Every Friday night I would stay at home and watch The X-Files. Yup I was that kid. I loved the ongoing conspiracies and the idea that there is something more out there. It was a romantic notion that there is this other worldly life beyond what we can comprehend and there are people trying to find the truth. That it is just all waiting for us to uncover and this crazy thing we call existence could be explained to us.
Now the world is a lot more cynical and a hell of a lot more frightening so the idea that there is an even bigger conspiracy out there leading to the demise of humanity doesn’t seem too far-fetched. It is why the return of The X-Files is a brilliant idea. We are drowning in a confusing and terrifying world and some escapism to a place where it could all be explained would have been comforting. Unfortunately the premier was a confusing mess that had too big of an ambition which would have been better served spread out over the entire six-episode run instead of in the one-hour premier.
Warning! There are spoilers ahead for “My Struggle.”
The cold open served as a way too simplified explanation as to what the X-Files unit was and who our main people are for those who were not obsessed with the series over the years. Then the opening credits, which was the only thing in the episode that gave me pure joy. It was the original opening titles! All of a sudden I was back to being a teenager on Friday night (then later Sunday night) waiting to see what Fox Mulder and Dana Scully uncovered next. Everything which came after the titles left we wondering what in the hell just happened.
A super right-wing conspiracy nut, Tad O’Malley (think Alex Jones with more charisma and dumber conspiracies) finds a way to bend Mulder and Scully’s ear about the truth behind alien abductions. It was all a lie from the beginning! It was a group of, well I’m not sure exactly who, people who want to take down American and then the rest of the world and… I’m still not sure what they are going to do after. These people used real alien technology from a crash landing in the 40’s to stage fake abductions to study things. The group of über bad guys has us all in constant conflict with other countries so the government has a reason to consistently spy on us. There is so much more going on and a woman named Sveta is the key to how everything is faked, but damned if I could actually explain it to any of you. At one point O’Malley and Mulder explain it all and it sounds like a monologue ripped right out of Mr. Robot with the added fun of aliens are involved with keeping the population fat dumb and happy so we don’t notice we are enslaved. All I know is in the end the X-Files unit was re-opened, a bunch of people were killed or disappeared to keep the secret, the Smoking/Cancer Man is still alive and pulling the strings behind the scenes, and seeing Joel McHale makes me miss The Soup and the first few seasons of Community.
It wasn’t all bad. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still have that chemistry that made even the most ridiculous episodes watchable. There is still room for the mini-series to become more of what we as super fans want it to be. I will be watching tonight’s episode in hopes it is more of what I originally loved about the show there. The next four entries will be more of the monster of the week format the show mostly thrived on and the series finale will be the bookend to premier.
With the revival of all the 90’s shows and movies, The X-Files is the one I was looking forward to the most because searching for the truth in the improbable is something that never gets old and is rife with promise of a new and creative ways of telling a story. Maybe I was hoping for more than just a nostalgia filled look back at a series which opened the door to shows such as Orphan Black, Supernatural, Black Mirror, Mr. Robot, and Fringe.
What did you think of the premier of The X-Files? Were you intrigued by the premise of turning the entire mythology of the series on its head or were you left scratching you head wonder what happened? Did seeing Mulder and Scully work together again make your geeky heart happy? Let me know in the comments section below.