I speak, of course, of The X-Files, which returns on FOX with a two-part premiere, the first at 10pm EST on Sunday, January 24, and the second at 8pm EST the next night, Monday, January 25. Mondays at 8pm will be the time slot for the remaining four episodes of this six-episode return.
Trust No One. The Truth Is Out There. Apology Is Policy. Deny Everything. These are phrases that, in our 21st-century Internet-fueled world of disbelief and misinformation, ring truer than ever. We live in a world now of Edward Snowdens, where real people risk their lives for the truth. We also live in a world where our every action is recorded, where we can track a bomber at the Boston Marathon with the casual cellphone photos of people who were unknowing witnesses and a thousand different kinds of overhead camera footage. Watch one episode of a show like Person of Interest and you'll realize how truly public our lives really are.
The X-Files was a show ahead of its time in many ways because it foretold so much. Rewatching it is also a good time because of the many, many guest appearances by actors who went on to bigger and better things: Seth Green, Jack Black, Giovanni Ribisi, Ryan Reynolds, Lucy Liu, and B.D. Wong all appeared in just the first few seasons. Other, more well-known actors also made guest appearances, including Jodie Foster, Danny Trejo, Garry Shandling, Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin (who appeared together in "The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas," a must-see episode), Jesse L. Martin, and Bryan Cranston, who went on to star in Breaking Bad. In fact, legend has it that when they were casting Breaking Bad and Cranston's name came up, most of the producers were against him because they knew him only as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle. However, Vince Gilligan, who had worked on The X-Files, showed them "Drive," the episode Cranston guest appeared in, and it was that performance that won him the role of Walter White.
Where would we be today without Mulder and Scully? Think about the shows that populate television. How many shows before The X-Files were built on the premise that a man and a woman could work together and build a friendship and a trust without an ongoing sexual relationship, and how many came after? In the first episode of Bones, one example of just such a working relationship, FBI Agent Booth tells Dr. Brennan: "We're Scully and Mulder." How many involve uncovering conspiracies or government treacheries or supernatural occurrences? Look at the supernatural element of the show. How many shows that came after followed just that aspect? When he tries to debunk her in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode titled, "The Pack," Buffy Summers herself tells Giles, "I can't believe you, of all people, are trying to Scully me!"
The X-Files ended its run in 2002. By then, David Duchovny (Mulder) had been gone from the show as a regular for some time, and Gillian Anderson (Scully), though still a part of the show, had a less active role as the writers tried to build a new team with Agents Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) and John Doggett (Robert Patrick). However, in the post-9/11 America, the idea of government treachery and scheming had fallen out of favor in place of national pride and patriotism. Duchovny returned for the last few episodes and tried to help wrap up the series, but the thing about The X-Files was—and is—that there were always more questions than answers. A second movie, I Want to Believe, was made in 2008 (the first had been released in 1998 during the run of the show) but was generally panned by critics and fans alike; I know I, for one, like to pretend it never existed. I had loved the first film, Fight the Future, but the second? Indiewire described it as "fumbling…, like scrambling for a pen underneath the couch that you're sure should be there because you saw it roll there…six years ago." They had lost the path.
Are you looking for the truth? Do you still believe? You can show your dedication with an "I Still Believe" selfie by going to Doyoustillbelieve.com. Let us know whether you'll be watching with as much anticipation as I will come January 24 and what you're hoping to see in the new season of The X-Files by commenting below!