Let me tell y'all about my relationship with The X-Files.
I was already an SF/F fangirl by the time Mulder and Scully first showed up on our screens in 1993, so I can't exactly say that it was the first show I ever fangirled. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, MacGyver, and Remington Steele all beat The X-Files to that particular punch. But that said, it was arguably the first show I fangirled as an adult out of college, doing double duty with Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman to seize our household's attention that year.
And boy howdy, did our household, the Murkworks, love us some X-Files. We'd happily sing the lyrics we discovered to the theme song ("the X-Files is a show / with music by Mark Snow"), and my housemate Mimi and I in particular totally swooned for Mulder. The first two seasons in particular were amazing, and to this day, a particular plot reveal in second season holds the record (along with a later plot reveal in Babylon 5) for how long a plot point on TV has ever reduced me to amazed, babbling incoherence.
(Season closer of season 2, "Anasazi". When the Smoking Man shows up on a certain doorstep. I boggled for twenty straight minutes over that. It was awesome.)
As we got further into the show, though, it became apparent that no matter how much we wanted there to be an overall plot arc, there wasn't really. The mytharc episodes kept dropping so many tantalizing hints that nevertheless failed to pull together into a cohesive narrative--particularly after the first movie, Fight the Future, which showed up between seasons 5 and 6. Once that movie happened, my household all felt as if the stakes had been upped considerably, and we looked anxiously forward to seeing what would happen next.
Problem was, the show fell back upon the "Monster of the Week" format that had seized its fanbase's attention in the first place. And once David Duchovny started phoning in his role (in some cases, literally, in episodes where Mulder's presence in the plot was only via phone calls to Scully), the show had to scramble again to figure out what the hell it was doing. Mimi and I in particular were very disappointed that Mulder stopped being a main character, and we were particularly annoyed that a major progression in Mulder and Scully's relationship happened off-camera.
Even though we tried to valiantly hang in there during season 8, we finally reluctantly stopped watching. For me, it just wasn't the same without Mulder and Scully as the leads. I don't think we saw any of season 9 at all, aside from coming back to give the finale a look out of a sense of obligation and of wanting closure.
When the second movie came out, Mimi and I went to go see it despite profound misgivings. We were still cranky at the handling of how Mulder and Scully's relationship had progressed, yet we were curious despite ourselves as to how the second movie would pick up with that--not to mention how it'd pick up from what had happened in the season 9 finale.
Suffice to say, that movie was a disappointment.
All of which brings me around to the new season 10 miniseries, which I finally finished watching as of last night. I came into that with much the same sense I approached the second movie: i.e., that I really wanted it to not suck, yet was deeply afraid that it would.
I've been following the recap/review posts put up by both The Mary Sue and Tor.com. And I've gotta say that I'm pretty much on board with what both of these sites have had to say about the miniseries: i.e., that there are moments in it that I've really liked, and that Scully should indeed be Queen of Everything. My favorite moments in these episodes have been followups to Mulder and Scully's established relationship. The scene in which Mulder acts out both sides of many a conversation the two of them have had over the years, while Scully doesn't get a word in and winds up just smiling wryly at him, was delightful.
Taken as a set, though, I have to find the season 10 episodes an incoherent mess. I don't feel like six episodes was enough to progress the mytharc properly. And the Monster of the Week episodes in between the mytharc bookends had too many hamfisted missteps in them for me to enjoy them, for the most part. Worst of all, and I'll say this right out for anyone who hasn't watched the miniseries yet and might want to: the last episode ends on a cliffhanger.
Seriously, Chris Carter? Seriously?
We don't even know whether there's going to be more X-Files at this point. So leaving viewers hanging like that can play as nothing but a cheap ploy to stoke interest and see if FOX can be pressured into letting there be more of the show.
Thing is, I'm not even sure I want more at this point.
In season 10, I've found myself appreciating how Scully has matured as a character. But Mulder has become almost a ridiculous parody of himself, and while this doesn't quite get into "trashing my childhood hero" territory, it does get pretty close. Couple this with season 10's terrible treatment of the transgender character in episode 3 and the Muslim characters in episode 5, and I'm having a hard time mustering any enthusiasm for finding out where this mytharc might go next.
Part of me still wants to believe. But the rest of me isn't sure it can.
Angela writes as both Angela Korra'ti and Angela Highland, and even references The X-Files in Bone Walker, Book 2 of The Free Court of Seattle. Tell her your opinion of the show in the comments! Or come say hi to her at angelahighland.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Do I Still Want to Believe?
Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
Hi, I'm Angela Korra'ti, Anna the Piper online and Anna to my friends. I'm a computer geek, a writer, and an amateur musician, living in Kenmore, WA with my wife Dara, our housemate Paul, our cat George, and a whole helluva lot of computers and musical instruments.
I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer, writing under the names of Angela Korra'ti (for my self-pubbed work) and Angela Highland (for Carina Press)! Come find out more about my books at my official site angelahighland.com.
Other things I am, which I'll post a lot about: liberal, agnostic, feminist, queer-friendly, a stage 0 DCIS breast cancer survivor, and a GREAT BIG NERD.
And I'm an amateur musician, and I favor carbon fiber flutes, a blackwood whistle, a piccolo, and guitars as my primary instruments. I also play a little bouzouki and a little mandolin, and I'm taking fiddle lessons too! I'm a member of the Seattle-area monthly Quebecois tunes session and am learning a lot of tunes. Tunes recs welcomed!
I'm a big fan of Atlantic Canadian folk/trad, and a huge fangirl for Great Big Sea in particular. And I'm also passionately in love with the entire genre of Quebecois traditional music--and for the groups Le Vent du Nord, De Temps Antan, Genticorum, Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer, and La Bottine Souriante in particular! All this awesome music is inspiring me to improve my French, so sometimes French will show up in my status updates.