After watching two of the six new “X-Files” episodes, one thing is inarguably clear: One of these is better than the other. Fans may like the premiere episode of Mulder and Scully’s long-awaited return to the small screen, but critics were divided (at best) regarding the overall quality of “My Struggle (Part I).” Indiewire’s TV team of Editor Liz Shannon Miller and Critic Ben Travers gave it the very same grade — a C+ — in their individual reviews of the episode, but some critics were even harsher in their analysis of the first episode back.
Yet most agree that Episode 2, “Founder’s Mutation,” shows promise. Setting aside the eternal X-Phillies debate of conspiracy plots vs. case-of-the-week stories, one big difference can be seen between the two episodes: the person in charge. Creator Chris Carter wrote and directed Episode 1 while “X-Files” veteran James Wong handled the same responsibilities for Episode 2. Considering a) that Carter was also responsible for the abysmal second film in the “X-Files” franchise, “I Want To Believe,” and b) that “Star Wars: Episode VII” is still raking in the dough at the worldwide box office, a simple comparison came to mind: Is Chris Carter the George Lucas of television? If so, should he do as Lucas did and step aside, allowing new voices to tell his story?
It’s not an easy question to sum up in a few words, so Indiewire’s Miller and Travers took to their podcast — Very Good TV Podcast — to try to hash out an answer. On the one hand, Carter has been with the series since Day 1 and seems eager to keep writing and directing “X-Files” stories, unlike Lucas with “Star Wars.” On the other hand, the example set thus far by the “Star Wars” franchise is undeniably a success story — especially when compared to the reception around the Lucas-helmed prequels. And who doesn’t want to see an “X-Files” episode written and directed by the likes of a Rian Johnson, Matthew Weiner or Beau Willimon?
Don’t forget to subscribe to Very Good TV Podcast via Soundcloud or iTunes. Follow Indiewire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news — as well as the latest reviews and analysis on all the best television shows of 2016, not just “The X-Files” — plus check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to Indiewire’s other podcasts, Screen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, as well as Indiewire Influencers, hosted by Editor in Chief Dana Harris and featuring various guests relevant to anyone tracking independent film or entertainment in general.
Related News and Articles:
– Liz went deep into her own history with “The X-Files” for this lovely, moving essay on how a TV show can change your life.
– In other TV news, “Baskets” is on the air, and it’s…different. Ben’s review.
– Remember Liz and Ben’s sandwich bet about whether or not the Woody Allen Amazon series would actually happen? Production starts in March and Miley Cyrus — yes, Miley Cyrus — is set to star. [Note: A lot can happen before March. Alot.]
– Keep up with the final season of “Downton Abbey” via Indiewire’s weekly episode reviews.