‘The X-Files’ Miniseries’ Review Roundup

January 25, 2016

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return in The X-Files’ miniseries, reprising their iconic roles as Dana Scully and Fox Mulder as the classic 1990s show is back on television for the first time since 2002. Has it been worth the long wait? TV critics are having their say and you can see a roundup of reviews right here.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny

Yes, it is back, after much hope, expectation and more than a bit of hype. The original series, created by Chris Carter, ran for nine seasons on Fox from 1993 to 2002. And, as sometimes happens, the show became more than a show, and entered the hallowed halls of pop culture as an enormous fan base grew over time, much as we’ve seen with other such classic shows, notably the original ‘Star Trek’ series on TV which, over decades has gone through many iterations and spawned new characters and generations.

Well, we’re not at the multi-generational phase with ‘The X Files’ as it’s been just 14 years since the show was last on the air. And thankfully, both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and the famous chemistry between them which has fueled the fervor and devotion of fans as much as the labyrinth of conspiracies and mysteries the series has explored.

Well, it’s not a full season. It’s a six-episode miniseries on Fox. It’s been a long 14 years for fans of the show, who have had two feature films in the meantime, but even that’s been a long time ago, as ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ opened in theaters nearly eight years ago. But this time around, no need to visit the local theater, as this reboot of the franchise is back were it first began.

The last event of any such magnitude wasn’t even on the screen, big or small, but was the 20th anniversary celebration of the show in New York City at the Paley Center, as well as online, via a Reddit AMA, a couple of years ago, when speculation on a third movie was at an all-time high.

Now two years later, six television hours will play out, and, when that ends, once again, we’re up in the air. But for now, ‘The X-Files’ is back. And for some, it’s going to be an all-new series.

Here’s what the critics are saying. But first, a caveat, there may be spoilers in this roundup, so proceed (or not) accordingly!

“….X-Files fans have waited a long, long time to see Fox Mulder and Dana Scully team up again to investigate paranormal activity. But “My Struggle,” the premiere which aired Sunday, January 24 on Fox, was far from the show’s best work. Written and directed by creator Chris Carter, the jumbled hour was enough to cause many critics—including myself—to wish Fox had never rebooted the series in the first place. But after some critical outcry, Fox released two additional episodes for review and the good news is, X-Files fans, it gets much better…..” a href=”http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/01/x-files-my-struggle-recap-darin-morgan-gets-better” target=”_blank”>Vanity Fair

“”…. As deftly as Duchovny and Anderson are able to slip back into their characters, so to is the setting able to go back to its roots, while also incorporating scenarios that have played out in the real world during the show’s absence, to make the sense of conspiracy that much stronger. Series’ stalwarts such as Agent Skinner at the FBI make their returns, and new characters — such as Joel McHale as a Fox News-style Televangelist — reflect our current time period, and bring something new to the mix. Again, this miniseries seems like it will make fans of the original series happy, as it is a return to form on nearly every level…..” – Collider

“….It seems that the truth at the end of this new, six-episode miniseries on Fox is that the X-Files closed a long time ago. It’s apparently painful to try to bring them back. I hope I am proven wrong; I have only seen the first three episodes of the new series, which premieres on Sunday. The next three episodes could very well be mind-blowing television. Again, I want to believe. But if that’s the case, the miniseries has a lot of work to do…..” — Ars Technica

“….Overall, the episode was moderately satisfying in that it had the familiar feel of a brief visit with old friends, but the format, being spaced out over a longer period with little episodic satisfaction probably would have lent itself better to a service like Netflix. It was engaging enough that if I had the opportunity to watch more right now I definitely would, but at the moment I’m left feeling like I was offered one potato chip before having the bag whisked away, it tastes good but it wasn’t enough…..” – Big Shiny Robot

“….As far as first episodes go, “My Struggle” is better than most. The exposition that has to cover nearly 25 years of all things Mulder and Scully is as organic as can be managed, and the killer chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson that powered the series long past what might have been an expiration date is back with a crackling vengeance. The actors effortlessly slip back into the roles that made them famous so that even the weaker points of the plot aren’t particularly objectionable. It’s a solid installment with enough scale and spectacle as to be worth of all of the hype…..” — Cinema Blend

“….It’s a shame that a show that once dealt so well with symbols of cultural anxiety has retreated into trying to figure out how to fit aliens into the modern consciousness. The point of The X-Files was never the aliens, not really; it was the inexplicable phenomena of ordinary life, the feeling you never quite knew your neighbors or your own family as well as you might like, that the world was even stranger than you had imagined. The humdrum components of paranormal activity were what made Mulder and Scully’s adventures so rich and resonant….” –The Verge

It’s clear that, as always, much of what is said reflects more upon the critic than what’s on the small screen. This is, after all, a revival that’s fraught with expectation and hopes for fans, and for newcomers, a chance to get caught up and perhaps to discover for themselves what the fuss has been about all these years. The future, of course, is up in the air but for now we have ‘The X-Files’ miniseries.

Pictures: PR Photos

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