Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Return of The X-Files

Remember when The X-Files was the best thing on TV? All fresh and creepy and weird. 


Remember when it started being more about huge improbable government conspiracies than it was about monsters and paranormal stuff? Definitely less fresh and spooky, but still pretty weird. 

Remember when Mulder disappeared and Scully was off having a baby, and we were suddenly expected to care about Doggett and Reyes? No fresh, no spooky, and absolutely no weird. 

Remember that last episode where Mulder finally came back and not a damn thing was wrapped up or answered? The only thing fresh that night was my slowly building disappointment suddenly turning into a full blown rage. 

Well, I guess time really does heal all wounds, and absence really does make the heart grow fonder and shit because I was pretty excited when I heard The X-Files was coming back to television. I didn't even think about how pissed off I was at the series finale or how unsatisfying the movies were. My mind went straight to the happy place where Samantha Mulder's mysterious disappearance shaped her brother's adult life rather than making in to a drawn out run-on storyline without any resolution (like this sentence). Seriously, how many times did someone throw a fake sister at him? I forgot about everybody being alien hybrid thingys and the entire government being in on all this crap by the end, and went back to Gillian Anderson's bulky pantsuits and Mulder's porn fetish. 
As it got closer to airing the little annoyances and big disappointments came back in to my mind. They weren't enough to turn me off, but they did give me pause. Sure Chris Carter gave me many years of amazing television. Then he shoved his middle finger in my face and laughed (or so it seemed at the time). To be honest I was in and out during the last few seasons because it had gotten so silly and lost so much of what had made it great. But I was still in it enough to be stoked for Mulder's return. Only to have it quickly snatched away. For those of you who weren't as into it as I was at the time you can probably best compare it to LOST. It got a little dull and overly complicated sometimes (I had to watch seasons 4 and 5 on Netflix to get me interested in watching the last season). And the last season was great until the end when you found out that they were all pretty much in purgatory the whole time like you'd figured out (or had the internets figure out for you) anyway. Or if you weren't a LOST fan then how about how dumb Battlestar Gallactica or Heroes were by the end? If none of these references mean anything to you then I can't help you any further. If none of those things mean anything to you then you're probably reading the wrong blog too. 

But after all this build up and reflection I should probably get around to talking about the episodes that I've seen so far. As of this writing there have been two aired, but I suppose that depends on when you're reading this. Rest assured I won't give out any spoilers for those of you waiting to have a DVR marathon. This will more be my general thoughts about the direction that these new episodes are taking, and how I feel about the show so far. I know the "so far" doesn't really matter given that they've only done six of them, but you never know what could start up from this. We could end up with a little mini-series every few years or they could even be trying to lead in to starting the show back up with new characters (that would hopefully be more entertaining than Doggett and Reyes) and an occasional appearance by Mulder or Scully. No one really knows at this point.
First and foremost I was kind of pissed that the sportsball ran late on premier night making me have to stay up late on a Sunday night. What can I say? I'm not as young as I used to be, and I do have to get up a lot earlier than I once did. Luckily the Chiller channel was having a marathon of good mid-90's episodes to keep me occupied while I waited. And if you're wondering why we didn't DVR it like normal people the sportsball running long should tip you off. I feel bad for all the people who got screwed out of the last 20 minutes of the show because it was way better than watching people who make way too much money for what they do celebrate something that really doesn't matter. Luckily, the second episode was on at a much more reasonable 8pm on Monday night. Poor Mr. Tibbs had tickets to see Primus and Tool so I can't spoil it for him either. That also means watching the second episode alone which isn't nearly as fun. But then I also don't have someone explaining the "truth" behind all of these weird alien stories and conspiracies to me during the show. It's an even trade. Mr. Tibbs isn't around Needless Things as much as I am so you probably don't know that he's a big believer in all that paranormal stuff. Since I'm not we've had our very own Mulder and Scully dynamic going on in our home for years. 

But back to the point at hand. The show. As soon as the opening theme started up we had chills. Like Star Wars opening theme in a movie theater chills. A little lame maybe, but this was pretty exciting for us. I love that they kept the old intro, and didn't try to update or anything stupid like that. I kind of appreciated the little "previously on..." thing they did because I had totally forgotten what happened to their kid, and several other details that I'm sure will come up at some point. So Joel McHale (yay) is a famous internet conspiracy/left-wing weirdo with a big following. He is also super into alien junk. He enlists Scully to help tack down Mulder to investigate a girl who claims to have been abducted by aliens many times. Scully reluctantly gets back in to things even though she seems conflicted about her feelings for Mulder, and what he's been doing since they split (which I guess is just sitting around his house thinking up new crazy theories). There's a pretty good amount of back story for those who have REALLY forgotten what happened (and a bit too much Roswell stuff that doesn't tie-in enough to what's happening now), but it's pretty much a "getting the band back together" episode. Which is fine since Joel McHale and the abductee bring some freshness to what could have otherwise been a stale rehash of the past. It's still fun, and not just because of nostalgia. There's also surprise appearance at the end, but not too much of a surprise if you check IMDB.
The second episode picks up like they'd never left off. A weird case, and new conspiracies. Because I really did not want there to be a six hour version of the last few seasons of the show or the first movie. There aren't quite monsters, but some kids with powers, and abduction experiments, and some stuff that's kind of hard to keep track of. It all makes me fear that this is going to head into some much more convoluted territory to try and tie all these threads together. Hopefully not though. It's not like the end of the show gave us any answers after 9 years. Why should we expect a package wrapped with a pretty bow from only six new episodes. 

I think next week will tell us what we're really in for though. It looks like we'll finally get some monsters, and hopefully they won't be a part of the big conspiracy that seems to be forming. Like I said before, I don't mind that part; I just don't want it to be the whole show. This week was heading back in to the area that made The X-Files what I used to love. If all goes as I wish next week will take us well and truly back there. Just without the pantsuits and fake sisters.

-Beth


Beth got her start writing for a site called Movie Criticism for the Retarded (which has been revived as dorkdroppings.com. Check it out sometime), but was pulled out of an early retirement to write for Needless Things. When she isn't writing she plays video games and watches bad horror movies while eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. She may try to save her husband and/or their cats, but luckily hasn't had to make those tough decisions yet.

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