The X-Files Return Was a Mess, But It’s Nice to Have It Back

By  · Published on January 25th, 2016

Welcome to Last Night on TV, our new daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next morning.

Editor’s Note: Since The X-Files was really the only big draw last night, Alisha Grauso is here with a review of the pilot. Neil will return tomorrow with thoughts on Monday night’s slate, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Lucifer, Superstore and Supergirl. It’ll be super, devilish and crazy.

The X-Files

Alright, so, I have to admit…the pilot episode of The X-Files revival was a bit of a clunky mess. But it was a mess for the fans, and, 14 years later, we love it still. This pilot was never really about “good” or ‘bad”, but about the return of a cultural touchstone that has shaped so much of our modern TV culture today. A chance to wipe the bad taste from our mouths left behind by the last two seasons of The X-Files, a chance for Fox Mulder and Dana Scully to take the reins back.

I must confess: I saw the pilot not on a TV screen last night, but sitting in a theater full of X-Files fans on Friday. One of the coolest moments of my life was when the first few notes of the iconic theme song started playing and the entire theater erupted in cheers with one die-hard fan shouting, “I STILL BELIEVE!”, a decade and a half of pent-up love finally being unleashed. So yes, the pilot was a bit of a mess, but it didn’t even matter. By the way, a tip of the hat to Chris Carter & co. for keeping the original credit sequence, right down to the FBI badges that agents Mulder and Scully wore.

And the pilot was definitely for the fans. It wasted no time in jumping right in where the original show had left off – not in the story itself; quite a few years have passed between then and now. Mulder and Scully have fallen in love, had a child together, and separated. Someone uninitiated to the world of The X-Files still could have watched it and followed along. But in the wackjob crazy elements, the audience was thrown right into the deep end. Don’t believe in conspiracy theories? Too implausible? Too corny? Too batshit insane? Well, too damn bad, because that’s where the pilot went. It didn’t have time to hold your hand and walk you through the finer points of the alien cover up/government conspiracy mythos. Either you believed or you didn’t, and the pilot was absolutely for the true believers. There is no baseline reality; it can always get weirder. That’s the truth of the X-Files and it was just as true as ever in the pilot.

With so much time having passed from the original series ending until now, I can forgive the pilot for getting off to a bit of a rough start. I imagine it will get stronger from here on out, now that it has reestablished the story and characters.The second episode, “Founder’s Mutation,” looks to get away from the larger mythos and should be more streamlined. But in the end, it didn’t matter for the pilot. Mulder and Scully and the whole damn crew were back and that was more than enough for me.

What did you watch last night?

Happy little nerd in a world made of words. | Editor-at-large: Moviepilot | Writer: Forbes, Marvel, and Film School Rejects | Contributor: Birth.Movies.Death.