Since all successfull and somewhat successfull series from the past seems to get obligatory revamps, it was only a matter of time until it was The X-Files’ turn. For a while there were rumours about a new film. The ninth season aired in 2002/3. Five years later there was a very weak movie, my review of which gives an idea of my history with these series. So, another film with the original actors that left the series before the plug was pulled? In the end, the idea was apparently replaced in favour of making a mini series, so now we have six more X-Files with David Duchovny (who put on some weight) and Gillian Anderson (who lost some).
The first episode opens with a 30-second-intro with Mulder telling about his abducted sister, how he came to work for the FBI and how the X-Files were opened, closed, re-opened and closed again. This first episode and the next are full-blown X-Files in the ‘old style’ with UFOs and conspiracy theories. These theories debunk Mulder’s ideas of his younger years and so he (almost?) becomes the disbeliever while Scully is the believer. This is somewhat annoying, but these two episodes are alright. Then (to give new watchers an idea of the old series?) there is one of these nonsense/comedy episodes followed by a fairly weak dramatic episode. The fifth episode starts with a very actual Moslim suicide bomb attack and slowly moves towards something lighter with Mulder in an unexpected experiment. Just as in the original series a couple of new Mulder-and-Scully’s appear. The series close with a very good episode which fits into the ‘larger story’ with a massive conspiracy. This episode should have been worked out into a film. Perhaps it was, because halfway it suddenly stops. There are some characters we know from before in good and less interesting parts.
I am not sure if these new episodes will please the fans of old. Neither am I sure if these new episodes will attract new viewers for the old seasons. This 10th season is just a mediocre scifi/mystery series based on a concept that was better worked out in the past. That is to way, many of the episodes from the first nine series are good. When you are new to the X-Files, you could that with these new series, since the first few minutes take you right up to speed, but perhaps just watching the pilot from 1993 is a better way of finding out if you would enjoy these series.
In August 2008 I ‘blogged‘ about having bought the 9 series X-Files shoebox and now I can tell you we have watched it all. Of course I am not going to review the whole series. A fact is that just as when I watched the series on TV (from 1994 or 1995 on or so) I dropped out somewhere in what proves to be the 8th series, but I have seen several episodes of the 9th as well. It is quite clear why I stopped following the series, they were not getting better. On the other hand, even with Doggett and Reyes there are some interesting episodes. The part of Scully becomes more and more unsatisfying and in some episodes even irritating when Carter has her take over the Mulder role. In any case, overall you can see the series developing. Then less-serious experiments come in, unfortunately resulting in a complete series almost devoid of normal episodes, but initially refreshing. After a while the various directors and story-writers seem to get more of a free hand and some episodes become both amazing and fantasyfull. In general I can say that the X-Files remain one of the more interesting series of my time, but I do not grief that they stopped after a series or two too many when things were not getting better. Unfortunately the last double episode is quite the opposite a final blowout, it is even pretty horrible…
I am not interested in all the extras. Every series has extras on each disc and a separate disc with extras. I do not think I saw any of that, so I cannot comment on it. The box itself looks nice, but is not firm enough for weekly use over two years time. Not that I completely wrecked it, but let me say that I could sell it as “mint” any more. Each series has a nice booklet with information about each episode and a list with all titles (in English and French in my version). Nine times the size of a VHS tape by the way. The box is not cheap, but I do not remember the price after two years, so who gives a damn.
It must have been about 15 years ago when my younger brother watched this weird new series on tv. They were shown late at night on the BBC (not on Dutch television yet). It took a few episodes before I started to like the series, so I only ‘really’ joined halfway the first series. The next year, the series were also broadcasted on Dutch television, the BBC continued with the second series. I was hooked, kept following the series and tried to tape each and every episode. I still have most of them on VHS. After three series, the channels started to become sloppy. Dutch television didn’t stick to the actual order, the BBC jumped back and forth between different series. When the craze started, I bought all those VHS tapes with double episodes made into one, etc. and a t-shirt with the idea to wear when everybody forgot about the X-Files (…). After a while, the tapes were not so easily accessible anymore and since there was no internet yet, I had a hard time trying to maintain my collection. At a certain point Chris Carter started to experiment a little. There were crazy episodes with bizarre stories and weird humour, but as you all know, after a pregnancy and some more series, the main actors started to think that it was about enough. A film was made (not too great, and apparently this is so long ago that I have no review of it in these pages), both Duchovny and Anderson appeared less and less in the shows and eventually got replaced. Carter’s ‘spinnoff’s (“Millenium” and ‘the Lone Gunmen’ also seem to have had a short spinnoff) had not the success of the X-Files and the series didn’t get as much attention as in the past. TV channels moved the series back to impossible times of the day, skipped episodes or even complete series and people like myself stopped following the whole thing. I don’t think that I have seen more than two or three episodes after Mulder and Scully were away. Now suddenly after all these years, there is a new film (and a box with all nine series that do do consider buying). Duchovny and Anderson were contracted again and inspite (or because?) of all the bad reviews, I decided to see what Chris Carter came up with to revive the hype.
Well, I think he won’t revive it. The film is just an average thriller with almost no X-Files elements, save Mulder, Scully and one other character from the series. No UFOs, nothing about the ‘main story’, just a bunch of clichés and a worked out thing that has always been a suggestion in the series. There is close to nothing the seasoned viewer will recognise that somebody who never saw the X-Files does not. Too bad, like I read in another review, Carter will disappoint ‘old fans’ and will not gain new ‘fans’ for the series, since these have little to do with this film.