One episode was provided prior to broadcast.
“You’re nearly there. You’re close.” Those are two lines spoken to Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) towards the end of The X-Files‘ new miniseries reboot on Fox, and it’s hard to stop yourself from whispering them of your own volition to the show as it decides to (finally) reveal some truths about that all-encompassing alien conspiracy, but with only sporadic touches of escapist fun. To start off the new run, creator Chris Carter ditches the self-contained tangent of the divisive second film and conjures up a couple of semi-convoluted reasons for Mulder and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to get back into the paranormal-busting game.
As a result, the first of the six-episode event series goes by at a breakneck speed; Mulder and Scully have to reunite, deal with their issues, meet paranoid news anchor Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale), get embroiled in an alien abduction case, discover the truth, and set up the domino line of events that may finally lead to the world discovering the truth about that alien conspiracy. Reboots such as The X-Files sometimes have to risk the possibility of exhaustion to create something truly mesmerizing, and as a passive fan of the show who grew up in a time of re-runs and the two lone films, I found it a curious combination of both.
It’s been 14 years since the government closed The X-Files branch and Mulder and Scully are essentially exactly where you think they will be – he’s still a firm believer in the paranormal and willing to get sucked back in to finally uncover the truth behind the show’s big conspiracy, and she’s back in the medical field, changed by the events of earlier seasons but okay with putting them behind her for good. When an overly suspicious news anchor gets in contact with Mulder, he pulls Scully back into the fold to investigate the case of a scared young woman named Sveta (Annet Mahendru) with ties to The X-Files’ past, who claims her unborn babies were stolen by aliens.
It’s a lot to take in within barely a 15 minute time-frame, full of flashing news coverage and headlines and real footage retrofitted with the series’ classic the truth is out there motives. But it works, for the most part, especially for a show which could have easily crumbled into a self-aggrandizing mess after all these years. There’s life and energy to these characters yet, thanks mostly to Duchovny and Anderson, who couldn’t lack chemistry if they tried. Mulder is still the want-to-believe smart aleck counterbalance to Scully’s stern scion of integrity; when the two discuss how old they are, or how long The X-Files have been closed, or how the world has changed in the interim, you’ll either smile or roll your eyes.