Wednesday, January 27, 2016

X Files Revival: Did it Deliver?

Mia Gianotti is back today chatting about the first two episodes of the X-Files revival. The show got great ratings this week. 

Greetings, X-File fans! Did you watch the first two installments of the "6-episode special event" which aired on Sunday and Monday nights on Fox?

I sure did, and although it was great to have Agents Mulder and Scully back in action, both episodes had some issues. The first one, "My Struggle", was especially hard to follow at times and seemed a bit rough around the edges. To recap: a conservative pundit and conspiracy theorist named Tad O'Malley (played by Joel McHale) reunites the special agents to help him prove his theories about a future government takeover. Tad introduces them to a woman who claims to have been abducted several repeatedly by aliens and forced to give birth to human/alien hybrid babies (whom the aliens "harvested" and took away from her). 

 Tad also shares knowledge with them of a working spacecraft built from elements found at an alien crash site in 1947 (shown in flashbacks in some of the opening scenes). But as usual in the X-Files universe, things are not exactly as they seem. Mulder realizes that everything he used to believe is a lie: that all the alien abductions he and Scully ever investigated have been orchestrated as a giant "smoke screen" to throw them off track, and that the very existence of the X-Files has been a sham. In his own words: “All those years I was led by my nose down a dark alley to a dead-end, exactly as they’d planned.”

The problem with the first episode is that it had too much ground to cover in just one hour. I think the story would have been better served stretched over 90 minutes or even 2 hours. One hour just wasn't enough time to re-introduce Mulder, Scully, and FBI Assistant Director Skinner (as well as a couple of other old favorites, like Cigarette Smoking Man), give background info on what the X Files was, where it was today, plus introduce a new narrative. 

The second episode ran more smoothly: dubbed “Founder’s Mutation”, it covered Mulder and Scully investigating a mysterious, Department of Defense-funded doctor who is experimenting on children with various degrees of genetic abnormalities. The subject matter brings forth painful memories of the child Mulder and Scully had and gave up for adoption 15 years earlier for his own protection. 

With only 4 more episodes remaining in the miniseries, I'm hopeful  that Mulder and Scully will get to the bottom of the government conspiracy introduced in the premiere. However, from what I hear, the next 3 episodes are "stand alone" stories (like Monday's episode) which means they'll have to wrap up the whole story in the last installment. 

Random thoughts:

* The first episode aired after the NFC Playoffs, during which there was a timer counting down the minutes to the "X-Files New Season Premiere". Might this be a clue that that if ratings are good, more seasons will be in the works?

* For the opening credits, they used the original series credits, which I thought was perfect.

* I have mixed feelings about Joel McHale's performance. I love Joel, but I think he played Tad a little over the top.

* Fun fact: did you notice who played the evil doctor in "Founder's Mutation"? It was Doug Savant, of "Melrose Place" fame.

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