The X-FILES returns

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Well, now we know why there have been murmurs over the past few months of The X-Files returning. Yesterday news broke that Mulder and Scully are indeed back for a short six episode run of the much-loved investigative/sci-fi/horror series. The real question is: do any of us really care?

First, the news itself. Pick your source: everyone is writing about this. For the sake of efficiency and laziness, I’m just going to paste from The Hollywood Reporter:

Both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are locked in to reprise their respective roles of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, parts they originated in 1993 and played (for the most part) over nine seasons and two feature films. Production on the six-part series will start this summer, with a premiere date to be announced at a later date.

“I think of it as a 13-year commercial break,” said series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, who also is returning. “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

Note that last bit? This may have a story arch but there will be six individual cases being investigated. That is a bit of a throwback to a simpler time in television – when episodes were segmented and practically interchangeable. Nowadays you have to go to fairly low-brow stuff like Bones to get that kind of thing. Nothing against Bones – I have a soft spot for that show’s quirky humour and tongue-in-cheek gore. But in its time X-Files was held at the same level as Breaking Bad and True Detective would be today. It was a major ground breaker and one of the shows responsible for the great change in television norms during the Nineties.

Today it faces a lot of stiff competition. High-end television operates on a whole different level, while there have also been a lot of shows which copied and built on The X-Files‘ repertoire. Can our favourite black sheep FBI agents compete?

It probably doesn’t matter: with only six episodes even if this new run flops with critics, it will draw big audience numbers. Still, I can’t help but be a little unmoved. The show ended in a whimper and so much of what we think we care about the show are actually red herrings. The two story archs it tried were generally confusing and ended poorly, plus the much-publicised sexual tension between the two leads was an invention of the audience and only something the show tapped once it already started sliding backwards. Unless these episodes will in part be a reunion of some of their great cases, like that guy who could crawl through any gap and ate people’s organs, it’s hard to get excited.

Yet few things are as nice as finding an old piece of clothing that still sits comfortable. Maybe The X-Files is that rumpled sweater. After all, it worked for 24, Dallas and 90210. And I’d much rather watch Scully and Mulder again than any of those.

Last Updated: March 25, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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