Mulder and Scully are back. For the thousands of cult-level X-Files fans out there—and the millions of “casual viewers,” as well—this is exciting news. Fox has renewed the hit TV show, offering an initial six-episode miniseries which may (or may not) lead into more of the FBI’s most unwanted on the small screen.
The newest installments are picking up a decade and a half after the show left off; Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are no longer fresh-faced and bright-eyed, and the X-Files themselves have been closed.
In one scene of the first new episode, which aired at 10 p.m. EST on Sunday, Mulder returns to his old office and kicks at some detritus in aggravation. His iconic “I want to believe” UFO poster is laying on the ground, torn, amongst some broken ceiling tiles. The imagery and symbolism here are clearly trying to communicate dashed hope and silenced protest.
In this setting, Mulder, Scully and Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi, another original-series regular) have to pull themselves together and investigate a downed passenger plane in relation to classic themes of government conspiracy and the presence of extraterrestrials.
I don’t want to spoil anything. I can tell you for anyone who grew up in the era of The X-Files, it has essentially been a 1990s period piece; David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have been heavily typecast as their characters, and it all occurs in a pre-9/11 context. The first 10 minutes of episode one showed Barack Obama on a TV screen. If this is meant to leave us with anything, it’s that we are not in 1996 anymore. The X-Files are finally current.
New episodes will be airing each Monday at 8 p.m. EST on Fox; viewing parties recommended.