Following on from Twin Peaks getting a new series (or maybe not, depending on what’s going on behind the scenes at the moment), we’re getting another ’90s revival, this time in the form of the X-Files. Fox have commissioned a six episode series, which will star both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. I’ve always been a massive X-Files fan, so I should be over the moon.
In reality, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. The X-Files was the first TV program that I followed from the beginning, and the first that I thought of as ‘mine’. I inherited things like Star Trek, but this was something that I could make my own, and I did exactly that. I bought the VHS tapes, bought the novels, and even a very bad t-shirt. I was obsessed with it in the way that only teenagers can be.
Despite that, I’d probably be amongst the first to admit that it had problems. While the first two seasons were excellent, it started getting caught up in the mythology of the series a bit too much, and by the time the first film rolled around the alien conspiracy storyline was starting to dominate, which was unfortunate since it always seemed unlikely that there’d be a decent pay off for it. Nevertheless, it kept the quality up for a few more seasons before going into terminal decline.
The X-Files is, for me, the poster child for a series that overstayed its welcome. The writing was on the wall once Duchovny left, but it soldiered on for a while longer with a new cast, before wrapping itself up with one last outing for Mulder and Scully which attempted to bring some kind of resolution to the series. By the time it finally went off air, I was almost relieved to see it go.
Bringing the series back does give it an opportunity to make up for what was a lacklustre resolution in the final episode, and it does look like we’ll be getting some of the original series writers along with Duchovny and Anderson, which should help. Even with that, it’s going still going to have a hard time making itself relevant.
The X-files was a product of its time. The heyday of alien invasion conspiracies has been and gone, and we have more grounded conspiracies theories involving false flags and paedophile rings these days. In order to make itself relevant to a modern audience, it will either need to tap into that or ignore the conspiracy angle completely. I’d be happy with six ‘monster of the week’ episodes, but I have a horrible feeling that it’s going to be alien-centric.
I’m hopeful that we’ll get something that reminds me why I loved the X-Files. If not, well, I’m sure that there’s some kind of shadowy power that I can blame. I wonder where I put that UFO poster…