The X-Files: ‘This is how I like my Mulder’

XfilesTen more episodes of The X-Files will be filmed in 2017, and are scheduled to be aired at the end of the year / beginning of 2018. So this seems like the perfect moment to look at Season 10, aka X-Files X. The revived series came in for mixed reviews from the professional critics but… we really rather enjoyed it.

All through we waited for the stinker episodes which all the critics complained about. They never came. As long-time X-Files viewers (we prolly don’t quite qualify as geeks but not far off), we revelled in the resurrection of Mulder and Scully in the modern world. This is a tight, well-plotted, beautifully scripted short series which plays to all the original series’ strengths, the core of which is the ever-evolving relationship between the leading pair.

 

Xfiles3

Yes, it’s indulgent and self-referential at times. Yes, it’d make no sense whatsoever if you weren’t reasonably up to speed with the events of the previous nine seasons. But c’mon. This is the Boxset Century. It’s easy to watch X-X after the original seasons, after the films, and to marvel at how far series television has come since Duchovny originally walked away. X-X is more mature (15 rated, not PG). It’s more self-aware. It’s more daring – throwing away the entirety of the original alien invasion mythology in the opening episode… only to replace it with a compelling new conspiracy theory.

Xfiles2Not only is the script more adult, the FX are way better. If you see what is obviously a man in a rubber reptile suit then that’s because it’s a loving tribute to the original series. In fact, the rubber reptile episode is a beautiful piece of plotting. On the surface, it’s a comedy knockabout which neatly reverses all the clichés of the curse of the were-anything. Underneath, it’s the episode where Mulder gets his mojo back. The season starts with him ripping up the ‘I Want To Believe’ poster in a fit of defeatist cynicism. (Scully gets a new one. It’s her poster now. Neat, huh?). But in the were-monster story, Mulder rediscovers his innocence, his ability to believe. And it’s not done with schmaltz or saccharine scripting – but instead with self-mocking, drily witty observations on typical X-Files plot devices from the original series.

Xfiles4More good stuff? Walter Skinner. A cameo for the Lone Gunmen. CSM (!) That’s not a spoiler, btw, he’s on the posters.

Some less-good stuff? The two newbie agents were no doubt introduced with good intentions and they provide some light relief but… we’ve been down the M&S replacement route before and although Doggett and Reyas were actually excellent, M&S they weren’t.

If there’s one thing that X-X proves, it’s that this TV series was always all about Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Chris Carter, and the chemistry between them. X-X delivers those ingredients in near-perfect proportions. Let’s hope Season 11 can revive the recipe to even better effect.

8/10
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
X-Files Season 10 is available to buy, stream, rent and probably wear as a pair of pyjamas

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