Blu-ray Review: ‘The X-Files’ Return Is A Mixed Bag

Review by Lauryn Angel

The big question seems to be whether the show is as good as it used to be. The answer? Well, it’s mixed. (I only watched the first few episodes)

The first episode, “My Struggle” begins with a detailed introduction that serves to remind fans of everything that happened in the show’s nine-season run, as well as to introduce those new to the series to the main themes of the show. From there, the show pretty much picks up as if the fifteen year hiatus never happened. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) have been pulled back into the X-Files by Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale), whose television program is clearly modelled on The O’Reilly factor. O’Malley fills Mulder full of tales of alien abductions and Mulder still wants to believe while Scully remains skeptical.

Fans will quickly realize that this episode is part of the underlying mythology of The X-Files, whereas newcomers might be turned off. The episode expects the viewer to have a lot of knowledge – particularly about how close Mulder and Scully’s relationship has been in the past – and while someone who has watched the previous seasons more than once might feel right at home picking up the thread, a newcomer might find himself, well, bored.

“Founder’s Mutation” might have been a better place to start, as it is one of the “monster-of-the-week” episodes, relying less upon the viewers prior knowledge of the show. While the episode’s theme of mutated and missing children does fit into the larger mythology of show, it does more to gradually draw the viewer into the story rather than immediately immersing them.

Anderson, Duchovny, and Mitch Pileggi (who plays A.D. Walter Skinner) slip back into their roles effortlessly. The chemistry is still there. A few more familiar faces appear (though not in the same roles), and, in addition to creator Chris Carter, many of the original writers are back, contributing to the continuity with the earlier episodes. What remains to be seen is just how much the new series will evolve to reflect changing times, beyond jokes about Uber and Google. With such a limited run, though, one wonders whether it will have room to grow.

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