Recently, I had a little mini-rant about the new X-Files movie. Basically, I’ve not been particularly excited about the prospect of a new X-Files movie because the last one wasn’t very good.
But, I like to keep an open mind. I used to be a HUGE fan of the X-Files. I mean, back in the day, it was the show you simply did not miss. If you weren’t going to be home, you had to have the old VCR set to record it or otherwise risk missing some important bit of information that might reveal a new secret or open up a whole new series of questions. This weekend, a little bit of nostalgia mixed with some curiosity driven by a good portion of the websites that I like to visit, blogs I like to read, all talking quite excitedly about the new movie, caused me to dig through an old pile of tapes to try and find the old X-Files episodes I’d purchased a long time ago.
Wow. Talk about a trip down memory lane.
September of 1993. I was three years out of high school, working for my Uncle and pretending that I cared about college. I remember there were a lot of specials on television about UFO’s and paranormal activity and for a time, I was into it all. That’s when The X-Files came onto the scene and it was so well done, so different, it really hit the spot. You had UFO’s, you had conspiracy theories, mysterious government agents, the Lone Gunmen and the cigarette smoking man to name just a few. Plus, that theme music was just so creepy!!
I actually found several tapes I’d purchased, so I dug through them and found the first. It had the the pilot episode, the ‘first’ episode and a surprise that I’d completely forgotten about – interviews with Chris Carter, creator of the show. Watching that interview, hearing him speak about the pilot episode, I recalled why I liked the show so much when it first came on.
He’d fashioned it as his answer to ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’, a show I’d managed to catch only in late night reruns on the local independent tv station (The rebooted version of it done just a couple of yeas ago was cool and should’ve been given more of a chance by the network imho). He wanted it to be creepy, to scare us and it had scared me and thrilled me. Mulder was the believer, Scully the skeptic and we were all along for the ride. It was dark and gritty, set in the real world with real people and that made it relatable. It hooked you and kept you coming back week after week.
As I started to watch the pilot, the first time I’d seen it in probably ten years, it all came back to me; trying to figure out the subplots, who this one was or who that one worked for – that sort of thing. In the pilot, Scully is assigned to work with ‘Spooky’ Mulder, an FBI agent who is ‘obsessed with cases outside the norm’. She’s supposed to work with him but report on his actions. They set to investigating the deaths of four kids, all from the same graduating class, who disappeared in the woods only to return with strange marks on their bodies, and odd, foreign objects implanted within their noses. One by one, they start dying, which is why it lands on Mulder’s radar.
Everything I liked about the show was right there in that pilot: Mulder’s unwavering belief that there’s something more going on out there, Scully’s insistence that there has to be a plausible explanation – it was all so well done, so well written and acted.
But even after all of that, I still don’t know that I’m ready or willing for a new movie. The last one left such a bad taste in my mouth. What I’ve read about it so far says that it’s a ‘stand alone’ tale, that you don’t even need to be a fan of the show to enjoy it. That alone makes me worry. I watched for ten years as Rick Berman and his private army tried again and again to ‘change’ Star Trek, to make it appeal to a broader audience by taking away the core of it and alienating the fan base that had kept it alive and thriving for so long. I wonder if something like the X-Files, off the air and out of mind for so long, can reconnect with a new movie?
I don’t know if I’ll goto see the movie or not, but I’m at least trying to keep an open mind about it. Maybe it will appeal to a braoder audience, maybe it won’t. Maybe there’s still enough fans of the show out there to make it a success – who knows?
The only thing I do know is this: If it’s a good story, it’ll probably be worth checking out.