When they announced a limited episode production of The X-Files people lost their minds. Was it going to feature the original cast? Yes. Why so short a run? Because it is for show. Fox isn’t planning to resurrect the franchise, and the opportunity to do a wink wink to fans who felt unsatisfied by the original series end and subsequent movie was to hard to pass up.
From its humble origins in 1993 (brace yourself, the show is old enough to drink at a bar legally), the show broke grounds in terms or ratings and perceptions, tackling subjects that had been relegated to urban legends and conspiracy theories. Simply put, it reflected the contents of the internet at the time, and the mentality of the turn of the century. By humanizing some of myths and turning them into paranormal cases that turned out to be nothinf more than obscure scientific projects and experimentation, an entire generation of viewers got exposed to topics they would have never seen otherwise. Genetic mutations and strange diseases made or broke investigations. The sckeptic doctor was able to explain it all away in the end.
The sci-fi procedural went mainstream.
Because of this it is hard for some to comprehend why the new episodes are not original and cheeky. Let me explain. In part this limited run is a tribute to the writers, staff, producers and actors that were featured in The X-Files. However, it also is a very direct attempt at fan service, a throwback to the times we were easily enraptured by suspense, drama and scientific inquiry. Back when we didn’t have Blackberry phones and FB, before Google took over control of everything. You’d be lucky if a fan posted online about the episode the night before and spoilers came from the TV promos and newspaper stories. Those were in deed simpler times.
Those of you who saw the program religiously will quickly get immersed in the nostalgia of the moment. You will appreciate the nuances and the over the top acting as the tribute they are meant to be. Take this advice to heart because the episodes themselves are not to be taken too seriously. Counterintuitive perhaps, but the new X-Files are meant to entertain you in a lighter tone and voice, mimicking the original run.
As a follower of the original series I can tell you that I have been enjoying myself while catching the Easter eggs and the breaking of the 4th wall, in a sense. The jokes and winks are directed at people like me, who didn’t take long to as the quintessential question, “Where is their son?”. Imagine my surprise when it only took the writers an episode to address my most pressing concern, and they dedicated a full hour to the missing child. Some hook ups are more epic than others, and in this case alien insemination tops the list of “now I jave seen and heard it all” proclamations.
So much of the TV program and 2008 movie is ingrained in my adolescent and young adult brain cells that you’d think I’d be running to the TV to watch it live. -I pulled the episodes from my On Demand channel.- Which is a testament of how far we have come from that last episode in 2002. Although I am happy to report my neurological synapses rejoice whenever an old subject was revisited in this 10th season or an original cast member was mentioned, it wasn’t the same even though the nerd in me felt elated that her unsung heroes were back at it. To me it like having a visit from an old friend. We have grown so much older and wiser, but that love for the unknown and unexplained is still there.
I can’t stress enough how instrumental the show was in defining who I am. Think about it for a second. What is not to like about a fierce FBI agent and her partner solving crimes and mysterious disappearances in the name of science and the truth? Having had such a strong and intelligent role model in Scully was a thing of beauty. It doesn’t hurt that modern day Gillian Anderson is even more drop dead gorgeous than her younger self. Confidence is sexy! And let’s not forget Mulder who personified the conspiracy theorist is all of us. The most logical conclusion must be the right one even if it involves an alien planetary take over.
Although some of the cases and clues are still far fetched and out there the epifany is very clear; in many ways we have all outgrown the genre. It just isn’t the same as it was before, and this version of the show wouldn’t have dreamed of being able to capture the magic that made the series iconic. Zombies and Vampires have replaced folklore creatures and paranormal stories and the subculture that embraced The X-Files has mutated into something completelt different. It has come of age.
The use of sarcasm, satire and exaggeration enhances the sentimental value of the experience. The new series excels at comedy relief; the actors and writters do their best to poke fun at the main characters and their escapades. Moulder plays his own devil’s advocate, voicing Dana’s concerns without giving her a word edgewise. She quietly looks on as Mulder unravels his throughts and what he thinks she would respond to his silly, yet reasonable, rants. Her responses to his monologues are hillarious. You can tell how far she has come from being a total skeptic to thinking there might be more to all the paranormal phenomena that meets the eye. You can also tell he hasn’t changed and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Just like Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, we couldn’t resist coming back for one last crack at finding the truth. Are there really aliens experimenting on humans? Is there a coalition of powerful and conniving men that want to take over the world? Did our government surrender control to extraterrestrial invaders to avoid a global scale event? Maybe. This tribute series may uncover some of the answers. If not, we already know that the truth is out there.
(Cue title song…)