When last I left you my immune system was currently engaged in one of it’s epic battles of health and sickness. Over the years I have gained a great deal of respect and admiration for my immune system, and it’s ability to keep me feeling good. I think yesterday was one of those phyrrhic victories though. While I don’t think I have the flu, I did wake up as if my body was under water and drained of all it’s ability to do stuff (clinical term). For instance using my hand to text my bosses that I wouldn’t be coming in to work today took a lot longer then it should have. Since then I’ve been on a steady dose of rest, reading, and watching programs. While I made it to the end of Monday Night Raw last night my body waved the white flag when it came time to watch The X-Files finale, leaving that for today.
Which also brings us to today’s post fellow Geeklings. The X-Files revival… was it worth it? Shall we?
When I first heard that The X-Files was going to return I was filled with 90’s nostalgic glee. I don’t want to re-share my feelings for the show when you can just go here to see what I was thinking before the season started, but anticipation and actual experience are two entirely different things. For instance take the movie 30 Days of Night. The trailers for that film were fantastic. Seriously, talk about the best use of Muse in a trailer ever…ever. The premise was easy. Vampires in the snow where the sun won’t shine for thirty days. Yeah I’m in. I must have watched that trailer over and over and over again to get myself pumped for the movie. Me and my then girlfriend went opening night sat there and watched…as the movie flopped before our eyes. Ugh, where do I even get started with this?! A made up vampire language that sounded like grunts and squeals? The sudden appearance of beards and a lack of clear time lines? Josh Hartnett? So much bad there that it’s almost good. When we left the theater I did what I sometimes do when I’m disappointed, and rationalized that it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I even enjoyed it. The excitement from the hype train still hadn’t burst and I needed to justify, to myself most of all, that I had spent adult dollars to sit through that in the theater.
Now The X-Files just wrapped it’s short, six episode, season last night and I had to take a minute to see if the hype train was still pulling into town or could I give an honest assessment of how I felt about the show? The answer to that question is yes. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more honest when it comes to reviewing things. Honestly I tend to enjoy most things (like the first Purge movie despite how much my friends hated it. Spoiler alert I liked the second one too. It’s not like the movie is trying to re-invent the wheel people. It is what it is) so in order for me to instantly hate something it really needs to bomb before my eyes. The great thing about the X-Files return is that there were five episodes to base my opinion on before the finale, so it wasn’t like I was rushing my thoughts. I had built a foundation.
One of the bigger points of The X-Files is the pursuit of the truth, and the truth of the matter is I really, really enjoyed the return of this show. Not just from the 90’s nostalgic trip but from a “hey, television has really missed Mulder and Scully” kind of trip. Not all of the episodes were perfect, and that glares a little more because the season was so short. If this had been a fifteen episode season then maybe those growing pains wouldn’t have been as apparent. Even though there were some missteps the show never bombed, and felt refreshing to be watching again.
My first thought when the show was announced as six episodes was that they would focus on mythology the whole time. Maybe we’d get some clear cut answers or maybe venture off into new waters either way I figured it was going to be mythology all the time. I was more than surprised to see that after the premier (heavy mythology episode that was a bit clunky) the show shifted to the monster of the week format that it used prior, and has since been used by Fringe (a show that could totally be a love child of The X-Files). This format allowed the audience to reconnect with Mulder and Scully and recall just how fun this show could be. Yes there seemed be underlining themes coursing through each episode, you’d be a fool to have missed the importance of William or the more things change the more they stay the same, but for the most part four of these episodes were uniquely their own and had nothing to do with bigger mythology.
Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster, Home II, and Babylon were all very enjoyable episodes in different ways. In Mulder & Scully… we got probably the funniest episode of the season that had tons of call backs to older X-Files. Things from Mulder’s red underwear to Scully’s forgotten dog all the way to The X-Files theme being Mulder’s ringtone to Scully reminding us all that she’s immortal. This was clearly the standout episode of season ten. Home II seemed to bridge any lingering gaps between Mulder and Scully’s relationship through role reversal as we saw Mulder be Scully’s rock. And outside of Mulder’s “mushroom” trip, Babylon, gave me my favorite Mulder and Scully moment of the season as they walked and talked religion together and our religious skeptic might have cracked the door to believing. Each one of these episodes brought something different to the table but shinned the spotlight on what it was we loved about this show in the first place.
The chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny was still very apparent, and had it not been I don’t think the season would have done as well. That chemistry and the relationship between these two characters is the heart of this show, and even when this season gave us choppy dialogue or pacing problems it was that chemistry that kept the episodes above water. The mythology episodes, while intriguing, were not the best of the season but I’d be lying if the last ten minutes of that finale didn’t hook me.
And that’s the point. The show ends on such a cliffhanger that it almost dares Fox not to bring it back for another run. There’s no way The X-Files can go out like that! Don’t get me wrong, I love open ended endings, but I feel that is better suited for LOST opposed to The X-Files. For Christ’s sake the mantra of the show is “the truth is out there”, how could you possibly end it with out giving answers?!
When it comes down to it I think we’ll see more of The X-Files because it’s hard not to dub this season a success. The ratings were stellar and the episodes were mostly positively reviewed and got people talking (Babylon and the suicide bombers for example). Most of all the return of The X-Files was what TV kind of needed. We live in a time where things are constantly being re-booted or re-tooled or course corrected, and it could be exhausting. Why can’t we just let somethings exist the way it was? Why does everything need to be done over and over again until exhaustion hits? The thing about it is there was no real demand for the return of The X-Files, but once it aired it helped fill a void most of us didn’t know was missing. It showed it’s audience just how unique and precious the show was, not by re-branding or re-booting, but by giving us exactly what we had expected; strange things that go bump in the night and two people who are willing to go in after them with their flashlights. This season of The X-Files dealt a lot with the more things change the more they stay the same theme, and it’s return to television helped punctuate that perfectly.
For me, I loved it and want to see it come back. After finishing the finale I’m committed to re-watching the entire series (and the years I’m sure it’ll take to do so), and I just ordered the movies on a bluray combo pack from Amazon. Truth be told I only wanted the movie from the 90’s but refused to spend the forty something dollar price tag. The fifteen bucks for both was a much better compromise. Watching The X-Files reminded me how I fell in love with television shows. The truth is out there, and I’m still willing to look for it.