We interrupt our blogging hiatus for a quick report: I have seen the first episode of The X-Files revival, thanks to its U.S. premiere at this year’s New York Comic Con. And that means there’s no way I could not acknowledge it on this rewatch blog. We may have successfully completed rewatching the series’ original run over the summer, but as mentioned in our previous “final” post, we fully intend to come back here and write when the new episodes air. And since I’ve had the chance to check out the first episode, I’m happy to report back.
Note: This blog post will be spoiler free. However, it may refer to points that have already been brought up in various interviews with Chris Carter and company — so if you’ve been avoiding all news of the show, maybe you don’t want to read this. But I will not be delving into the events of the episode itself, so if that sounds fine to you, go ahead and read!
- The episode manages to come across as both a continuation of the series and a pilot: Mulder and Scully have moved on with their lives since we last saw them, which means there’s some exposition. Now, in all honesty, some of this exposition is a little clunky and there’s also a little melodrama thrown in. I wasn’t entirely in love with the dialogue in some areas because of these factors, but I’m not too upset considering how many years have passed since the original series finale. There’s bound to be a need to settle into things.
Speaking of continuity, this episode even manages to account for the events of I Want to Believe (well, at least somewhat), but the characters feel more natural to me here than they did in that movie. I was never quite a fan of how Scully came across in that film, so this is a plus.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t — we see new technology, as well as Mulder and Scully at different stages of their lives. But there’s still some familiar imagery, as well as some callbacks to episodes past, that help things feel like “classic X-Files.”
… and it’s amazing how simply shooting these new episodes in Vancouver helped with that “classic” feeling.
As already posted out there on the Internet, the opening credits are identical (with one tiny exception) to those from the first seven years of the show. The room was bursting with applause at this.
I felt all kinds of mixed feelings during the first half of the episode, but as it picked up more and by the time the credits rolled, I felt hopeful. I’m a little concerned the mythology (which ultimately made some accidental sense during our rewatch) may get convoluted again. But I’m eager to see how the remaining episodes, especially the standalones, come across on our TV screens.
THE PANEL DISCUSSION / WHAT WE LEARNED
Once the episode was shown to the fans, it was time for the panel to take place. Moderated by Kumail Nanjiani, the panel was a solid mix of silly and serious, featuring David Duchovny, Chris Carter and Mitch Pileggi. Audience members were giddy, with a few wondering why they were on the verge of crying while asking questions. (And there were of course at least a couple of oddball “questions” that had everyone scratching their heads). Here’s a bit of what we learned and what was further established at the panel.
On the Mulder and Scully Break in the Relationship
“We wanted to be true to the passage of time… and Mulder and Scully have had their difficulties,” Carter said. When a fan later asked if he thought Mulder and Scully were stronger than that (to much laughter from the audience), Carter simply responded that it sounded like a network note.
Mythology Episodes Are Bookends to MOTW Episodes
Previous reports had indicated that the six-episode revival would half consist of mythology episodes and half consist of Monster of the Week episodes. At the New York Comic Con panel, Carter said the first and last episodes of the season are mythology bookends. Episodes two through five are standalone episodes.
This is Season 10
When a fan brought up that the recent X-Files comics have been presented as seasons “10 and 11,” Carter — who commended the work of writer Joe Harris — said the comics were operating separately from the show. So all those references to this being the tenth season of the show are accurate, it seems.
On Settling Back Into Old Roles
“It was chunky, it was chunky style,” said Duchovny in reference to some speechifying he had to do on his first day filming. But he said he was ultimately able to find that “Mulder flow,” as the show’s one-time assistant director Barry Thomas put it.
“It felt right. It just felt right,” said Mitch Pileggi on resuming the role of Walter Skinner — a part he went on to say was at least somewhat influenced by his father, who had worked for the Department of Defense.
And Most Importantly, On Believing
“I’m a believer, I absolutely believe.” – Mitch Pileggi
“I’m a Belieber.” – David Duchovny
“I want to believe.” – Chris Carter