New ‘X-Files’ Will Make Even Die-Hard Fans Question If They Want More

New 'X-Files' Will Make Even Die-Hard Fans Question If They Want More

The signs from last year’s Comic-Con premiere weren’t good: Indiewire’s Ben Travers said the first episode of the “X-Files” revival “feels like a faded relic, barely clinging to what once made it great.” Now the Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman has the first full-on review of the episode, which will air January 24, and it’s even worse.

“Why the need to revisit this show now (and only give six episodes when the series famously couldn’t explain its larger mysteries in hundreds of episodes)?” Goodman writes. “Nostalgia? A fall schedule for Fox that has paranormal elements to it and so it fell into the Network’s theme? Who knows.”

“What we’re left with is 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. Ah, time. Maybe it’s dulled the memory a bit, but was Duchovny, famously laconic anyway, always this sedated? Anderson seems equally placid and unhurried on her part, which makes the whole affair seem (as it did when a sneak preview was shown to critics in the summer) slightly off. Out of context in the summer, the clip seemed like a spoof. A large portion of the room was laughing because we thought that’s what it was. Turns out, no, but at least in context there’s less wince-inducing hilarity to the first episode. And yet, nearly every scene seems stunted and out of any kind of dramatic rhythm.”

Having watched the episode myself — the only one made available, with which only six in total seems like another bad sign — I can confirm it’s at least as bad as Goodman makes it sound. The use of a pseudo-found-footage technique to illustrate Mulder’s conspiratorial rants comes off as purely amateurish, a shocking misstep for a show whose style was always one of its strongest points (even if Chris Carter was never one of its best directors). Fans can pray it gets better — and the revival will, like the series itself, include several different types of episodes, including some by old favorites Glen Morgan and James Wong. But the brevity of the revival’s run leaves little time for improvement, and little sign of the commitment you would have hoped the stars, or the network, would bring to it.

Update: More bad news from Brian Lowry and his Variety colleague Maureen Ryan. In his review, Lowry writes:

“Throughout the premiere, 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 in a format that mitigated the time commitment for all concerned, particularly Duchovny and Anderson. Heck, they’re even back shooting in Vancouver, the town Duchovny rather famously pushed to leave during the show’s heyday.

Whether or not that takes a toll on viewership after the opening flurry and initial kick of hearing Mark Snow’s score again, creatively speaking, “The X-Files” can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity — except, perhaps, among those X-Philes who remain not just eager to believe, but in terms of falling short of expectations, to forgive as well.”

But the opinion that should really worry fans comes from Ryan, who as she notes, was the founding editor of the official “X-Files” magazine.

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