The X-Files are back, but not in the full-blown sort of way (at least not yet). This isn’t really news, because the reunion of Mulder and Scully is everywhere. While everyone has their opinion about what the return of this beloved TV series means in today’s world, I’m here to bring my unique perspective as a writer and paranormal/folklore expert to bear.
First off, there is no way making the X-Files just like old times would work – things are just too different to go back. The Lone Gunmen are dead. We’re in a post-9/11 world. Technology is more pervasive than ever. This was where the original series failed in its final two seasons, because it refused to adapt to the changing times, plus the natural evolution of the story.
Another key area where The X-Files faltered near its end was the loss of real twists in the stories. Instead of some nice turns of events shaking things up partway through each storyline, most episodes were just straight tellings. That’s no fun, and that wasn’t what made people love the show.
Finally, the loss of banter between Mulder and Scully absolutely sapped the X-Files of its spirit, of its very essence. It was one of the key elements that made the show so interesting, and once that went away it wasn’t much fun anymore.
With the above points in mind, I cautiously watched the first two episodes of the new season. I was pleasantly surprised that the writers didn’t try to just slide into things like nothing happened. Instead, the characters have moved on, lived their lives and have shifted in different ways. Mulder and Scully are no longer close, and once again Sculley treats everything with skepticism and scientific detachment (for the most part).
In the first episode, viewers are treated to some interesting twists that leave you wondering what the hell is really going on. Sure, you could look at the twists and draw some quick, easy conclusions, but if you think about it long enough you’ll realize that things might not be even close to what they appear (despite hints in the twist that lead you in a certain direction). It’s dense storytelling, the kind you would expect from old school X-Files episodes.
In other words, the show is fun again. The word is that the third episode really gets into the old groove. I was impressed with how the X-Files was relaunched without leveraging a bunch of cheap ploys, tropes and other nonsense.
I wanted to believe that the X-Files could really be back, not some joke of a show, but the magic I used to watch in a completely dark house on a Friday night. I’m glad that essence has returned, albeit in a new form that’s interesting. While some might fret over the changes, those who are willing to accept them are treated to an engaging story and captivating experience once more.