X-Files Revival Review Premiere

X-Files Review: Once the Revival Finds Its Rhythm, It's a Spooky Good Time

TV Review Grade B+Psst, you — yes, you. Listen up, because I don’t have much time before this transmission is intercepted.

You might’ve heard some disappointing things about the upcoming X-Files revival, but that’s just what they want you to think. Who’s they, you ask? Men in Black, government agencies, the military-industrial-entertainment complex… to quote Scully, THERE’S NO TIME! Just trust me when I tell you that if you’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the FBI’s Most Unwanted, Fox’s event series will not disappoint.

Sunday’s premiere (airing after the NFC Championship game) picks up with the former FBI agents years after they’ve parted ways both with the bureau and with each other; a request for help from a conspiracy theorist with a popular Web show (Community‘s Joel McHale, playing it straight) gives them a new mission and a reason to return to their basement office in Washington, D.C.

But a lot of time — and a fair amount of really messed-up stuff — has passed since newbie Agent Dana Scully and passionate oddball Fox Mulder first became partners, and every fight, f. emasculata and flukeman has taken its toll on the pair. Duchovny, who even at his most laconic during the original series exuded a sense of nutty “why not?,” plays his alter ego as tired and wary of being a sucker once more.

Meanwhile, Anderson tempers her portrayal of the always-skeptical Scully with both a deep affection for Mulder and a clear-headed awareness that working with him more often than not left her in danger, in frustration and in pantsuits.

Fox released the first three episodes to the media; the weakest point of them all comes toward the end of the event series’ first hour, when Mulder makes a giant (even by ­X-Files standards) leap in logic that feels very much like “Let’s-all-just-agree-to-move-forward-with-this-thing-OK?” And Scully, who certainly knows better by now, goes along for the ride.

Love for the franchise and its characters likely will blunt the momentary ridiculousness for longtime fans (it did for this one), while newcomers should hang in for the second and third hours — because that’s when the series finds its bizarre rhythm.

Episode 2, titled “Founder’s Mutation” and airing Monday (8/7c), puts aside the mythology and is a straight-up Weird Ish of the Week installment akin to Season 1’s “Eve” or Season 3’s “Avatar,” right down to the creepy music cues and the recognizable Canadian actors filling minor roles.

And the third hour — the strongest I’ve seen so far — is a Darin Morgan-penned, Easter egg-filled love letter to the X-Files faithful featuring a spot-on performance by comedian Rhys Darby. Wryly funny, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” is right up there with Morgan’s “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'” and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.”

The TVLine Bottom Line: The X-Files‘ revival is made for fans of the original — but newbies joining the search for the truth will find plenty worth watching out there, as well. [END TRANSMISSION]

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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14 Comments
  1. ndixit says:

    Well, the negative reviews have been based on the first ep, the general consensus for which is that it’s a bit clunky. But I have heard good things about the monster of the week eps. This review seems to back that claim.

  2. Drew says:

    Episodes 1, 5 and 6 will be the low points of the series. I have little doubt of that. But the other three should be great.

  3. So pleased to see this positive review. I saw the premiere at NYCC and it got a standing ovation. It was wonderful and nostalgic and it made me so happy to watch. However, I started seeing negative reviews and I was like whaaaa. SO yes to this!

  4. Butter says:

    Don’t really care what anybody says.. It’s Mulder and Scully together and it’s the stuff my dreams are made of so yeah…

    • Lysh says:

      Same. I mean, I can think critically about an episode, but I’m so thrilled to see Mulder and Scully again that I’m not wanting to be too critical.

  5. Jay says:

    I applaud Chris Carter for creating the show but he really can’t write interesting television anymore. If the show comes back, could he please hand the reigns to someone else.

  6. mooshki says:

    You had me at “Darin Morgan.”

  7. kmw says:

    It nice to see a more balanced review and I hope everyone can look past first episode and enjoy. And I know Carter only wrote first and last episode so I am sure everything in between will be good but I don’t trust Carter anymore after last two seasons and terrible movie. Its a nice idea that Mulder and Scully could still work together after breaking up but I am not interested in made up tension to justify it. I hope it works out well for all

    • Mika says:

      Oh cmmon. So, CC all by self wrote last two season? Just ricisoulus hate for CC. He is one of the best writer in series. He wrote triangle, the host, duane barry, paper clip, ansazi, the post modern prometheus, how the ghost stole christams, iresstible and much more great episodes. Much more then Glen and Wong. I love them, Home, Ice is briliant episode but CC has more great episodes. And blame CC is just wrong. Yes, he has flaws but i can’t se Babylon (CC wrote) this is motw episode and by Anne Simon (who is scientist on x-files) said that this episode is on of all time great. I hope that Babylon will be the post modern prometheus.

  8. Diz says:

    I’ve never seen any episode of any season. Can I jump into this & not be lost?