THE X-FILES Sea­son Ten

We wanted to be­lieve

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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.”

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