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TV MIDSEASON REVIEW: The X-Files Re-Open & the Truth is, Revival Hits the Ground Running without Missing a Beat

X-Files MAIN

You can take the forest out of the FBI special agents, but you can’t take the FBI special agents out of the forest.

 

When there’s something strange in your federal government, who ya gonna call? If your answer is a beautiful age-defying red-headed forensic pathologist and a sunflower seed devouring believer in all things paranormal, then you’ve just won the grand prize.

 

Scully-Gif Mulder-Gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, the reward for responding correctly is just the gratification of knowing the answer to my pop-culture crossed question. Nevertheless, you’ll be happy to know the above mentioned FBI special agents are officially back in business for the first time in 15 years with the brand new The X-Files Mini-Series Event revival which debuted on FOX a little over a week ago. That’s right; Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a special six-episode television extravaganza 15 years in the making. Actually, it was more like 3 months in the making, but 15 years in the asking by fans.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1SmJUBT5q0
“They’re Baaack.”

 

The demand was for good reason too seeing as The X-Files not only demonstrated to main stream networks there was a home for science fiction in prime time, it also changed the way we watched television. Chris Carter’s brain-child about FBI agents investigating cases of the paranormal and extraterrestrial introduced to us what we now know as the modern day television serial. By that I mean  a show that didn’t just maintain continuity, but attempted to inlay an entire story arc – aka mythology to us pop culture savvy folk – over the course of the series’ lifespan. I say “attempted” seeing as high-ratings, which in turn leads to demands of additional episodes, often stretches out the original plan behind a creator’s vision. Most serials since The X-Files, even a notably popular series such as LOST, have often fallen victim to their own popularity. Consensus among many X-Files fans tends to lean towards the opinion nine seasons may have been a few too many. I on the other hand would have been fine with 29. If the Simpsons can do it… but I digress.

 

Chris-Carter-X-Files-trio

My favorite threesome of all time. (Which is saying a lot if you’ve seen my movie collection.)

 

As my favorite television series of all time however, The X-Files was a different beast to me where the draw of the series lie primarily with the main characters and their chemistry versus the ultimate outcome of the mythology. In other words, as long as Mulder and Scully were on screen bantering while making goo-goo eyes at each other, I was a happy camper. For my money, if the stories could remain spooky and fresh in conjunction with the excellent writing, it was icing on the unidentified baking cake.

 

Oh what I wouldn’t have given to be face down on the ground in that very moment.

 

Naturally, that spooky infatuation of the characters is what had me giddier than a school alien when the new six installment mini-series was first announced. I wanted to see  David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their roles again so badly, for all I cared they could be working at the support desk at a local Apple Store fixing iPhones for six weeks and I’d still tune in to see them trade witty barbs. In case you still can’t tell, I come from the X-Phile camp that is content seeing them on screen again, even if it means watching them watch grass grow.

 

recaps-x-files-02

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the new episodes explored how Duchovny and Anderson defied the aging process for 15 years.

 

So now that the dynamic paranormal duo are back in FBI saddle of network prime-time after a long hiatus, what are my honest and extremely biased thoughts on the first half of the mini-arc? My spoiler –free breakdown of the first three episodes are below (formatted in the most bureaucratic bullet point list possible):

 

Ep. 1 – MY STRUGGLE

Believe Poster

And I want to believe he wiped his feet before stomping on a perfectly good collector’s item.

 

X Marks the Spot:

  • They kept the opening credits and music “almost” exactly the same (minus one minor edit).
  • Listening to Mulder’s opening scene recap was reconnecting with an old friend in a comfy recliner.
  • Seeing Mulder and Scully interact in new material on my television again makes my nether regions tingle with nostalgia. TMI?
  • The “Mythology” is back and it’s been twisted to fit into our modern era of NSA spying and increased government intrusion.
  • Skinner is back, badass and bearded!
  • CSM (aka Cigarette Smoking Man, aka Cancer Man, aka most ominous nemesis ever) has survived… and he’s refused to hop on the vaping wagon!
  • Anderson has managed to look even better than she has 15 years ago.
  • The combination of effects, big sets, HD and explosions help make The X-Files feel more like the first film than the original episodes.

