X-Files reopened: thoughts on the first 2 episodes

X-files

The first two episodes of the long-awaited X-Files revival aired this past Sunday and Monday night, to mixed reviews but high ratings. I watched both episodes with my parents at their place (mostly because Joe and I don’t have cable). We even had a bowl of sunflower seeds to snack on – Mulder’s treat of choice. Now that we’ve all seen one third of the mini-series, I figured I’d share some of my thoughts on the new episodes, and the show as a whole. Spoilers ahoy!

FOX is in on the conspiracy…

Some people like football. Okay, a lot of people like football. But FOX, if you’re going to bring back a show and make us all get really hyped for it, must you make us wait through 25 minutes of post-game commentary (and ads)? Really? You can’t keep the truth from us!! (My condolences to those who PVR’ed the premiere and therefore missed half of it.)

Intro & Theme Music

It’s back!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Joe and I were re-watching the original X-Files series as an introduction and a ramp-up to the 2016 version. One of the minor changes, yet biggest disappointments, in the later seasons was the switch from the original intro sequence to an “updated” version.

While the original was kitschy and very 90’s, it had charm, and it really embodied the feel of the series. The updated intro felt like it was trying too hard to be modern. At the time, David Duchovny had also begun backing away from The X-Files (in favour of Californication, as I understand it), so there were a lot of frustrating changes coming all at once.

Anyway, the new series brought back the original intro – complete with 90’s hair and everything! It definitely enhanced my nostalgic geeking-out experience.

Mulder and Scully’s Relationship.

Nailed it. Their interactions felt so much more authentic than in 2008’s I Want to Believe. Scully seems much more outspoken and quick with snappy comments these days, but I think that’s a welcome character development. I was a little concerned about character credibility when Mulder started falling for Joel McHale’s crazy theories. I’m relieved that he seems to be coming to his senses and regaining some of his humour.

Alien-DNA-Mind-Reading-Abductee

As soon as Sveta was introduced, my first thought was, “Where’s Gibson Praise?!” If you don’t recall, Gibson Praise was the child chess prodigy in Seasons 5/6/9 – with alien DNA, who could read minds. Sound familiar? Perhaps they’ll actually revive the character. Jeff Gulka, who played Gibson, has not denied any involvement in the revival…

Hey, wait a minute! I just went over to Jeff Gulka’s Twitter so I could add a link here to one of his tweets I read on Sunday night. Someone had asked him whether he was involved, and he said something along the lines of “Time will tell…” But the tweet is gone!!! WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?!?!

Conspiracy of Men

I’ve seen a lot of people griping about this online – that it’s a cop out, that it’s just the Illuminati all over again, that it’s too far-fetched, that it’s not true to The X-Files.

Let’s think back to the finale of Season 4, when Mulder becomes convinced (via Kritschgau) that the whole alien conspiracy is just a government/military cover-up, etc. And it takes him a trip to Antarctica a season later to rid himself of these doubts and want to believe again.

My guess? It’s happening again – and it will take us until the mini-series finale for everyone to finally be on the same page about the reality of an alien conspiracy. (Wow, I sound nuts. I know it’s a TV show. I promise.)

Mytharc Monster of the Week

Back when the series was still on the air, everyone knew that there were two types of episodes of The X-Files: Monster of the Week and Mythology (Mytharc). It was usually pretty clear. Monster of the Week episodes had, well, a monster – or someone with paranormal abilities, or a supernatural scenario of some kind. Mytharc episodes were those that forwarded the overarching plot, they were usually double episodes/premieres/finales, and you’d get all of the big names as guest stars (Cigarette Smoking Man, Krycek, the Alien Bounty Hunter, etc.).

My favourite thing about Monday’s episode was its ability to be both: it forwarded the plot, while incorporating some of those Monster of the Week qualities that viewers would look forward to when they needed a break from the heavy mythology. Given that there are only 6 episodes to cover an entirely new Mytharc, I imagine that Episodes 3-5 will also be hybrids (haha, get it?) like this. And I’m very much looking forward to it.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about the revival. I’m still hesitant about the direction of the plot, but I’m looking forward to next week’s episode! (How weird is it to actually have to wait for a new episode of a TV show, now that we all have Netflix?)

What did you think of the two-part premiere?