Alex in he head, dude could still be resurrected. After all, we saw Cancer Man's face vaporize after a direct hit from a missile, and HE'S back. But mostly I love how Scully still doesn't know when she's been hung up on. "Mulder? Are you there?" [He's not there, Dana. The call has ended.]

Maggie Cats said...

And who can remember what happened more than 10 years ago? What's a little missile or GSW to the face among friends? KRYCEK LIVES.