Mulder & Scully are back, and while this first episode in 14 years remains largely procedural and introductory, they're still Mulder & Scully and it's still THE X-FILES.
Sure, there's lots of clunky exposition. Where has Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) been all these years? Just what are the X-Files (sorted in the first minute)? Can we see an alien please (sorted in the second minute)? What has Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) been up to (silently & beautifully pouting her way around an operating theatre somewhere)?
Sure, there's conspiracy. Tad O'Malley (Joel McHale) has somehow made a bucket load of cash calling out all the crazy things you get for free on any New York street corner on his own TV show on the Internet and yet Mulder made NOTHING. O'Malley is old school when it comes to his theories - he even knows the one about the Australian couple who were abducted (represent!). He gets contacted by lots of people claiming to have been abductees - even the pretty ones like Sveta (Annet Mahendru) - and he knows where the alien ships are kept. Also dude owns a kickass helicopter, which in and of itself is pretty badass.
Sure, there's sexual tension. At least three reminders that Mulder & Scully have a child. Lots of staring and longing, longing and staring. Also Mulder has a momentary thing for alleged abductee Sveta, but like the plot it passes pretty quickly.
Sure, there's names and faces we remember, like Mulder & Scully's old FBI boss Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) & the Smoking Man (William B Davis).
There's also the reminder that it's never one stand-alone conspiracy but rather that moment when Mulder seemlessly links them all to remind you that it's never as cut and dry as you think it is and it's always much, much worse and you really should be taping that camera on your laptop lid. Go! NOW!
At the core though it's Mulder & Scully, drawn back together by the paranormal and linked by years searching through the kind of conspiracies revealed in this first episode. Fans will have expected more from creator Chris Carter, who writes and directs this return, and rightly so. There's no monster and only alien flashbacks but it is the promise of things to come that bring hope for the second episode (airing tomorrow night US/Canadian time and held over to Mon 1 Feb in Australia).
It's not bad. It's just... lacking the spark & incredulity of the old days.
People I trust have seen the third episode and declare it decisively good and I can't wait. While the opening theme may have given me the tingles I so fondly remember the story within felt dry and in desperate need of some unexplained goop and grossness.
All of that said - just to hear Mulder & Scully refer to each other by their last names so frequently is worth the price of admission alone. I'll be back to watch all remaining five episodes in no small part because I don't want this first ep to be my final memories of a show I once really enjoyed (if never understood).
Co-Creator of DeciderTV, Steve Molk is sharply focused on the business of TV in Australia across all its formats - FTA broadcast, commercial, subscription, catch up & SVOD.
Based in Brisbane he's a passionate advocate for Australian-made programming, particularly drama and comedy. He loves podcasting, gaming & watching too much TV.
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