William B Davis
Includes some mild spoilers but no plot specifics.
Everything old is new again. Last year we had Heroes reborn, next year we’ll be able to return to Twin Peaks, and right now we get to reopen The X-Files for the first time since 2008.
I’ll admit right now that I was a huge X-Files fan and that for a lengthy spell in the mid-1990s it was unquestionably my favourite TV show. It coincided with the first time I got online, and a lot of friends and connections that I have to this day come from that period and fan community. Right from the moment I read the synopsis of the first episode I remember thinking “It’s like they’ve made a show just for me, from all my favourite things” and certainly for the first three seasons I pretty much adored each and every episode virtually without exception.
Created by Chris Carter, the series premise was the two-person FBI team tasked with investigating unsolved cases of the paranormal: Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was the true believer, while Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) was the more rational scientist who kept him grounded. The series was one of the first network shows to mix a long-running continuity arc (consisting of stories of an alien abduction conspiracy) with standalone ‘monster of the week’ outings; later on the show would develop a third strand of more humorous stories to boost the variety and vitality of the series, including “Humbug”, “War of the Coprophages”, “The Post-Modern Prometheus” and “Bad Blood.”
The third year was probably the show’s peak, since while the fourth season contained arguably some of the best episodes the show produced, the overall quality was proving more variable. There was never a year that lacked outstanding moments but in general The X-Files’ subsequent run was one of slow decline and the conspiracy arc became increasingly tangled, confusing and unsatisfying. Duchovny left at the end of season 7, and while Anderson stayed to the bitter end her character stepped back to allow the spotlight to fall on replacement team Doggett and Reyes (Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish). However it was hard to rekindle the show’s original magic spark, and the series finally ended in 2002. Having had one surprisingly good conspiracy-themed feature film spin-off in 1998 while the show was still on air, a somewhat inferior monster-of-the-week second outing came six years after cancellation but didn’t do well at the box office. Ever since then there’s been vague talk of another film or revival, but it’s taken until 2016 for it to become a reality with a six-part ‘event’ mini-series. Read the rest of this entry »