The science fiction community rejoiced when FOX chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman and television producer Chris Carter announced “The X-Files” would finally make its long-awaited return.
Production for the six-episode season began in summer 2015, followed by the debut of the first two episodes on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Series creator Chris Carter directed the first episode, and series directorial veteran James Wong directed the second.
Before I go any further, I suppose it’s important I offer my credentials. In my younger years, this show made me believe in aliens. That sounds stupid — namely because it’s (frankly cheesy) television — but “The X-Files” has a certain quality that other shows do not.
For the longest time, this show had a power over me and the others who wanted to believe. It appeals to a visceral paranoia many keep locked away, to the side of us that trusts no one. To this day, I have Mulder’s “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster hanging above my writing space. It’s safe to say I have waited years for this event.
The first episode is a little jarring. Mulder’s and Scully’s lives have changed to the point of unrecognizability, but what’s most off-putting is Mulder’s degeneration to a shut-in 9/11 truther. Essentially, Mulder (David Duchovny) regressed into being someone on the Internet we might all hate. Fortunately, the episode rolls forward and quickly dives into the character’s reasoning.
This snaps the viewer right back to understanding why we love and side with Mulder. He isn’t just a paranoid on the Internet — he’s a man on a crusade. Joel McHale’s character Tad O’Malley, a conservative, NRA sympathizing truther, plays Mulder’s foil and is quick to show us that our protagonist is not of the angry conservative ilk with whom we’re all too familiar.
Scully (Gillian Anderson) shines in these episodes the way she always has. For the show’s last couple of seasons, Scully took up the role of believer (as opposed to skeptic) following Mulder’s departure. However, it seems that her time away from the X-Files and Mulder has allowed her some time to fall back into old habits. Scully, a woman of science, once again questions everything that Mulder and others believe. This was a smart move on the creators’ part. Since the duo is back together, Mulder needs someone to keep him in check. Otherwise, we might see
a little more crazy than necessary. This is how the show stays grounded and how it continues to appeal to our skeptical side.
I originally didn’t think I’d care to see any monster-of-the-week episodes and that it would be best for the show to focus on its myth arc, what with there being so many loose ends left. But the second episode changed that for me entirely. When Scully and Mulder appeared on screen in their suits, working a bizarre suicide case, I was in awe at how much I wanted to see the monster-of-the- week format again.
While the first episode felt like an afterthought to the series, the second episode made me feel like I was truly watching my all-time favorite show again. The episode’s entire 42 minutes was enthralling, and the final few minutes are some of the most emotional I’ve ever seen in terms of “The X-Files” and the show’s character arcs. Mulder and Scully are still developing in a genuine and almost literary way — something that most shows, especially ones this old, neglect to allow. If you’re on the fence during the first episode, the second one is certain to make you fall in love again. Seeing those suits feels so right.
I was initially hesitant because returning to old properties often doesn’t work out so well, but needless to say, “The X-Files” is back.
You can view the first two episodes of “The X-Files” miniseries for free by visiting FOX’s website. The show’s original nine seasons can be found on Netflix, and the feature film, “The X-Files: Fight the Future” can be found or rented fairly easily through the Internet.