"The X-Files Miniseries" Episode One "My Struggle" (6 out of 10) Created by Chris Carter; Written and Directed by Chris Carter; Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Joel McHale, Mitche Pillegi, and William B. Davis; Originally aired January 24, 2016.
It’s been a long time waiting in the wings, “The X-Files” has been off the air for almost fourteen years, that is until just over an hour ago. The first episode of the six part “X-Files” miniseries has aired. The episode, titled “My Struggle” was written and directed by the series creator Chris Carter. It picks up years after the series previously ended when a TV commentator reaches out to the FBI attempting to reach Mulder and Scully, the duo come back together at the offer of new information about the alien conspiracy.
The episode has a strong opening with Mulder monologuing the history of the UFO conspiracy, it feels immediately like an “X-Files” episode which was promising early on, but it quickly becomes clear that unlike the majority of episodes from previous seasons, this episode wouldn’t wrap up its own mystery. Instead it laid down a lot of threads that will apparently be wrapped up later on. It seems perhaps we’ve traded in the monster of the week formula for a more drawn out mystery to be pieced out over the course of the six episodes. That being said, only the first and last episodes of the miniseries are listed as part of the “alien mythology arc” leaving potential for the next four episodes to have the more traditional standalone feel. We’ll have to tune in tomorrow for episode two to find out.
Joel McHale (“Community”) joins the cast as Tad O’Malley, a television commentator and conspiracy theorist touting theories about a myriad of government conspiracies including aliens, new world order, and 9/11 false flag operations. Mulder gets sucked in by his charisma and access to seemingly impressive alien information and technology, lending the impetus for the new arc. Once confronted with new information Mulder is convinced that he and Scully have been lied to and led down a false path as to the nature of the alien conspiracy. This reignites the his fire for the mystery that has consumed most of his life. More familiar characters also made return appearances including Assistant Director Skinner and a brief but excellent cameo from The Smoking Man.
Overall, the episode was moderately satisfying in that it had the familiar feel of a brief visit with old friends, but the format, being spaced out over a longer period with little episodic satisfaction probably would have lent itself better to a service like Netflix. It was engaging enough that if I had the opportunity to watch more right now I definitely would, but at the moment I’m left feeling like I was offered one potato chip before having the bag whisked away, it tastes good but it wasn’t enough.
At least we won’t have to wait a week to get the next taste. Episode two airs tomorrow at the same time. We’ll see how we feel then. As it stands, I don’t feel like this outing was a detriment to the series’ legacy if it maintains the current trend it threatens only to be forgettable. There are worse fates.