Nearly a quarter-century after it premiered and almost 15 years after it went off the air, “The X-Files” returns — for the second time — and proves one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: Not all TV shows should come back.
If only Fox would do us a favor and stop bringing this one back. Fans get their hopes up, only to see them crushed again.
It’s not that Season 11 of “The X-Files” is entirely terrible. Just parts of it are terrible — like the fourth episode. Which is supposed to be a comedy. But isn’t.
But it’s also not good. After screening half of the 10 episodes coming our way beginning Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. on Fox/Ch. 13, my overwhelming feeling is boredom. Even stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson seem to be sleepwalking through much of what happens. The time of “The X-Files” is clearly past.
In 1993, a show about conspiracy theories was out there. Today, conspiracy theories are just part of our everyday lives.
On a related note, if you’re a fan of the current occupant of the White House, you’re not going to like Season 11 of “The X-Files.” There are repeated, unflattering references to America in the age of Donald Trump.
There’s even a play on Trump’s statement that Mexico is “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
If “X-Files” had something new to say, or if it could recapture the old magic, it might be worth reviving. But it doesn’t and it isn’t. And the scenes of romance between Mulder and Scully feel forced — and, worse yet, feel like pandering.
There’s a lot of that going on. The episodes reach out for the old fans — even bringing back dead characters — but will scare away any potential new fans, who will find them often indecipherable.
The first episode deals with the ongoing alien conspiracy, and there’s a BIG REVELATION. (No spoilers here.) Except, of course, that it might just be another lie. Which is part of the corner executive producer Chris Carter and his team wrote themselves into midway through the show’s original nine-season run.
Back in 1999, a very grumpy Duchovny dissed the show himself.
Each week something happens to Mulder and/or Scully that is completely life-changing, and yet we come back the next week as if nothing has happened,” he said. “And nobody ever comments on that because these are [the] kinds of lies that are necessary to serialize television. … You cannot have the kind of resolution that you want in life.”
If we ever got an episode that could pull together the loose ends and give us answers to questions first posed almost 25 years ago, it would definitely be worth watching. But the one-step-forward, two-steps-back narrative got old by about 1997.
But this isn’t about art or even entertainment. It’s about commerce. It’s a way for Carter, Duchovny, Anderson and Fox to make some money.
Not that there’s anything wrong with making money, but they’re doing it with an inferior, outdated product.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against revivals. Much to my surprise, the return of “Will & Grace” this season after an 11-year hiatus has been a welcome development. And, after seeing the first two episodes of the “Roseanne” revival, I’m … quite hopeful.
(I’d tell you more, but ABC has embargoed reviews and first impressions. Really.)
But 18 new episodes of “Twin Peaks” accomplished nothing 26 years later. When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returned after a six-year hiatus, it had become a parody of itself.
If there is any clamor for “American Idol” to return, I haven’t heard it. And yet that show will return in March.
There’s nothing wrong with the idea of recycling old shows — whether they’re revivals with original casts or reboots that reimagine old shows in new ways. (Like The CW’s “Dynasty” or Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” which are both good.)
But sometimes it’s better to live with our memories with reruns instead of trying to recapture the magic that’s long gone. As is the case with “The X-Files.”
Well, maybe the first four or five seasons of “The X-Files.”