‘The X-Files’ offers one more season of conspiracies
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The X-Files was one of the most influential and popular shows of the ’90s. It was the foundation and primary inspiration for pretty much every paranormal investigation show to air. In many ways, it was responsible for making the public excited about horror and science fiction again. Despite its imitators, there has never been a show close to its success level since its cancellation in 2002 after nine seasons.
There was much rejoicing by casual and serious fans alike when a revival series was announced, part of a growing trend of adding one more season to a show that’s been off the air for years. Further excitement came with the decision to film in the show’s original location of Vancouver, a city with a gloomy and rainy atmosphere that added to the feel of the show. The entire cast is back: series showrunner Chris Carter, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Agents Mulder and Scully, Mitch Pileggi as FBI Assistant Director Skinner, and even William B. Davis as the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man.
The first two episodes of the six-part miniseries aired on January 24 and 25. Episode one, “My Struggle,” serves as a slightly confusing and annoying yet welcome return to the franchise. Mulder and Scully encounter a conspiracy-driven talk show host (guest star Joel McHale of Community fame) who has found a secret with global implications. After years of Mulder laying low and Scully abandoning the FBI for a medical career, the two are back in action investigating the mysterious X-Files.
The episode kicks off the driven conflict of the miniseries, which will be a mixture of a plot arc with standard Monster of the Week storylines. It’s absolutely great to see the iconic duo back in action. Duchovny and Anderson have great chemistry, which adds to the excitement of seeing them together on screen again.
However, the opening left something to be desired: the performances seem boring and almost phoned-in for all three major actors. It’s as if they’re still getting back into their character roots. The overall storyline seems like something from The X-Files’ dull age, from a season of boring plot arcs and frustrating mythology.
Fortunately, these problems are resolved in the second episode, “Founder’s Mutation.” A clearer plot is established here, with the investigations and action much more typical of The X-Files we know and love. The performances are much better as well, so perhaps the cast just needed to find their motivation again. If this episode is any indication, we’re in for a wonderful revival over the next month as the suspenseful story plays out.
There’s plenty to be found here for casual and diehard fans alike. Lots of call-backs to the original series are featured. I particularly loved a scene of Mulder kicking his ripped iconic “I Want to Believe” UFO poster in the original X-Files office. Even with the call-backs, audiences who have never seen the show will be able to understand what’s going on. There’s some real character depth featured here, as Mulder and Scully’s relationship and history is explored thoroughly. There’s a lot of development featured in such a short length of time.
The X-Files airs every Sunday. If the truth is really out there, we’re in for another short season of greatness. And, if we’re very lucky, more seasons to air in the future.