X Misses the Mark:

  • The combination of effects, big sets, HD and explosions help make The X-Files feel more like the first film than the original episodes.
  • Mulder & Scully are Splitsville (although I actually like this angle as a starting point.)
  • Scully sounds as if she may have spent a little too much time with CSM during her hiatus .
  • They re-opened the X-Files much quicker than they would have had this been more than a six episode story arc.

What I Believe:

  • Duchovny and Anderson reprise their iconic roles for the first time in 15 years! Does anything else truly matter?

4 Spurs

 

 

Ep. 2 – FOUNDER’S MUTATION

the-x-files-founders-mutation-167220

“I spy with my one eye, something that is red…”

 

X Marks the Spot:

  • It’s the first official stand-alone case for our FBI agents this season (which might or might not be loosely tied to the overall mythology)
  • The Department of Defense has a close eye on our two FBI antagonists, which would most likely be the case in their post 9-11 world.
  • Have some Kleenex on hand and file this one under tear-jerker.
  • Duchovny and Anderson look more comfortable in their roles than in the premiere.
  • With that said, the humor (while there in the premiere) is a bit more plentiful in a subtle way.
  • Reopens the door to one of The X-Files biggest unresolved plot points.

X Misses the Mark:

  • Anderson still sounds like she has a frog or CSM in her throat. Wait, let me rephrase that last part…

What I Believe:

  • It’s as if Mulder and Scully never left the FBI. Like riding a bike, David and Gillian have not forgotten what has made their characters beloved by millions.

5 Spurs

 

 

Ep. 3: MULDER & SCULLY MEET THE WERE-MONSTER

xf-were3-dog

Meal, friend or lint roller? An X-File for the ages.

X Marks the Spot:

  • It’s Mulder and Scully’s first official monster-of-the-week case for this micro-season…
  • …but Mulder’s grown out of monsters? Witness Mulder turn Scully and Scully turn Mulder. (Priceless!)
  • Humor, humor and lest I forget, more humor. Hands down the funniest X-Files thus far (and supposedly of the entire 6 episode arc). In fact, as far as my somewhat undependable memory goes, it’s one of the funniest of the entire series!
  • Despite the barrage of laughs, the episode does raise some bigger-meaning questions regarding life and how humans live it. It also offers an introspective look at Mulder, well, being introspective.
  • The story is a creative twist on a classic legend, the wheelhouse where The X-Files excels.
  • Sexy Scully! The scene I refer to will be the last thing I remember before I take my last breath on this planet.
  • Easter eggs abound: X-Philes will hopefully appreciate all of the nods to the series’ canon.

X Misses the Mark:

  • “Might” come across too silly for die-hard X-Files fans who appreciate the spookier entries of the franchise over the more comedic ones.

What I Believe:

  • “Meet the Were-Monster” is absolutely hilarious and will be considered by most – myself included – to be an insta-classic. Dare I say it ranks up as one of the top five X-Files episodes of all-time. Ranking conspiracies aside, it goes without saying this was a love-letter to X-Files fans right down to the final second. The revival was worth it for this installment alone.

6 Spurs

 

X-Files-were-monster

“No Scully, it’s called a self-ee and we can then put it on the instant-gram.”

 

Normally this is where I would wrap up my thoughts on the series up to this midpoint. Needless to say, after reading through all the blatant gushing I’ve done over the revival thus far, I’m pretty sure it would prove a bit redundant.

Instead, I’ll just leave you with this final thought. After 15 years of wanting to believe The X-Files still had some conspiratorial gas in the tank, I’m beside myself with giddiness that fans have been given what seemed impossible just a few years ago; Mulder and Scully are back with new episodes and it’s as if they haven’t missed a beat. Don’t call it a comeback, the truth was always out there.

 

THE X-FILES: L-R: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The thrilling, six-episode event series, helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY, marks the momentous return of the Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

“Sexual tension, it’s what makes The X-Files, The X-Files.”

 

 

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  1. Pingback: TV REVIEW: The X-Files Season 10 is an Epic Revival that will Bring Smiles to Many, but is this the End? - Geek Outlaw

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