The X-Files has lost its X

I loved The X-Files.  I still remember watching the first episode and how exhilarated it made me feel.  I was blown away that someone else had the same thoughts I did.  I was so hungry for this type of television that the weekly wait for the next episode was torture.  And I just loved Dana Scully:  once she grew out of her puppy fat, dyed her hair a more interesting shade of red and started wearing Very Long Coats, she became a woman I could truly admire.  She was smart, educated, didn’t take any bullshit from Mulder but wasn’t so close-minded that she wasn’t willing to look, listen and learn.  I loved her so much that I even named my daughter after her.

My favourite episodes were the alien conspiracy ones.  I hated the horror stuff which, in later series, was pretty much all they made.  It began to lose its way, for me, when they stopped filming in Canada and the dark, wet atmospherics were lost.  David Duchovny was cleared bored shitless by the whole thing, although Gillian Anderson remained committed to the end.  I even liked Agent Reyes.  But when Scully gave away her baby, I cut myself off emotionally from the whole series – it seemed too cruel a fate for a character I loved so much.

When I first heard about The X-Files reboot, it was with dread.  I didn’t automatically think it would be bad but just unnecessary.  Also, I didn’t think that 20thC paranoia was going to translate well in the internet age.  Worse, it was Channel 5 that picked it up which has to be a major insult indeed.  However, the opening sequence of the first episode was hopeful – perhaps this won’t be so bad, I thought.  And at least they hadn’t changed the opening credits!  In those brief moments, I relived the initial excitement of the early days and I tried to hang on to that feeling for as long as I could.

But it hasn’t worked.  The opening titles remain the best thing about The X-Files.  Everything else feels rehashed and pointless.  David Duchovny has not aged well and while Gillian Anderson is still very beautiful, her wig was just wrong and there appeared to be something wrong with her voice.  It was very strained, as if her vocal chords had tightened.  I have the same problem so this is something I know about – my vocal chords have tightened through lack of use and also nervousness, but then I’m not an actress and I don’t care.  Clearly the producers think their stars are too old too because they introduced Mully and Sculder clones several episodes in, neither of which were remotely interesting.  Does this indicate a spin-off series?  Am I going to bother watching?

It’s possible the series may have been better if it had had the chance to develop but with only six episodes, it was a waste of time.  There were no new ideas, no innovations, nothing that made it stand out in the way it used to.  There was no atmosphere, no mood.  It wasn’t BAD, it just wasn’t that good.  The stories weren’t that exciting.  The last episode looked cheap and Sculder and Mully were never on the screen together once.  Bloody Smoking Man should have stayed dead and the Lone Gunmen resurrected instead.  And why did poor Monica Reyes have to stick fags in SM’s smoke hole?  What a horrible ending for her.  I’d always pictured her living happily ever after with Doggett in a rose covered cottage.  As an ex-Terminator, at least he was strong enough to take out the garbage.

I was left feeling immensely disappointed and my expectations weren’t even that high.  Please, please, I hope they don’t make any more.  Not unless someone else gets to write it and the actors get better lines.

Best moment (at least there is one):  Scully introducing the opening of the last episode in the same way that Mulder opened the first and then hilariously morphing into a Grey.  Brilliant.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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