It's easy to sneer at Hollywood's obsession with sequels and reboots, but eventually, the dice rolls in your direction. One person's cynicism is another's nostalgia. For me, it's The X-Files, a show that defined my childhood. Last night was a big deal — The X-Files was back. It kinda sucked, and I definitely don't care.
Now nearly 31-years-old, I've both moved on from The X-Files and never moved on from The X-Files. I'll still watch the occasional episode — from the early seasons, mind you — and whenever I hear the Mark Snow's theme song, my heart flutters. If I'm at a bar with a jukebox, I'll search around for it and, every once and a while, there's a bad MIDI cover hidden away. Apologies, bar goers.
(I'm not really sorry.)
Whispers of The X-Files returning have swirled for years, culminating in 2008's utterly disastrous movie X-Files: I Want to Believe, which should have permanently buried the franchise. J.J. Abrams tried to recapture the magic of Mulder and Scully with the sci-fi procedural Fringe, but it didn't really work.
The X-Files itself lost the magic in the last few seasons, as it creatively sputtered towards an unsatisfying finish line after nine years. I don't remember much about the final moments — something about a missile fired in a canyon? — and even when I've rewatched the series, I've never made it that far ever again.
So when it was announced The X-Files would return, it came with mixed emotions. One, I'd love to see Mulder and Scully on new adventures! Two, this almost never goes well! It's rare for an old show to find its mojo after decades in the wilderness, and I had little faith The X-Files would be able to buck the trend.
As it turns out, it didn't — the episode didn't work at all.
Last night's premiere was a disaster, a nonsensical script given no help by wooden acting from the two people you figured might be into this, Mulder and Scully. Few plot motivations make sense, almost everything about the mythology has been tossed out the window, and after spending nine seasons respecting the series' defining characters, they have become bumbling idiots.
And yet, I could not give less of a shit, and I don't care if it gets better. I'm going to watch — and relish — every episode with a glass of whiskey and a toast to what used to be. If The X-Files
ship UFO is going down, I'm going down with it.
It's all about me, which is why they keep bringing these back. With The X-Files, my turn on the corporate-nostalgia-go-round, and I intend to milk it for all its worth. Revisiting the past isn't about feeling exactly how you were, it's extracting a slice, fully knowing there'll be less the next time you try.
Not too get all serious on you, but in the past few years, I've lost a few people. A while ago, I wrote a piece about what it's like to watch their memories fade:
It's natural. We don't see them anymore. We don't make new memories, we mine old ones. But I don't like knowing it's getting easier because there's less of them. The burden of memories weighs heavy.
Losing a TV show is not equivalent to losing a loved one, but memories works similarly. It's fun to walk down memory lane, but also a little sad, a little tragic — it's not the same as walking into the future together. It's a bittersweet pill.
Moments like are an opportunity recapture an old time, an old feeling, an old friend. If that's overdramatic, I'm ok with it. Like I said, it's about me.
The whole reason I wanted The X-Files to come back was to smile as Mulder and Scully banter off one another again. I don't care what happened to Scully's kid. I don't care if they resolve the alien invasion story. I don't care if the monsters they're after can't hold up to flukeman. My desire for new The X-Files is to selfishly to live in the past and feel new memories cut from nostalgia's cloth.
So, when are they rebooting LOST?