Return of the X-Files

It’s been so long since X-Files has graced our television screens. Do aliens and conspiracy theories have a place in our lives now? The short answer is yes. As Mulder says in this episode: “They police and spy on us and tell us we’re safer. We’ve never been in more danger.”

After months of teasing us with trailers, the moment has finally arrived. X-Files‘ first new episode in over ten years finally had its UK premiere. I really wanted to believe that it would be just as great as I remembered and, on the whole, I wasn’t left disappointed.

Right from the nostalgic opening credits, this felt right and like a return to form. Some of the magic and atmosphere that made X-Files amazing got lost over the years. The new episode has given me hope that at least part of that magic has been recaptured.

Episode one is a promising start. The plot and writing are back to their best. Mulder and Scully are back. We appear to be coming full circle as episode one brings us all the way back to the beginning of alien conspiracy theories with the Roswell incident. It’s by no means a perfect episode, but it’s a good start after such a lengthy absence.

New X-Files
Source: Independent

So, let’s start with the positives. The story is an interesting one. It plays upon the fears present in our post 9/11 society. Drones, phone tapping, Social Media, YouTube personalities. All of these things exploded during X-Files‘ absence from the screen and to keep up with the present they’ve cleverly included these phenomena into the plot line. Tad O’ Malley, a YouTuber who broadcasts a show about government conspiracies, is the catalyst who brings Scully and Mulder back to where we want them, working on weird and wonderful cases.

It whizzes off at high speed and doesn’t stop until its typical X-Files cliffhanger end scene. In the time skip, it appears Mulder has become a recluse, Scully and Mulder have separated and Scully has returned to medicine. While investigating the case of a woman who claims to have been abducted multiple times, the twist is that she has not been abducted by little green men, but by human men – Mulder is then convinced they have been misled all long. He now believes the government have used alien DNA and technology to eventually use against humans. Mulder continues to strive for the truth and Scully begrudgingly agrees to work alongside him. The episode ends with a glimpse of the presumed dead Cigarette Man, which left me as thirsty for answers as ever and eager for episode two.

The old style has been recaptured and this is particularly true in the Roswell flashback scenes. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny’s chemistry is back to its sizzling best. The time away has been good for both actors as their work on other successful projects had allowed them to embrace their old characters with a familiar, friendly embrace free from bitterness.

Everything has been put in place for this to be an amazing season. But there were a few niggles that I felt needed to be mentioned. The first issue is with time. At only 6 episodes long, this season is only a quarter of the length of a regular X-Files season. As a result, we get a lot of information at an alarming rate; everything feels a little squashed and rushed. With only this and the last episode being stated as mythology episodes, then it may leave some people confused and unsatisfied.


Another point is that maybe I was watching through rose-tinted glasses as I’ve been an X-Files fan since childhood. I loved this episode and feel this season has great potential, but how would new viewers feel? I’m not too sure this new season would be enough to sway them and they may find themselves unable to keep up with the pace. It’s also a little unrealistic that Mulder and Scully seem raring to return to their former roles after such a long absence. But then X-Files or its target audience has never really been interested in realism.

I feel this episode didn’t live up to its full potential, but that’s to be expected. First episodes are always difficult and my personal favourite episodes were never ones that involved the main story arcs. They were the ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes. They gave the show and the cast the chance to showcase how incredibly funny and tongue in cheek X-Files was capable of being. Scully’s pithy, sceptical replies to Mulder’s crazy theories are what we really miss the most and we were denied that in this establishing episode. So this episode perhaps isn’t a good marker of the tone of the season. The best is definitely yet to come.

Overall, my first impression is positive. I’m excited and hopeful. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny seem genuinely enthusiastic about reprising their roles and this comes across on screen. As a long time fan of the series, I was encouraged by what episode one had to offer and look forward to seeing more. I want to believe. We all still do. The X-Files have been reopened and I cannot wait to watch this unfold. I’m welcoming back this old show with open arms.

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