The X-Files is in my eyes the best television drama to come out in the past twenty years, or ever. We all know the story…. but why does it move us so much? I think it is because of two things. First, the interaction of the two leads, not just in terms of acting, but character. Mulder is a fundamental believer, backed up by being one of the smarter characters I’ve ever seen on TV, razor sharp. Scully is the same only steeped in skepticism. Watching the struggle is beautiful, and we forgive and even love the show for erring to Mulder’s side because these things could be real and they are so much more interesting.
The show was perfect… pretty much. I do not find the Daget episodes nearly as interesting, even though I think Robert Patrick is a good actor.What about the movie?
In the X-Files there are two kinds of episode: the conspiracy episode and the monster-of-the-week episode. They either went further into the US government conspiracy to cover up UFOs or they had a new mutant or alien or psychic or some other form of monster appear, usually kill, and then die conveniently at the end. It is highly debatable which types of episodes produces the best shows. I really think that even though the monster of the week story angle seems stale that the way they did it was so pitch perfect that it only added to the overall atmosphere by the time it was done.
The conspiracy angle was just as compelling if not more so. The smoking man in the background, the shadowy men in black, the aliens themselves far behind the scenes… Mulder always trying to make contact, to find that point where he would break through. To either find out everything about the aliens or reveal the proof of their existence to the public became everything. I think the hope that Mulder would achieve this drove a lot oft hose episodes and that this is a good thing… Maybe toward the end it felt hopeless but I’m not sure it ever did, the show was that good.
The first movie adaptation was in my opinion good. It has been awhile since I saw it but I do think it brushed up against very good status. It went with the conspiracy angle and did it very well, getting you caught up in the possibilities of holocaust and revelation all at the same time. I still think much of the show had that little extra something that perhaps this film lacked, but it was certainly good enough for me to give it another shot and I certainly think I might end up changing my mind about it.
This new film is supposedly going to go with the “monster of the week” approach and this is obviously very controversial among the fans. I have read numerous discussions on the subject and there is no consensus. Some say that those episodes were just as good and many times better and that it has been too long off a layoff for us to be emotionally invested in the conspiracy storyline anymore. Those arguing against it say the conspiracy storyline is what drove the series and that if there are a limited number of movies done, it should be on this issue so it can finally be settled forever-maybe. Then the monster of the week advocates say their type of film will get a huge gross and ensure more chances for conspiracy sequels. And so on and so forth.
My opinion? It’s obviously a tough one, but I guess I think the monster of the week could work, and the notion of it grossing well is probably true. I’m a big fan of the X-Files and I think that they should definitely revisit the conspiracy storyline again or tie that in with the monster of the week concept as they did with the shapeshifter invader aliens. There was the perfect example of a killing threat with larger implications.
I am looking forward to the second film. I think last time the fact that they were still doing the show sort of overshadowed one inconclusive two hour episode and led to disappointment. Now that problem has been removed entirely and we are free to remind ourselves of just how epic the emotions triggered by their technique and storylines are… It is like rekindling childhood imagination.
I’ll go see the sequel. I think it will probably make good money, around twenty five million opening weekend and eighty total domestic. But it could do better than that and I would be shocked if it did worse. I think they have a shot to do something special here so it will be interesting to see if they can still do on the big screen what happens on the small screen weekly on the X-Files reruns. That show has only gotten better in syndication same as Seinfeld for comedy and that is a reminder that this is certainly worthy of a bigger venue. Can’t wait to see it.