19-25 August 2016 #822

The X-Files

If you have never watched The X-Files, you are in for an interesting time
Sophia Pande

Growing up watching The X-Files was one of the weirdest, most wonderful, defining moments of my adolescent life, when international television providers had just entered the mainstream in Nepal, and Mulder and Scully’s antics could be watched from our suddenly-more-connected living rooms.

What had started in 1993 was resurrected this year — nine full seasons and two feature films later — with a six-part series that came back to life because fans just could not let go of the aforementioned beloved duo, who have become as much a part of popular culture as they have contributed to changing gender stereotypes in terms of how men and women in law enforcement are depicted on television.

The enduring charm of The X-Files — in addition to the very special dynamic between the lead characters Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) — is the wry, almost kooky humour that often accompanies the most chilling, creepy, outlandish story arcs that the series creator, Chris Carter, delights in. This has served the series so well by carving out a niche in a television landscape that had never seen a show with an outrageous, unapologetic science fiction ethic before the Mulder-Scully duo captured our imaginations in 1993, co-opting generations of viewers who never dreamed they might like this kind of geeky immersion.

If you have never watched The X-Files, you are in for an interesting time: the series is an odd hybrid of police procedural, murder mystery, screwball comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, and sometimes just plain tongue-in-cheek slapstick that is so well written that re-watching the series as an adult is disconcerting: in these days where well-written shows abound, The X-Files, which first aired more than two dozen years ago holds its own, sometimes surpassing the quality and originality of the best series around today.

The newest six-part instalment, Series 10 released in January, which is set in the now, is therefore a welcome return for this iconic cult hit that brings back Mulder and Scully with their usual odd couple chemistry that, I am happy to say, continues to work through the decades.

Their finely tuned, intricately wrought character and relationship dynamic — Mulder with his specific brand of brainiac nerdiness, he is an Oxford-educated psychological profiler and was a star at the FBI until his obsession with his sister’s abduction by aliens turned his job into a personal crusade, and Scully, a precise medical doctor whose skill in forensic detection and practical mindset will win over your heart and mind — complement already very strong episodes, which are thrilling, engaging, cheeky, and terrifying, all at once. If you have not followed these two and their fight against massive government conspiracies over the years, you will become a fan at least, if not, as Mulder insists, a believer.

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