Two years ago, “The X-Files,” which ran on television from 1993 to 2002 and jumped to the big screen in 1998 and 2008, returned from narrative limbo for a six-episode “special event” season.
It left behind some memorable moments and the impression that of all the people who should be writing and directing the series now, creator Chris Carter, responsible for the season opener and closer, was possibly not among them.
Still, a good enough time was had by the people who needed to have one, and enough money made by the bodies that needed to make it, that the principal partners have reconvened for a 10-episode 11th season. It premieres Wednesday, as ever on Fox.
The good news is that a longer season gives other writers more time, and that if anything, leads Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny seem more comfortable this time out as partners in spooky crime fighting and something more than pals. It comes off less as an exercise in brand revival and more a genuine new season of “The X-Files.”
The previous season ended with a cliffhanger, with the arrival of a giant spacecraft over Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridges, where Fox Mulder (Duchovny) was dying from the Spartan virus — the work of William B. Davis’ Cigarette Smoking Man — and Dana Scully (Anderson) was without any handy options to save him.
Reviewers have been asked to refrain from revealing how this resolves, but suffice it to say, as with “Flash Gordon” or Gene Autry serials of yore, there is a certain amount of rewinding involved. (It also smacks of a rethink; it has been two years, after all.) And suffice it also to say that Mulder survives into the new season. He would have to, of course, although I for one would watch a series called “Scully.”
In a bit of a twist for the longevity of the future of the series after this season, Gillian Anderson has previously stated she plans to quit playing Dana Scully after X-Filesseason 11, which has its season premiere tonight on Fox.
The X-Files creator Chris Carter addressed fans during a Reddit AMA, where he said, “For me, the show has always been Mulder and Scully. So the idea of doing the show without her isn’t something I’ve ever had to consider.”
Previously Carter teased to EW that the season finale could be a shocker. “Things are often sacrificed in the finale. That’s the interesting thing for me. There’s a vertical corner in the final that I think will get people’s attention…”
So it sounds like — one way or another — the finale takes into consideration that Anderson might not be back … while also making it possible for her to return.
While Anderson might indeed never reprise her iconic character after the new batch of 10 episodes, you can never say never with this series. The X-Files has famously had many starts and stops and incarnations over its 25 years on and off the air, and always seems to manage to find another life — the last batch of new episodes two years ago was also one of the season’s highest-rated dramas.