When I first watched The X Files I was very young. It was the episode with the lights in the forest. It scared the hell out of me, I won’t lie. But… I immediately wanted to believe. Over the years, I wasn’t what you would call a loyal fan – the show came on at odd hours; I had a curfew. These were the troubled times before Netflix and chill, guys, you have to understand. But I caught the occasional episode and was part of the Scully and Mulder “will they / won’t they” bandwagon.
For those of you who missed this and are just now starting to get into the show… May the odds be ever in your favour.
By the time I got back into the X Files I had achieved self-awareness and realised that I was, in fact, a nerd. So, naturally – I binged. Yes, even through the horrible seasons. You see, The X Files is one of those shows. We know it really, actually, wasn’t the best thing on TV. We know it didn’t really hold together well as the seasons rolled on. We know that it doesn’t really make sense for Scully to have been so skeptical for so long…
But we love the show anyway. We suffered faithfully. Through the good, the bad, the scary, the weird and the meh of it all. Heck. I even watched both the movies.
But my love for horrible movies is a topic for another day.
The point is… Talk of the X Files coming back was almost as painful as talk of Firefly coming back. It felt cruel, insensitive, the work of those amongst us seeking to recruit into the ranks of chest pains Twitter. I told myself not to believe every time something “unconfirmed” bubbled to the surface of the interwebs. But, like many of us – I wanted to believe.
And believe I did.
So the official release of a new X Files episode, signalling a mini series continuation or whatever they wanted to call it… Well, let me not lie. Scully and Mulder could literally sit there each episode and go through old cases and I would watch every minute of it.
Having watched the entirety of season 10, I can confirm that, yes, the cheese was strong. It was basically a love letter to fans of the original show which likely left new viewers more than a little confused as to the significance of half the dialogue. And yeah, taken merely on merit alone, some parts were so clearly scripted and flatly delivered that I’m sure everybody who has ever had an X-Files fan as a friend is re-evaluating their friendship decision-making criteria.
If this new era of The X Files is to be seen as an answer, surely the question is whether or not a show can survive on nostalgia alone. We’ve already got the movie answer – studios are bombarding us with re-makes, re-launches, continuations and re-boots we never asked for, never even thought to want, and yet will still shell out money to go and see.
We complain, we say we want original content, but when push comes to Shut Up And Take My Money – nostalgia appears to be a fool-proof plan.
For all those young creatives out there coming up with ideas which could have taken The X-Files’ spot on TV and possibly in our hearts – I’m sorry. It’s a cold world. I support you in principal and I hope to see you come up from web series to mainstream like Issa Rae did… but damnit, I still want to believe.