The X-Files 2016 Episode 1 Review

Thank you on demand cable – today I caught up on the two part premiere of the brand new X-Files Season 10. And may I say I was pleasantly surprised that The X-Files reboot delivered everything I wanted.

Let me backtrack a bit. Back when the X-Files premiered in 1993, it quickly became my favorite TV show ever. I have always been a sci-fi paranormal weird stuff geek. My mom took me to see Chariots Of The Gods when it was first released in theaters, although I was so very young at the time that I do not recall if I asked to see it or if she just took me cause SHE wanted to watch it. I know I had a copy of the book purchased at a rummage sale at school that I treasured. Later, In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy was my favorite thing on television. Yep, I was I was a nerd.

Thanks to a million channels on cable these days, I have my fill of geektacular shows like Ancient Aliens, Hanger One brought to you by MUFON, Finding Bigfoot, Monster Quest, UFO Files and various other programs featuring cryptic creatures, little green men and enough paranormal fodder to please and delight my inner child several times a week. But I digress.

Back to the original X-Files. Every episode was an event, every new season a celebration. When it aired on Friday nights, my geek friends and I planned our nights around Mulder and Scully; watch the new episode then out to the club to drink, dance and discuss in great detail just how awesome tonight’s episode was. The monsters and freaks are as fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday… Fluke Boy, Dark Matter, Eve 6, that old man with the dog, the circus episode… and The Lone Gunmen! Gawd, they were the best geek trio in all history of history. We had no on demand or dvr back then. We taped the shows on VCRs so we could watch the latest ep again and hit the rewind button. And we liked it.

But then, in the last couple of seasons, the shippers won. Fox and Dana, kissing and being all romantic; the mythology part of the series weaved it’s way into romance and for me, the X-Files lost it’s luster. It was quite distressing, feeling that distance growing between my favorite show and me. I felt an actual loss when I decided to stop watching. No more VCR, no more discussions with my friends. I was genuinely sad.

But wait. Fast forward that old VCR to today. As Season Ten Episode One began, Chris Carter made a brilliant decision… the music was the same, and the opening credits were identical, right down to the fonts on the screen. A part of me was transported back to the 1990’s and I smiled. It’s true, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully have aged a bit – haven’t we all – but they looked good. As the episode progressed, I felt like I was catching up with old friends, the kind of friends that you drifted apart from not because of anything bad but just because your interests changed. But it didn’t matter anymore, you were hanging out again and it was just fun.

The references to Mulder and Scully’s romantic past and child together were a bit of a broken eye roll for me, being that the Shipper stuff is why I drifted away back then. Oh well, whatever. It was fun seeing Walter Skinner (who hasn’t aged a bit) and The Smoking Man, and I enjoyed the up to the minute social references like Mulder showing up in an Uber car and that You-tube guy and his conspiracy theories about the government. When they touched on how different today’s world was now because of 9/11 I got a bit of a lump in my throat. That day affected me deeply. I threw away all of my VCR tapes, including the X-File copies, long ago, but somewhere upstairs I still have a tape of the short lived spin off Lone Gunmen show episode in March 2001 where they thwart a plot to fly a plane into the World Trade Center. Six months later 9/11 happened and I used that Lone Gunmen tape to record some of that day. I don’t even have a VCR anymore but still I keep that tape, with that episode and what happened after.

Anyway, so far I find The X-Files 2016 to be a refreshing and successful reunion with a television show that brought me such pleasure back in the day. I’m hoping the numbers are good enough that we might get more than just the initial six episodes. While clicking around to get to it today, the on demand channel was broadcasting sneak peeks of the upcoming season and for people like me, apparently there will be stand alone episodes with “monsters” and a funny episode, sprinkled in with the mythology. I’m good with that. No, The X-Files Season 10 is not a shiny new toy like Season 1 was. This is a comfortable old sweater, a favorite book you’ve read a million times, that familiar meal you order in the restaurant. Not everything needs to be shiny and new all the time, and if handled well, that old sweater can be just as nice as a new version. This new X-Files feels like coming home.

Hello Old Friend

I ran into an old friend Friday.

I stopped by my favorite used book store after work, hoping to stock up on paper backs before the winter cold settles in. I make my way to the science fiction section way in the back, scan the shelves, picking my way past fantasy, dragons, fairies and the more hard core SF novels that are all too often series now, too long to bother with. Then my eye lands on a single slim spine, tucked away on the bottom shelf, as Silverberg usually is when filed alphabetically.

Time Of The Great Freeze by Robert Silverberg 

“Oh my gosh. Hello!”

I quickly plucked the book from it’s neighbors and held it in a death grip, even though the backroom was vacant except for me. And I smiled.

This story was my first Silverberg and I’m fairly certain it was my first post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi experience. I was eight or nine at the time. I close my eyes and can see myself pulling it, in hardback, from among the stacks of books in the Public Library. The world is covered in ice! People living under cities for hundreds of years! Breaking free!

I didn’t want to take it back to the Library when I was done.

Over the years, I have often thought back to this short juvenile novel that made such an impression on my psyche. Even when a story ends, the characters can remain alive in memory. I have read many more Silverberg novels over the years, and loads more SF by many more authors, Heinlein settling in as my all time favorite long ago. This may not have been Silverberg’s best, nor was it my favorite novel among my favorite genre, yet it remains special. Something about it lit a spark that has never gone out. And I was so happy to stumble across it again by accident. Sometimes we find what we need when we aren’t looking.

The printing is 1971, and it’s in remarkable shape for being over 40 years old. I sniff and look around to see if I have been caught; it smells just the way a proper old paperback book should; woody, earthy, dusty and ever so slightly sweet. I open the book, breath in the muskiness, and am transported back. “It was late in the day – or what passed for day in the underground city of New York.”

Hello Old Friend.