THE X-FILES Season Ten
We wanted to believe
released 13 June 2016 | 15 | Blu-ray/dVd Creator Chris Carter Cast david duchovny, Gillian anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B davis, lauren ambrose, robbie amell
There’s an inevitability to 2016’s X-Files revival. The cultural nostalgia machine has relentlessly cycled its way to the ’90s: BBC Four celebrates Britpop, while Hollywood mines the premillennial appeal of Independence Day and Jurassic Park. What better time to return Chris Carter’s Fortean Feds to active duty?
The title sequence alone tries to persuade us that two decades of dust hasn’t settled on our Gillian Anderson FHMs. It’s the classic set of visuals that launched the show in 1993, those monochrome FBI mug-shots freezing its stars in their iconic youth. Cutely retro or creatively lazy? It’s certainly a statement, one that places the platonic ideal of The X-Files squarely against the 21st century.
And it’s a subtly different world the show’s operating in now. Post-9/11, conspiracy’s an everyday lexicon: Snowden, false flags, Wikileaks. The Truthers are out there. We’re all Fox Mulder now. Except Fox Mulder, it seems. Opener “My Struggle” – a wordy, stilted comeback, cursed by Carter’s trademark Death By Exposition – sees him toss away a lifetime’s belief system, a change of heart so fast, so profound and so unbelievable it threatens the credibility of this entire revival.
These six episodes synthesise everything we loved and hated about The X-Files. Yes, “Mulder And Scully Meet The WereMonster” is a joy, a reminder that the show soared when it smirked, but “Babylon” is a tonal disaster zone, queasily smashing together Islam, suicide bombers and broad comedy. “Founder’s Mutation” is eerie and unsettling, but “Home Again” feels like default X-Files, for all that it engages with an intriguingly contemporary idea like a thought-form predator.
Anderson’s terrific – fully engaged, fighting to make the best of weak material. Duchovny, always detached, now seems to be in orbit, resurrecting Mulder as a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Closer “My Struggle II” sees the whole thing collapse into talky conspiracy gubbins, aiming for epic but hitting muddled. That’s true, at least, to the ultimately frustrating spirit of the show’s original run, but it’s not the kind of nostalgia you need.
Extras There are commentaries on episodes two, three and six, including contributions from Carter, Duchovny, Anderson and writer/director James Wong. The 13-part “Season X” (80 minutes) covers every aspect of the series, while “43:45” (51 minutes) does the same for episode one; both are well worth watching. You also get one deleted scene; one extended scene (more Duchovny dancing…); a ten-minute look at the old series’ cryptozoological critters; “Grace”, a post-apocalyptic short by the show’s script coordinator; a brief piece on how eco-friendly the production was; and a gag reel. Nick Setchfield
The police sketches of the Were-Monster in episode three were drawn by Gillian Anderson’s daughter, Piper.
“One day we should just turn the lights on.”