The X-Files: I Want to Belittle (Warning—Vitriol Ensues)

Is anyone else as worried about this new X-Files restart as I am? People all over the internet and social media are talking about it excitedly like it’s the greatest thing to happen since Betty White (who I’ve recently learned is older than sliced bread.) Now don’t get me wrong, The X-Files was a pretty great show back in the day, but it tanked at the end. More concerning to me than the show’s lukewarm final seasons, was that last movie they did. The very last X-Files memory I have is of a WTF film filled with the worst kinds of gay stereotypes, and homo- and transphobia. I loved the X-Files and that movie broke my heart. (I would say more about this but I have written an actual critical article on the subject so I’ll let you read that when it gets published. It’s all about the film trope of representing gays as monsters and then killing them.)

So, once again, something I love from SF is getting an unneeded ass-polishing. That’s a new word I just invented. Ass-polishing. It basically means spending a lot of time shining something old up for public presentation that does not need any shining or presentation. (You were warned about the vitriol.) To be clear, I am a fan of the X-Files. I watched the show every week when it was on the air. I read the fan fiction. I had a bit fat crush on Anderson. The original series (at least the first six seasons) was awesome. Some of the greatest moments in SF television were on that show. Who could forget the vampire episode with Luke Wilson, the visual splendor of Peter Boyle as Clyde Bruckman, or Alex Trebek as a man in black in “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”? Seriously, the show rocked—aliens, humor, creep-factor, watching-it-with-no-lights-on-I-hope-the-smoking-man’s-in-this-one. (I now owe the Barenaked Ladies royalties.) Then it took a big dump. I was still hanging on in season seven, but eight and nine? Studio contract issues with Duchovny aside, the storytelling was basically Fonzie in a swimsuit with a great white. There’s jumping the shark, and then there’s beating a dead horse.

So, not only was that last peep from Chris Carter and Co. a stereotype-ridden crap-o-rama, but stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are thirteen years older now. Admittedly, Anderson looks great. Duchovny’s doing okay, though he’s looking a bit more haggard than Anderson these days. Too much porn, I’m guessing. They’ve both been involved in other projects for years—is Anderson giving up on The Fall in order to bring us a . . .what do we even call this thing? A rehash? A do-over? We can’t call it a reboot because it’s got the same actors reprising the same roles. Why is everyone so pumped for this show’s return? How will this show be anywhere near as good as what we fell in love with two decades ago, especially if they’re just going to rehash the same monster scripts and alien paranoia? Also, didn’t they answer all the questions the first time around? Spoiler Alert: The government is covering up the existence of extra-terrestrials.

I just can't suspend my disbelief to the degree that I can buy in to the idea of Mulder and Scully still toiling away in the basement of FBI HQ in DC after all these years. At some point they would have been promoted, fired, shot, beamed away by aliens, or otherwise escorted from the building. Will the writers actually create a period story where it’s still the 1990s? That could be interesting but would relegate the story to a monster-of-the-week formula…which brings me back to my earlier concern—using the monsters to represent marginalized people. Also, that craptastic movie opened with Mulder and a very pregnant Scully in bed together, so the romantic tension is gone, girl.

In summation, this proposed rehash of The X-Files seems like a spurious idea at best and a poorly conceived cash grab at worst, but I’ll probably still watch it, even if it’s just so I have something to b!tch about later.