I finished watching the new X-Files probably out of some compulsive need for completion. I like to finish things. And now, as a reward, I can write about 10 things I hated about the show.
- The Miracle Vaccine to Stop the Apocalypse. Actually, I could write down the whole episode # 6 as a complete and utter logical black hole: nothing escapes it’s event horizon, not even common sense. The episode features a plague that kick-starts the world take-over. The writers waisted 5 episodes and failed to build the plot line leading to this point, and kaboom, episode 6 – armageddon. To be fare, they mentioned that something like this is going to happen, but we were not let in on any inner workings of the plot, that is why it felt random. The worst part of this poorly paced plot development is Scully’s miraculous immunity from the plague that she received through the alien DNA. Evidently the Cigarette Man (you knew he survived, right?) implanted this DNA to save Dana for the coming new world order. Fortunately, all it takes to save the world is… the centrifuge! Scully centrifuged some of her blood and obtained enough of the vaccine to save pretty much everybody. I only wonder if Chris Carter wrote this under some ‘guy’s night out’ challenge: create a plot in under 30 seconds, because only that could justify major gaps and trite mythology.
- Agents Einstein and Miller. But Mostly Einstein. These two Scully and Mulder copycats annoyed me the minute I saw them. Miller (aka young Mulder) is underacting, and Einstein (aka Scully) is like on speed, all twitchy and over-expressive. Not to mention the ‘subtle’ hint at agent Einstein’s intellect…
- Scully falling apart. Scully was constantly complaining about the baby they gave away for adoption, and yet, why don’t I believe you, Dana? Dana Scully used to be an icon for women. She always acted, always knew what to do, and yet was fragile and compassionate. The new Dana is a whole lot less decisive as a character, and comes across a whole lot colder as an actress.
- Meet Muldoody: A Hybrid of Mulder and Moody. Fox and Hank are totally different characters. Hank is a great charachter, but he belongs in a real universe. Fox belongs in the paranormal universe, where he is a superhero. Ok, he has no cape, but he has special powers and abilities and fights the war against terrestrial and extraterrestrial villains alike. That makes him a super-hero. Even older and disillusioned, Fox would likely to turn into a book worm than an alcoholic. In fact, the way I see Mulder, he’d much likely never have a drink in his life. This would be more consistent with the character who doesn’t smoke and keeps himself in a relatively good shape. Anyway, this Moody/Mulder hybrid ruins the characterization for me.
- Tad O’Malley. This super-conservative talk-show host character had a potential, but it was more of a miss. In fact, I dedicated a whole article to this issue. It is not even so much the character that made no sense, but dragging today’s New York Times news section in the plot did not work well for the world-building; it was simply too current and too unimaginative.
- No Chemistry Between Mulder and Scully. I know they are not supposed to be together. But they still have history! However, in the 6-episode revival, there is no connection between the two, at least I did not feel it on screen. Remember, how Scully used to be like sister to Fox? Kissed him in the forehead? And Mulder turned to Dana for sanity and guidance? I honestly believe, Anderson and Duchovny should have gone to a retreat in real life and work out their issues, or at least grab some magic mushrooms together; in other words, do whatever it is necessary to create authentic atmosphere on screen.
- Gotta Have The Cliffhanger. Plot-wise, the mini-series did not get anywhere. The only takeaway is that there will be more stuff with the X-Files brand, but the show is in a terminal coma. It wasn’t before the revival, but these 6 episodes became 6 solid nails hammered in the show’s casket. Probably the worst thing that could happen to a show is when you build up for a cliffhanger, but at the end the viewer just doesn’t care.
- Too Little of Skinner and Too Much of the Smoker. Bringing back Mitch Pileggi was probably the best idea, but what did he get to do? Hardly anything. Too bad, because at least Skinner looked authentic. He remembered which show he was on, looked and sounded the part. The Smoker had more of a dramatic face-off. Literally. His face came off. It was creepy, but scary? Not really. Not scarier than Lesley Nielsen’s Dracula. “I am the most powerful man in the world!”, said the piece of a medium-rare stake with a cigarette, whose house was just broken into by a rogue FBI agent. I swear, breaking into a 7-11 would be more challenging.
- Logic-Free Zone. These 6 episodes had more ridiculous leaps of logic, than all the previous seasons and movies combined. Agent Einstein somehow procures magic mushrooms for Mulder’s whacky investigation methods. Mulder uncovers the radical Islamic terrorist group thanks to a drug-induced hallucination. More so, Mulder and Scully returned to the FBI because a handsome version of Glenn Beck wanted them to? On and on. Sloppy. A small consolation for the viewer is shirtless Mulder in semi-artistically filmed ‘hallucination’ scene. Not that it makes sense… After all, shirtless Duchovny does not have to make sense to be admired.
- For The Love Of Money. Finally, the show feels like an attempt to make fast cash and has no consideration for fans or good writing. I have read somewhere, that this season was not made for fans, but for cashing on the exclusive streaming rights. Now all the previous seasons will be streamed again, and it brings Fox a fat paycheck. Sadly, after becoming a cult classic, the show degraded to this underachieving mini-mess. The legacy is in shambles.
By Ellie Maloney
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