Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time: Ten Reasons To Be Excited For The X-Files Revival

March 27, 2015 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

I ditched my original plans for this week’s ABGT when some big news broke earlier this week. The truth is still out there, because FOX has ordered a six-episode limited revival of The X-Files! I’ve been hoping for some new stories in this universe for a long time. When I saw the announcement made…not everyone was as excited as I assumed. Is it because the second movie was so lackluster? Is it because the series ended on such a sour note? I don’t know, but I think we all need to give Chris Carter and company the benefit of the doubt and be open to this series. That’s why for this week’s ABGT, I’m going to give you ten reasons why you should be excited for the X-Files revival!

There’s probably not going to be any filler.

There’s only six episodes for this run. Let’s assume that each episode is the normal 46 minutes in length. That’s not a lot of time to play around and introduce a monster-of-the-week filler episode. The stand-alone episodes of the show were some of the best in the first few seasons, but they began to wear out their welcome by the end. It didn’t really matter if they were still good or not. People were tired of things dragging out. Before Lost, The X-Files was the thing of continuing to prolong the truth.

This time, we only have six episodes…and unless there’s a guarantee it could come back later, that’s all we’re getting. The cast aren’t getting any younger and the time to end their story is now. With the limited run, it allows Chris Carter the chance to wrap everything up. Logically speaking, we should be knee deep in government conspiracy and aliens and nothing but. I liked the Flukeman too, but he has no place in the revival and likely won’t appear.

That second movie was a letdown.

I’m one of the few that actually enjoyed I Want To Believe for what it was, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a complete let-down. Sure, the movie didn’t bomb (it doubled its budget) but it was still a disappointment for Fox compared to Fight the Future. Sure, they can blame the mammoth success of The Dark Knight but I think they can also blame the fact that the concept leaked before the film was released. We knew that the movie wasn’t going to continue the story of the series. It was a standalone story.

You don’t end the series like you do, then promise a movie, then not follow-up on any of the plot threads you left hanging after the finale. Alien colonization? Ignored. Mulder being wanted by the government? Handwaved out of continuity. The second movie, while entertaining on its own merits, was kind of an insult to long-term fans. Long-term fans are the ones you would want to see this thing. They might have saved some of that multiple Dark Knight viewing money to spend a litle on The X-Files. It’s just a bad way for the franchise to be remembered.

“The Truth” wasn’t exactly must-see TV, either.

While we’re talking about letting X-Files go out with a proper ending, let’s look at the original series finale. “The Truth” was a two-hour long event that really added up to nothing. Mulder was wanted by the government for reading the wrong documents (although he’s accused of murdering someone that can’t be killed). What follows is a trial about whether or not Mulder killed a guy in what’s clearly a way to lock Mulder up for life. Also some “ghosts” show up to give Mulder advice, like X and The Lone Gunmen for no other reason then to remind people that they existed.

With all the faults you can point out, perhaps the biggest is that it solves nothing. It ends on an unresolved cliffhanger. The hope was that the story would continue in feature films but obviously we know how that ended up. The only thing that got resolved was the fate of the Cigarette Smoking Man, and even then you’re never sure if he’s really dead. He’s very sneaky. “The Truth” offered no answers and that’s one reason the revival needs to happen.

Mulder and Scully…together again!

Whether they want to be or not, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will always be tied together. They’re good in other things, but they’re Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Remember how many people wanted Gillian to do an episode of Californication? We like seeing these two together. They have excellent chemistry, their characters work well together and they’re a joy to watch. For X-Files fans, Mulder and Scully’s relationship is a large part of the draw. The show did help create the term “shipper” after all. I Want To Believe had the two living together in hiding, so it’s safe to say they’re a legitimate couple now.

Even if they weren’t “together” together, they’re always great to watch on screen. Just seeing the two acknowledge each other (still by their last names, because that’s their thing) once again will be fun for long-time fans. It’s like finally getting a sequel to a movie that has been in development for years. There’s a chance it could disappoint, but you’re so excited to see beloved characters again that you’re willing to take the risk.

A limited run means more focus.

This goes back into the “no filler” part, but it needs to be repeated. If Chris Carter is given an entire season of 22 episodes to tell the rest of this story, he will get off base. Just look at what he did in nine seasons! Proof of the existence of aliens because the government covering up everything and helping an evil race of aliens take over the world with alien-human hybrids. That’s on top of the super soldiers, black oil, vague Native American tie-ins and the fact that aliens may have created life on Earth. Even for fans, it was a tangled web by the end that will be a challenge to properly unravel.

