Thursday 8 December 2016

X Files – Six things we learned from first episode of new series

Published 26/01/2016 | 22:50

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully and David Duchovny as Fox Mulder.
Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully and David Duchovny as Fox Mulder.

Mysteriously abducted by television schedulers 14 years ago, The X-Files returned to the small screen tonight on RTE2.

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Once more, viewers were invited to drink deep of Agent Fox Mulder's paranoia and/or share in Agent Dana Scully's fourth-wall-breaking scepticism. Here's what we learned from the first episode of the new six-part mini- series...

 

1: They're Playing The Nostalgia Card.

Twenty-three years since The X-Files debuted, creator Chris Carter has stuck with the original opening credits. Agents Mulder and Scully are preternaturally fresh-faced; the jumpy editing screams early 90s MTV; the wispy theme is just as fans remember.

 

 

2: But They've Upped The Budget.

Back in the day, The X-Files enjoyed teasing audiences by hinting at mind-bending happenings but without ever showing much on screen. Here was television that did not believe in the 'money shot'. Thirty seconds into the new series, we'd already seen a giant UFO careen into the desert at Roswell. Later, Mulder got an upclose peep at a giant stealth airplane that drew on covert alien tech. Both were gorgeously realised – testament to the greatly-boosted production values of returning franchise.

 

3: The Chemistry Endures.

Mulder and Scully were one of television's original odd couples, with Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) communicating the philosophical gulf between the characters with just a raised brow or tug at the corner of the mouth. After more than a decade apart (excluding a flop cinematic outing from 2008), the sardonic spark between the pair is much as we recall.

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4: Duchovny Still Sounds As If He's Just Woken Up.

The actor's flinty drawl can be mistaken for the woozy meanderings of someone just fallen out of bed. So it was here – as he delivered his scene-setting opening monologue, you may have found yourself stifling a yawn. All these decades later, the actor's slow cadences are still a panacea for insomniacs.

 

5: They Haven't Gone All Snowden On Us

In early '90s paranoia was optional. The Cold War was over, the internet still an obscure technology. Nowadays, we have justifiable grounds for worrying our email is being snooped on or that our movements are tracked via mobile phone. However, in The X-Files universe our biggest concern turned out to be that aliens ploughed into the side of a mountain in New Mexico in 1947. There was something innocent and sweet about Carter's determination to serve up an old school brand of neuroticism.

 

6: The Smoking Man Is…Back.

When The X-Files took its leave in 2002, we were encouraged to believe Mulder and Scully arch-nemesis The Smoking Man had died in a rocket attack. Yet here he was, still breathing (and puffing). At the conclusion of an often cartoonish first episode, it was good to know he remains out there wheezing and scheming.

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The second episode airs tomorrow night Wednesday, 9.55pm RTE2.

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