The following is based on “My Struggle.” I haven’t seen the second episode yet.
Two decades ago, before “Winter is coming” and superhero shows (on network TV and Netflix), science fiction fans bemoaned The X-Files’s lack of audience. Fox supported it, it stuck around, and it found an audience outside speculative-fiction-fan circles (and got some critical love, too).
The X-Files brought “mytharc” into everyday conversations. It had abducted sisters who returned years later—or did they? There was black oil, and shady characters with descriptors like “Well-Manicured Man” and “Cigarette Smoking/Cancer Man.” At the center was Dr. Dana Scully, the skeptical scientist, and Fox Mulder, who just wanted to believe, even when everyone tried to gaslight him on all sides.
But Chris Carter never got a handle on the show’s mythology. David Duchovny left, and the T-1000 replaced him. Well-Manicured Man blew up. The latter seasons were uneven, as were the movies. (But we got Burt Reynolds as God, so, hey, it wasn’t all bad.)
Season 10 resets the mythology. That can be expected; the X-Files have been closed for 13 years. The world—and the characters—have changed a great deal since then. It makes sense that Krycek expy Tad O’Malley is an Internet news anchor. Web 2.0 has launched a billionty conspiracies, after all.
What’s most interesting about The X-Files’s return is its major swerve. Mulder’s ready to declare everything a lie, denouncing all of the convoluted conspiracy theories he once espoused. The mythology of the first nine seasons turned out to be a jumbled mess. With a six-episode season, the mythology will hopefully be a lot stronger and a lot less unwieldy than before the show’s reboot. Perhaps we’ll finally get the capital-T Truth along with Mulder and Scully.
[Crossposted at http://plumedeomnomnom.tumblr.com/.]