Monkey TV Review – X Files (Ep. 1 & 2)

The X-files continuation or reboot or restart (or whatever) of six brand new episodes started with one on Sunday, January 24 followed by one on Monday, January 25 – which will be the shows normal slot.  Rumors have already started that Fox has ordered a full set of episodes for the next season.

The Monkey being a huge X-files fan, I was really stoked when I heard the announcement of this new set of episodes.  Then as the hype grew and grew, I started worrying.  Having been through the ridiculous (reee-dic-you-lous!!) hype regarding Star Wars VII and then being at least a little let down by the actual movie, I became concerned.

I watched the original series, every show, up until Dochovny left and was replaced by stinky John Doggett.  Just wasn’t the same show, and when Scully suddenly became the new Fox Mulder, believing in the UFO coverup, etc. it was much too much to bear.

I saw both movies, the first one (Fight the Future) and even the less-than-great second one (I Want to Believe).

This ape is a King-Kong-sized fan of the series.

In preparation for the show, and to bring my teenage daughter up to speed on the series, we watched just the episodes that were about the myth of X-files.  Admittedly we did sneak in a few fun episodes, like the one about the Vampires living in a trailer park with the recounting of the story from both Fox and Dana’s perspective.  But when we watched just the UFO conspiracy stories, the story they pieced together were disappointing.  Chris Carter (and sometimes Frank Spotnitz) in these episodes weaved a confusing plot.  Was it a coverup? Or was it a coverup of a coverup?  Were there aliens?  Or did the Department of Defense want you to think there were aliens when really there was one alien and the govt wanted to experiment with crossing alien DNA with human DNA?  And was Smoking Man Fox’s father?  And is Fox’s sister alive?  Was she abducted? Or was she adopted by Smoking Man? On and on, these myth episodes were not consistent, hard to follow, and often contradicted each other.

Sooooo…. with this new set of episodes beginning with the myth of the conspiracy, I would soon know if any new information was to be presented and if the story line would be more cogent and cohesive.

WARNING – SPOILERS – WARNING !

So here’s a quick take on my thoughts on the first two episodes, titled  “My Struggle” and “Founder’s Mutation” (which I watched back to back):

  • “My Struggle” was depressing and confusing:
    • They did a nice job explaining to the average viewer the “deal” about the X-files; what it was, what it is now.  Rehash for me, but otherwise done nicely.
    • Man, everyone looks older.  Gillian Anderson looks great (45 years old) but has lost weight and is in good shape, which makes her face angular and rigid.  David Duchovny is 55 years old and when wearing sunglasses, he looks great.  Take them off and you see the weariness and age in his eyes. Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) looked okay, but his beard is scraggly and grey.  Aging stinks, my fellow carbon-based life forms.
    • The story was confusing.  Joel McHale was not the right actor for the character he was supposed to portray.  They bring in a young girl named Sveta and then kill her off.  Played by Annet Mahendru, she was a remarkable actress and they killed her off!
    • We get to see UFO technology developed by the US.  We get to see the UFO that crashed at Roswell.  We get to see an alien riddled with bullets by 1940’s MP’s.  Nice that they avoided using CGI.
    • In summary, this episode seemed pointless.  Lots of ideas and characters were started and then blown up or killed off.
    • Duchovny’s acting was stiff.  Anderson was a little better.
    • Did I mention McHale was miscast?  And Dana was responding to his flirtatious forthcomings?  Please.
    • I did like the way the episode jumped back and forth in time.
  • “Founders Mutation” was better:
    • The initial shock at the aging that had occurred had worn off.
    • The story was better, more like your traditional X-files episode.
    • Mulder and Scully had some of that magic again; the writing was better.
    • There was a hint at alien DNA and Scully’s DNA, and Mulder and Scully’s love-child that was given up for adoption at a very young age.
    • But the mutations of the children reminded me too much of an X-men comic book.  Special powers given to humans due to genetic mutation.  Okay, I guess.
    • Smoking Man still smoking?  Through a tube in his neck?  Nice touch.
    • Mulder propositioned by a gay man who misunderstood his advances? Alright.
    • Very graphically violent.  A baby/fetus reaching out of the belly of a woman who had just cut herself open.  Yikes.
    • So it was a better directed, better acted more cohesive episode.

The improvement in the second episode says that there’s hope for the following ones.

The next episode is more of a self-contained creature feature.  I noticed in the preview that Scully says things like “it’s good to get back to chasing monsters” or something that’s a wink toward the audience.  I hope they don’t keep “winking” and just get back to the exceptional story telling and acting that made the series so great.

Side note:  Due to the Panthers-Cardinals game going long, my DVR didn’t record the first episode on Sunday.  Thus I resorted to using the Fox iPad app and Apple Airplay to view the episode.  Every 12 minutes or so I was subjected to 3 minutes of commercials.  Towards the second half of the show, the only commercial that played was one for the Fox TV show “Empire”. The SAME commercial, three times in a row, and then again three times after the next 12 minutes.  Thanks Fox Broadcasting, nice job.  By the end of the show, my daughter and I were mouthing the words of the commercial.

 

 

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