With this limited series, there will be no time to come up with new directions or add new wrinkles to an already convoluted story. For one thing, you’re going to hope to get some new people watching this series. It’s silly but you know Fox wants that. They probably want to spin this off into a new series with new agents eventually. Secondly, long-term fans aren’t going to want anything new unless it finally resolves questions we’ve had for over a decade. Less time means more focus on the things that matter.

And of course that means…

Finally…some answers.

I don’t expect six episodes to tell me everything nor do I expect them to. I never expected the original series to give me all of the answers. That’s why I specified “some”. I’m sure that some fan questions will never be answered and that’s a good thing. That’s kind of the point. The difference between “some answers” and “no answers” is a big one, though. We never got our alien colonization story to tie things up. We never got a definitive conclusion to the stories of characters we know and love.

Now we should at least get some answers about some of the things. For example, unless this story takes place in 2012 (which is possible), why didn’t the aliens colonize the planet? Why was the government so willing to forgive Mulder’s transgressions? Who’s been investigating The X-Files with Mulder and Scully out of commission? Whatever happened to William? Is the Cigarette Smoking Man actually dead? There’s a lot here that needs the attention of Carter and his crew and I believe that we’ll know some of it before the revival is over.

Bigger budget, better special effects?

I’m not going to say that the special effects during the original run were bad, because that would be a lie. They had some awesome makeup and practical effects. The computer effects however, were hit or miss on the TV show. The show already had an impressive budget and the movies were even bigger. One could hope that with FOX dedicating themselves to a new TV show, we might get an even bigger budget which means that we could do more with the special effects.

This means that we won’t have to endure things like “Space” ever again. It means the alien abductions could be more than just a light shining down on someone. It’s a show that already looked good but the idea that the revival could look even better is a pleasant thought, to say the least. An updated version of a great show wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, provided we can keep the things that made it work.

If it succeeds, maybe Millennium will get one last shot.

Okay, this one is a long shot, I know. Millennium wasn’t nearly as popular as The X-Files was and it actually got canceled after three seasons. So I know that even if this revival does really, really well…FOX isn’t just going to start reviving all of Chris Carter’s shows. Don’t expect Harsh Realm season two any time soon. But as a fan of Frank Black, I have to hope that we eventually get some more of that world as well, especially in a world where we’re finally getting more Mulder and Scully.

TV wasn’t quite ready for a show that dark yet and I think it would be more equipped to handle it now. A random episode of Criminal Minds makes some of Millennium look like kid stuff. It was a show that was hurt by being a little ahead of its time and by not being the same as X-Files. People wanted more government conspiracies and supernatural creatures. They got a moody, atmospheric crime show with possible end of the world and demonic implications.

There could be a lot of cameos.

I derided “The Truth” for throwing in The Lone Gunmen as ghosts just for the hell of it. Now I’m about to make myself a hypocrite by saying I want them in the new series. Like the Cigarette Smoking Man, I have to believe that these guys would find a way to live just to avoid whoever it is they want to avoid. In the “season ten” comics, they’ve already revealed that they faked their deaths. If the comics aren’t canon anymore, then just take that idea and put it into the new show.

It doesn’t even have to be the Gunmen, either. I’d be fine with Skinner or Doggett returning (Reyes can stay home). Even a throwaway appearance from CSM or Krycek would be okay with me if they could properly explain their returns. Mulder and Scully were a big part of why X-Files worked, but they weren’t the only part. Fans love some of these other characters as well. As long as you can come up with a good reason why they’re back, then I’ll welcome them with open eyes.

It’s more episodes of The X-Files!

At the end of the day, all I really care about is seeing more X-Files. It’s probably my favorite show of all time and it’s just as much of my childhood as the Fox Kids lineup was. Luckily, it’s one that holds up better now that I’m an adult. I’m not going to toot my own horn or anything here but it’s the one show that I’ve consistently been a fan of. I own all nine seasons and both movies. I have a huge “I Want To Believe” poster on my wall. I’ve met Gillian Anderson (who signed my movie). It’s a huge part of my life as a horror fan and a geek in general.

On top of all that, when X-Files was on, it was on. There are still some episodes that are creepy to me now. There’s still a lot of it that’s great television. The thought that we are getting new episodes with Duchovny, Anderson, Carter and others (Glen Morgan is confirmed, Darin Morgan, James Wong, Mitch Pileggi and Frank Spotnitz are in talks) all involved is tremendous. The truth is still out there and I can’t wait to turn on my television and hear that familiar theme song again.

Ending Notes:

That’s it for me. Agree with my choices? Did I leave anything out? Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook.

Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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