Over the course of its 202 episodes, The X-Files attracted many notable guest stars. Some appeared before they hit the big time (Ryan Reynolds, Jack Black, Seth Green, Felicity Huffman, Shia LaBeouf, James Franco, Jane Lynch, Bradley Whitford, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Luke Wilson, Grant Heslov, Giovanni Ribisi and Titus Welliver), while many appearances were made by people who were already legends in their own fields, with talented performers such as Lily Tomlin, Ed Asner, Michael McKean, Peter Boyle, Gary Shandling, Lance Henriksen, Roy Thinnes, Veronica Cartwright, Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman, Brad Dourif, Kathy Griffin and Ricky Jay providing some of the show’s most memorable moments. With six new episodes about to shoot for a limited series event, that prestigious list of guest stars is already expanding, with Joel McHale being the latest addition.
The plot of the brief new series remains unknown, but Deadline is reporting that McHale will play a character named Tad O’Malley, who works as the anchor of a well-known conservative news network on the internet. According to the report, O’Malley will become “an unlikely ally” for David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder. Though this detail seems minor at first glance, it is possible to deduce a number of things about this X-Files reboot from the way in which McHale’s role is described, within the wider context of the production.
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First of all, fans will be encouraged to see that this beloved series’ return seems to be striving to maintain the tone of the very best episodes of its back catalogue. With show creator Chris Carter running the project while writing and acting as executive producer, he has also confirmed the return of writers Jim Wong, and Darin Morgan.
Morgan is responsible for some of the show’s most iconic episodes, featuring notable guest stars – including Humbug with Vincent Schiavelli, the double Emmy-winning Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose with Peter Boyle, The War Of The Coprophages with Tyler Labine and Jose Chung’s From Outer Space with Jesse Ventura. Casting Community star Joel McHale in episodes written by Darin Morgan is a recipe for excellence.
Secondly, viewers will recall that The X-Files was always at its best when it delivered an effective balance between drama and comedy – and that all revolved around the chemistry between the leads, Duchovny and Anderson, and the chemistry they subsequently had with their guest stars.
Setting the very tall, very deadpan Joel McHale up as a pundit-style foil for the very tall, very deadpan David Duchovny – within the framework of a Darin Morgan X-File – is potentially brilliant. In fact, if you listen very closely, you can almost hear Mulder using the name ‘Tad’ with his signature contempt and sarcasm.
Alongside Duchovny, Anderson and Joel McHale, series regulars Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis are also confirmed as returning. Shooting is about to begin for a January 24th, 2016 premiere date, so more casting news may well be imminent. If such announcements continue in the same vein, The X-Files reboot will not disappoint.