Wednesday, February 24, 2016

X Files Revival: The Good and The Bad Now That The Dust Has Settled

I was so hyped for the X Files return that I ended up watching the entire 9 previous seasons, the two movies, PLUS the X Files Season 10 comic series. Six episodes later and my final verdict is mixed. A lot of it I liked, but a good portion of it was so blatantly bad that it acted as the proverbial bad apple that spoils the bunch. So here is a short list of the good and bad from The X Files, Season 10.


The cinematography and set production is still top notch: What made the original run so special is how it looked like nothing on television, and some of it was nearly on par with feature film cinematography and still stands up to today's standards. This new series did not hold back, the show was full of eye candy.

Mulder and Scully back together: There is something special about these two actors together which makes the show special. I think there could have been even more development to their bond, but a few of their back and forth dialogue scenes were worth the price of admission.

The stand alone episodes: The two mythology episodes which book-ended the series were rushed and plagued with bad editing and acting, the stand alone episodes were much more enjoyable, and harkened back to the original show's oddball qualities.

 The special effects: The producers did not hold back on the visuals. The teaser scenes for both “Founder's Mutation” and “Home Again” were classic X Files gore. The space craft landing in the “My Struggle I” was also beautifully executed.

The writing team which did not include Chris Carter: Although I am on the side of the fence that enjoyed “Babylon”, Carter's stories were not the best. Glenn Morgan, Darin Morgan, and James Wong wrote the three more character driven episodes of the series, which tried to move the story forward without disrespecting what had come before.


Pacing: The X Files has always been a super slow paced show, which I worried was going to be one of the pitfalls for its success in super amped 2016 television. Carter and company simply had too much to work with in too little time, and with the exception of “Founder's Mutation” and “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster”, tried to shove too many elements into one episode. “My Struggle I” and “II” suffered the most from this rush.

The acting: Scully and Mulder both seemed tired. I was especially annoyed by Scully's voice which seemed to be rasping and whispering most of the time. “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster” was one exception where it seemed she was having fun, despite disappearing for the last bit of the episode. Even the Cigarette Smoking Man came off as flat, as did Skinner. They were simply caricatures of their old selves at points. I think this is a direct result of the pacing, which did not allow for the characters to truly develop into their roles.

The reset button: Carter and company seemed to have gotten bored with their original mythology while still in the original run of the show. Samantha's storyline was resolved, the syndicate was killed off, and Super Soldiers entered the scene. The myth arc had become too large and complicated for its own good. But instead of trying to tweak with it and bring it back stronger, it was mainly rewritten for this new series. Also, the fact that Cigarette Smoking Man survived a direct hit from a missile without any explanation as to HOW, was a cheap shot. And also bringing Agent Reyes back only to destroy her character was in bad taste. The Season 10 Comics give us a much better continuation of the previous 9 seasons of X Files mythology.

Agent Miller and Einstein: They were cute in “Babylon”, and The X Files has played around with alter egos before, but to bring them back in the finale was a big mistake. Mulder and Scully became second banana to these two, who essentially saved the day – Einstein helping Scully figure out the “science” and Miller figuring out where Mulder was hiding. These agents came out of nowhere and suddenly became central figures. Again, pacing! Agents Doggett and Reyes had to win their trust from the audience over a few episodes time – and even then were disliked by a lot of fans. These two aren't nearly as interesting.

Too short a season: Despite my gripes, I believe that the good from this season outweighs the bad and would have outshone it by a lot had they had more time to develop the stories, i.e. a longer season. Six episodes is simply not enough time to tell the stories that The X Files likes to tell. If they come back again for a Season 11, which I believe they will, I hope everyone's schedules work out so that they can at least do 10 episodes. “My Struggle I” and “II” could have been simply cured by making them an hour and half episodes.

So to conclude, Season 10 of The X Files was not a complete train wreck, it was certainly way more enjoyable than Season 9 and even a lot of Season 7, and still had a uniqueness that can't be found on any other show out there.  I would put it right behind Season 8 (which went less mythology heavy and brought the show back to its early season freaky monster roots) in terms of quality. I am definitely pumped for a Season 11, or perhaps even a movie, to wrap the mythology story up: I think it has been overcooked and needs to rest. Season 11 should focus on solving weird cases and nothing more.

Post by P. Ray

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