In a few weeks filming will begin on six new episodes of The X-Files. The mini-series of new adventures of Mulder and Scully will be broadcast on Fox starting next January.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this, really. Any good TV series that goes off the air is capable of being reintroduced years — in the case of The X-Files, more than a decade — after the network run ended, so long as the actors who played the main characters haven’t kicked the bucket. TV shows spawn movies, and movies spawn TV shows. They are working on a Galaxy Quest TV show based on the classic 1999 movie, and planning another version of Celebrity Deathmatch. Old ideas, characters, and settings get recycled, and the writers and producers hope they can connect with new viewers while not offending the diehard fans who want the new to stay true to the old.
The X-Files is a classic example of the challenges presented by this exercise in threading the needle. The original show ran from 1993 to 2002 and was fresh, interesting, and delightfully creepy; it was one of the first adult shows we let Richard watch, and I always hoped he wouldn’t be permanently scarred or haunted by his exposure to people with black oil in their eyes or serially inbred families. The early years of the team of by-the-book Dana Scully and true believer Fox Mulder and their encounters with the paranormal and sprawling governmental conspiracies were brilliant, distinctive and memorable.
But the show seemed to lose steam, and then there were X-Files movies, too. Where did the plot line leave off? I can’t remember — are Mulder and Scully married now? Is The Lone Gunman still around? What about Skinner? I’m betting that I’m not alone in not remembering everything that happened in a series that ended 13 years ago and a movie that also sees like it came out long ago. I need a refresher course.
I want to believe — just remind me what it is I’m supposed to believe, will you?