By Collin Lotter & Tyler Foster
The promotion was heavy and frequent on the primary Fox network and as a kid who grew up in the nineties… I was all in. That's right, when we first heard that Fox was bringing back the X –Files with all the major players from the original series, we all said “sign me up.” And Fox was counting on this, with a reported 20 million spent on promotion for the month leading in to the tenth season premiere mainly tied around the highly rated NFL playoffs. Many fans can’t tell you how it ended or why it was continuing, but unlike most television installments, there has always been mega intrigue around the X Files cases and characters over the past 20 years. Over its 10-season, two-movie run, there have been almost as many X-Files “endings” as there have been twists. The last few seasons, never sure of the show’s future, proposed a few different ways to send Mulder and Scully into the sunset. Scully was announced pregnant a few seasons back, just around the same time Mulder was abducted.. The next season Mulder and Scully shared an intimate moment to potentially answer the inevitable will they / won't they teased romance throughout the episodes. The second movie in 2008 left somewhat of a concrete ending showing Scully and Mulder on vacation seemingly at peace and the fans with some finality… however we all knew these questions would again be resolved.
Part of the major intrigue for myself as a viewer in the six-episode rebirth was to be able to see new episodes from an introspective thirty-year-old point of view rather than a young kid trying to be scared for the night and fulfilling realism to my own imagination. Seeing it from the perspective of the same age that Mulder and Scully were when they began the show was a draw to a lot of the post millennial demographic to give this show another chance and while the show had some highs and the main characters seem to age extremely gracefully, it was safe to say from critics and hardcore fans response that the show did not in its newest rendition. On the surface, you can conclude that Fox viewed the mini series/tenth season as a major hit compared to their other original programming. Ratings were solid and there looked to be a healthy amount of social media buzz for X Files all together. This was definitely evident initially with a huge premiere audience of 17.8 million fans tuning in, but this wouldn't last for the series finale with viewership dipping to a disappointing 6.9 million fans. Also feedback ran rampant on all social platforms/message boards that the finale felt hollow and unfulfilling for such a rabid fan base starting out. But based on the overall response, the harsh truth in here is that it’s as if creator Chris Carter and his collaborators have forgotten what people liked about the show.
This season starts out with Fox Mulder and Dana Scully back on the hunt (initially with Mulder leading his own one man investigation) after receiving new information, and a mysterious woman might be the victim of an alien abduction close by. Mulder starts questioning what he originally solved in past cases and goes into full rogue/detective mode throughout the first episode. Along the way they meet, Tad O’ Malley (Joel McHale), a Web-TV Blowhard who individually believes he has stumbled upon the most evil ,trust nobody conspiracy that undermines the first nine seasons and two movies. Mulder is initially extremely captivated and wants to dig deeper (much to the dismay of Scully). Seeing the great Mitch Pileggi appear as Walter Skinner was a nice surprise to the premiere two episode – two night event and the back and forth between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still had charm. However, as a viewer it became extremely clear that 13 years later the stories and characters don't have the same energy.
The middle of the season had chunks of excitement with some great comedic moments and guest stars like Rhys Darby(Flight of the Conchords) who plays a New Zealander that is neither a guy, nor a man., He is a lizard. The third episode is powered by his appearance and brings some light-hearted humor to a dull opening two episodes for anticipating fans. Darby was so good in this role as he narrates his whole transformation from a wishful point of view of the luxuries that humans have over reptiles. The interaction with him seems to reinvigorate Mulder who has a keen trait to believe the unbelievable..
The good vibes don't last long entering the fourth episode as Scully receives a phone call from her brother informing her of the news that her mother has entered a coma and she must rush to the hospital to see her immediately. Scully who is also dealing with the issue of whether giving her son William up for adoption was ultimately the right choice, seems torn apart throughout the episode, leaving Mulder to sit by her side as well as keep solving the clues to the latest case. The amazing thing about this episode is the amount of awkward tension between Mulder and Scully.lots of uncomfortable touching and consoling as well as unnatural romance leaving viewers a little perplexed who have always concluded the two were naturally made for each other.
The last two episodes were arguably the two most misguided in the series’ history, which is discouraging considering they were the two final go home epilogues to the series for fans. The fifth episode titled “Babylon” begins with a man praying with ominous undertones playing in the background. This character then proceeds to blow up an art gallery in rural Texas. This scene erringly similar to the Oklahoma City bombing scene in the first X-Files movie…There Mulder and Scully meet two young recruits who are assigned to this Texas devastation. Lots of one ups between the young ambitious recruits and the savvy veterans transcend from conflict to partnership and it results in capturing the villain who bombed the gallery. The series finale, which was heavily promoted by Fox to have a scintillating cliffhanger that would leave us talking for months… (As a concurring theme to whole show’s revival),. the cliffhanger wasn't that surprising and left us empty. Scully protected from a global biological attack by her alien DNA, can only hope to save Mulder with the stem cells of their son William, whom she gave up for adoption 14 years ago. That might have been a twist if not for the fact that Scully’s maternal guilt had been the season’s most consistent thread. As for the episode’s final minute — a spaceship sets its beam on Scully as the show ends with iconic imagery and best scenes in its entirety.
Perhaps it was the condescending, older, bitter person in me that didn't allow myself to have as much fun with this six-episode fest as I should. However, as previously stated the whole show left a void incomplete compared to years past. It lacked energy, creativity and a startling finale to keep me