Mulder with a Beard

The SportsAlcohol Roundtable: New X-Files

For backround: Chris Carter is bringing The X-Files back to Fox. This was met by joy from the internet at large, but a more reserved reaction from the SportsAlcohol crew (who seem to remember the last movie unlike everyone else). Below is an email exchange where we try to work through our feelings. Please join us in the comments below to let us know what you think and propose new episodes for this run.


I just saw the X-Files news and had too much to say for Twitter. Or maybe just wanted help figuring out my opinion. I’d love more X-Files, but I worry that the last movie (and, really, the last couple of years of the show) already might put them really out of step from what I’d really want. Like, are they going to have them back at the FBI in an official capacity? Is the skeptic/believer dynamic going to be at all similar? How much will their romance factor in? Also, the details in that announcement are scant enough that they raise so many questions! Is Carter going to write them all (maybe with Spotnitz) or are they going to get other people involved? He mentions “these six stories” in the announcement, so does that mean they actually have six stories broken? Does it mean six distinct episodes with different X-Files in each instead of a more serialized thing? Is it going to be a mix of mythology and monster-of-the-week episodes? Dare I even begin to dream of a Darin Morgan episode? He mentioned in an interview that he’d be interested in participating in some imaginary revival, but the six episode real estate might mean there’s not room for something quite so off-model (even though that elasticity is part of what’s so fantastic about the original show).

I assume part of the deal with going back is basically cannibalizing whatever ideas they had for a third movie to wrap up the mythology story, so you assume that at least two or three of these six are dealing with that anyway. Still, I admit that the possibility of a couple of good new episodes got me excited. And maybe this’ll give me some kind of timeline to finish the series on Netflix.


I was just kinda shocked by how little the movies are addressed at all in the announcements I read. Are they just going to kind of forget about them?


Well, they’re really just ignoring that last one (the first one came out in the middle of the run of the show). It is kind of weird how they basically are just treating it as a do-over to do the whole “The X-Files is back!” thing. Though I don’t think the last one gives them much to crow about anyway, in terms of critical or box-office success.


Carter also worked on the season 10 comics (which I didn’t know were a thing until now)? Which includes a retcon that the Lone Gunmen faked their deaths?

Dogget's back, you guys!
Dogget’s back, you guys!

I would say that it sounds like they’re just ignoring the second movie (and maybe some other stuff), but (as wikipedia just reminded me) the reason Mulder has the beard in I Want To Believe is because he’s in seclusion and helping with that case is the only way to get the FBI to call off their manhunt of him. Kind of a major plot point to ignore.

I want to give a name to this kind of unbridled fan enthusiasm for more content, ignoring that they already got some and were eh about. I’m thinking about calling it Ghostbusters 3 Syndrome. This may not be an original thought at this point.


I saw that Season 10 comics were in the comics shop, and resisted my curiosity about how that even works in terms of there being a six-year gap between Season 9 and the last movie, and then another six-year gap between that movie and the comics starting. I know they’re just using the Season thing because the Buffy comics did and to show that Carter was involved, but even so, when would a Season 10 of the X-Files even happen and what would it even concern? Besides the Lone Gunmen faking their own deaths, apparently — which, fine, undoing stuff from the last two seasons works for me, since I really think of The X-Files as seven seasons of an excellent show and two seasons of ancillary material.

I guess we’ll find out what a Season 10 will be like, though I suppose they’re not really calling this Season 10. I do like the idea of a limited series; as much as I dreamed of X-Files making the Star Trek: The Next Generation transition to the screen, there were several times that idea could have gone further than it did, and this will probably have more flexibility than they’d get with a feature. I hope this means at least some playing around, rather than basically making two more movies’ worth of continuity tinkering. I do wonder if they’ll monkey with the format and make it more like what shows started doing more during and after the time of X-Files, where there are individual episodes that more or less have a beginning/middle/end but also have continuing elements (beyond just the characters’ developing personalities). Or maybe it’ll be a weird mini-season where the first and last ones will be some bigger story and the middle ones really will be in that classic X-Files mode.

In related news, I’m reading Duchovny’s novel right now, except maybe I’m not, because I’m on the verge of giving up, which is unusual for something (a.) I wanted to read and (b.) that’s only 200 pages with chapter breaks so frequent that it’s probably really more like 160 pages (plus also illustrations, and most of the dialogue is written out in script form). But the episodes of the show he wrote or directed were always so good!



Oh yeah. I haven’t hunted them down from the library or anything yet, since I was waiting until I’d polished off the series proper, but I get the impression that not only are the Lone Gunmen back, but maybe also (at least) Mr. X and Cigarette Smoking Man as well. Which, is fair enough in that they’re part of what people want in a revival, but also a symptom of the “comic book season” thing, where they resurrect characters, maybe because it’s hard to create new characters that feel important without an actor/performance to attach them to in the original show.

And yeah, I don’t know how heavily involved he is, but they trumpeted Carter’s involvement and seemed to indicate that it was an “official” story. I’m sure any new shows will absolutely not require that you know what went on in the comics, but I wonder if Carter considers them in-continuity.

I’m sure that the second movie will have happened in the storyline. As you mentioned, it gets Mulder and Scully back in the government’s good graces after they’d been fugitives. But I don’t remember whether they actually became agents again at the end of the picture (I don’t think so, and it seems unlikely, right?). Plus, while it makes a little sense that they wouldn’t want to bring it up in this announcement, I don’t really know whether Carter and Spotnitz feel about the last movie. Maybe they love it. He and Spotnitz seem to have been able to call the shots within whatever budget constraints on the last movie (which means their involvement is definitely no guarantee that the new stuff will be great).

The mythology stuff is curious too, since the invasion was supposed to happen in 2012, so I’m curious if these will be set in the recent past, if our heroes will have prevented or delayed the event between screen appearances, or if they’ve got something else in mind.

And yeah, with the media landscape working out so that a lot of stuff that fans want more of might actually have an avenue to return, it seems like it might actually come down to the discretion of creators in many cases to decide when there’s been enough. It’s weird being right in the crosshairs of the nostalgia machine now. I’ve got the nerd’s tendency to want more of the stuff I loved, but I’m also able to grumble about the 90s fire hose they’re training on us. Like, I don’t care what they do with the Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers, but I’m psyched for a new Jurassic Park and pretty intrigued by these X-Files and Twin Peaks revivals.


But will Mulder and Scully still be living together?!?!


If I can dip briefly into the realm of fantasy spitballing, I would surely love it if Mulder and Scully were to open a paranormal investigation agency, the main clients of which would probably be the government, who tacitly approve of their activities even though they can’t hire them back to the FBI. That also allows them some room to be spending lots of time together yet keeping their relationship at least a little bit oblique, which is not to say they need to recreate the tension of the early years (I mean, they’re middle-aged now, no need to hinge it on their professional flirtation) but it would be a nice way to de-emphasize that stuff.

But yes, it is strange that people seem to clamor for more even when they get more and they don’t even like or bother to see more. And I’m torn between disdain for the cynical repackaging of past favorites and appreciation for a media landscape that allows stuff to come back if it, for whatever reason, didn’t exactly end on its own terms, or the terms it deserved (as X-Files did have Carter through the end; it just didn’t really have Mulder and Scully).