Nostalgia. As soon as I heard the original opening credits play for Fox’s revival of “The X-Files,” a wave of nostalgia crashed over me. Images of my father and me lounging on the couch of our first home watching reruns resurfaced in my mind. We do not live in the same city anymore, but we managed to watch the cult classic reboot Sunday night together through technology.
“The X-Files” ran from 1993 to 2002, running for four seasons too long, and had two movie deals not worth talking about. So as an X-Phile, I was skeptical hearing about this six-episode series. “The Truth Is Out There,” “Trust No One” and “I Want to Believe” were phrases coined by the show and I will admit, I wanted to believe that Fox could bring the show back with a bang, yet it ended up being an explosion with a messy story set-up. Sadly, most critics agreed with me.
“(T)here’s a feeling that everyone is just going through the motions, despite the durability of the show’s central conceit about distrusting authority and the prospect of shadowy conspiracies reaching into the highest levels of government and business,” Brian Lowry, chief TV critic for Variety, said.
The greatest fear is always fear of the unknown. Alfred Hitchcock in “Psycho” and “Ridley Scott” in Alien knew this: If you always show the killer lumbering around with a knife and gallons of blood, it is not nearly as scary or effective as almost never showing him. Show hints: flickering shadows, a drop of blood.
The first few seasons of the original X-files did this. They dropped hints, gave possibilities. Mulder wanted to believe, Scully did not … but neither knew for sure. That was the good stuff. Now we suffer from too much escalation and revelation.
“Based on the premiere, the harsh truth in here is that it’s as if creator Chris Carterand his collaborators have forgotten what people liked about the show,” Lowry said.
Nonetheless, I want to believe in the few critics who wrote about holding out hope for better episodes.
“After some critical outcry, Fox released two additional episodes for review and the good news is,“X-Files” fans, it getsmuchbetter,” Joanna Robinson, writer for Vanity Fair, said. “Without spoiling I can say that it has a distinct”X-Men”vibe, digs a little into Mulder and Scully’s feelings … and features a throwback appearance from Doug Savant.”
The truth is out there Friday nights, from 9-10 p.m., on Fox for anyone to find it. Let’s hope the revival lives up to the original.