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

X-Files Revival Review Premiere

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]

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