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There May Be Hope for the New ‘X-Files’ After All

There May Be Hope for the New 'X-Files' After All

With the first negative reviews of the new “X-Files” opening the floodgates to reactions from massively underwhelmed critics, things looked dire for the long-awaited revival. The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman called the first episode, the only one of six available for review, “a very underwhelming hour that will force even diehard fans (and yes, I was one of them) to consider whether pushing onward is really worth the time,” and Variety’s Brian Lowry said , “it’s simply hard to escape the prevailing malaise of this being a deal-driven exercise, a chance to cash in on the name recognition of the title.” Even Lowry’s Variety colleague Maureen Ryan, formerly the founding editor of The Official “X-Files” Magazine, called it “a chaotic, disappointing mess” on Twitter.

Read more: New “X-Files” May Make Even Die-Hard Fans Question If They Want More

Keith Uhlich, one of the most astute critics and dedicated X-philes in the business, made it clear he disagreed with the mounting consensus, and Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson pointed out that the return of writer-director stalwarts like Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, and James Wong meant good things could conceivably be in store. “The X-Files” was, in some ways, an anthology show masquerading as an ongoing narrative, which allowed for a much greater variety in tone, and even quality, than your standard TV drama.

But critics had nothing else to go on until yesterday, when Fox, likely reacting to the bad buzz and just getting the jump on today’s TCA panel, added two more episodes to the press site. And guess what: They’re better! “Founder’s Mutation,” written and directed by James Wong, is a gory procedural that begins with Mulder and Scully investigating an apparent suicide at a mysterious corporation with ties to the Defense Department, and Darin Morgan’s “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” is, as you might expect from the title, a lighthearted take on classic monster-of-the-week episodes, with a cast including Kumail Nanjiani and Rhys Darby. (There’s also a brief appearance in the former by “Hannibal’s” Kacey Ruhl, which gives support to my fan theory that Abigail Hobbs is still alive, goddammit.) Although Scully has a smartphone now, the new episodes are very faithful to the look and feel of the old episodes, and especially in “Were-Monster,” you can feel David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson settling back into their old you-set-’em-up/I’ll-knock-’em-down rhythms, picking up where they left off. “I forgot how much fun these cases could be,” Dana Scully says as she’s looking over a freshly mutilated corpse. Thanks for reminding us.

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I am a die hard X-Phile and I saw the premiere at NYCC in October. Overall, I left NYCC mostly impressed, despite the expository-heavy premiere (Hey-even die hard X-Philes need a reminder-or two). However, part of the appeal of the premiere was watching it on a giant theater screen with my fellow Philes. Further, I admit that the characters seemed lethargic and I heard a bit of Gillian Anderson’s British accent slipping into Scully.

I am more than elated to learn that the mainstream critics are amending their initial reviews of revival. My only worry is that many people have already read the initial reviews and have decided to give up on the revival. I can only hope these people now know to have patience with the revival.


As much as I love it, it’s kind of a shame Darin Morgan’s episode is just a rewrite of his unproduced NIGHT STALKER script.

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