I was too young to watch The X-Files. My parents knew this, but thankfully they let me watch with them anyway. I’d sit on the floor between them and hope for aliens this week or supersoldiers another. I remember pretending not to be scared until after the episode was over, but sometimes I’d run to my bed, hide under the covers, and not be able to sleep for hours.
Every week, we’d do the same thing—and I loved it.
As an adult, I’ve done a full X-Files rewatch once and have seen some episodes—including but not limited to “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “Home,” and “X-Cops”—several times each. To be honest, the government and hospital stuff still kinda gives me the creeps; something about people in high positions covering up global conspiracies skeeves me out. But there will always be a place in my heart for the show. As my introduction to “adult” television with serialized plots, it singlehandedly paved the way for my future TV obsession. Without X-Files, plot-heavy shows with sci-fi elements such as Lost, Alias, and Fringe (all of which I love) wouldn’t even exist, and so for that reason I’ll be forever indebted.
When Fox announced the show would be returning for a tenth season, I naturally lost my mind. After the disappointing 2008 film I Want to Believe, which sorely lacked both aliens and closure, I thought a final season would be the mythology-heavy, classic X-Files fans have craved for over a decade.
Unfortunately for most people, it never exceeded those lofty expectations.
Months before the revival was set to air, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to New York Comic Con where they were screening the first new episode of season ten, “My Struggle.” I waited in line for four hours to ensure I got a wristband for the panel and *kisses Cigarette Smoking Man* I got in. When the classic opening theme played, the entire crowd lost it, and that high-energy excitement persisted throughout the screening of the entire episode. When cast members came out, people got really wild. Everyone felt the overwhelming positivity in that room—even Mitch Pileggi (Skinner), who was so happy that he shed a few tears.
Unfortunately, only about half of the short six-episode season felt remotely like The X-Files everyone wanted. The attempts to modernize the storylines by focusing on technology and current events mostly prevented it from feeling natural and fun. Not many fans even cared for the mythology stuff (though my roommate can attest to the fact that I was screaming and gasping throughout the entirety of the final episode, “My Struggle II,” in a good way).
When the season ended on a massive cliffhanger (hence my screaming), people wondered if there would be another season or film—and finally, on April 20, Fox announced The X-Files would be returning for a ten-episode eleventh season starting winter 2017(!!!).
Cue internal fanboying.
Despite my excitement, after the kinda (erm, very) hamfisted tenth season I have to wonder if the franchise still has legs. Bless Chris Carter for giving us X-Files in the first place, but he’s, uh, kinda getting up there in age, and it’s clear his direction was more harmful than helpful in season ten.
While I want to believe the second revival will course-correct the series and give us what we want (see: aliens, closure, and for the love of god more Smulder please), I’d rather not have my childhood memories of watching as a kid become tarnished just for more filler. Here’s hoping the truth (and the episodes we want) are indeed still out there.
Season eleven of The X-Files is scheduled to premiere in 2018.