The X-Files: Review: Series 10 Episode 1: My Struggle

XFiles 10.1AD Skinner puts Scully and Mulder in touch with Ted O’Malley, who believes he has discovered the shocking truth behind alien abductions…

Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled by the excellent characterisation and plotting in Joe Harris’ scripts for IDW’s The X-Files Season 10 (and now 11) comics, but this first episode of the X-Files revival falls down very badly. It doesn’t help that – bar the odd moment – David Duchovny seems disengaged with the process, or that Gillian Anderson is sporting an unusually poor wig for Scully. Nor does the trite quality of the dialogue draw you in: it feels as if both Mulder and Scully are talking in clichés, with the show’s catchphrases trotted out as if they are some form of mantra. The pre-credits “previously on” synopsis gets things off on the wrong foot: at least one key character who appears in the episode doesn’t get a mention…

If you want an X-Files fan fiction episode, with Mulder latching on to a new “truth” and Scully being the sceptic as ever, then chances are you’ll love this. The scenes set at Roswell work best and I wish we’d had more of them, but the story seems determined to reset The X-Files to ignore half the revelations that we got during the series – not least those delivered by the Cigarette Smoking Man at the end of the final episode! If you were rebooting the series – which frankly, I think would have been a better option based on this episode – then the backstory that Mulder discovers (by some form of osmosis – I’m really not sure how he gets to some of the deductions he makes… although I guess that’s nothing new!) would make more sense. (That sentence was deliberately convoluted in homage to some of the monologues that Duchovny has to spout in this episode.)

In an odd way, it feels as if this could have been produced the season after the final episode aired: it’s deliberately old-fashioned in style, and Mulder still singularly fails to use his cellphone camera to capture the evidence he needs. As a long time fan (and one of the few people to visit the show when it was still filming in Vancouver nearly 20 years ago!) I’ll stick with it… but please let this retcon of all we loved about the show not hold water…

Verdict: Convoluted, often illogical, and often unengaging, this isn’t the triumphant return this fan at least had hoped for. 5/10

Paul Simpson

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