I was lucky enough to be able to see the episode back when it premiered at NYCC in October. These were my original reactions.
Sunday night FOX kicks off the premiere of the highly-anticipated return of The X-Files
six episode event immediately following the NFC Championship Game. Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully to solve cases of the unexplained, in the episode "My Struggle."
Being such a huge fan back when the original series aired, I was excited to see what the new series had in store, yet a bit trepidatious about it living up to the original. I was not disappointed.
It did feel different in ways than the original, but not to the detriment of the show. The tone felt shifted a bit, in the sense that it was brighter and more in your face than with the original series, and it didn't have the same dreary tone. I know that not all episodes were dark, but something about it felt different. It seemed a bit strange to see some of the creature effects in your face, though I quickly realized that a big part of this was probably due to the huge increase in quality of the digital effects; they were massive and quite beautiful. I would describe the shift almost like how the look of the first film, Fight the Future
, felt a bit brighter and bigger in scope. It may be of note, however, that the actual mood of the show will change throughout the six episodes, according to what creator and executive producer Chris Carter told me in the press room at the convention in October.
Fortunately the one thing that the episode did not have in common with the first film was an overabundance of introductions for new fans. The episode did a fantastic job of giving just enough exposition so new viewers weren't lost, yet not so much that fans would be annoyed.
The only thing I have negative to say about that part of the show is that part of it felt slightly artificial in the beginning before the main characters were reintroduced for the first time on the small screen in almost fourteen years. I felt sort of almost breaks in the piece where fans were given that moment to cheer. For instance, the camera first showed the back of Mulder's head in anticipation before moving around to show his face, which I thought seemed like an odd directorial choice. On subsequent viewing of the screener in my own home, I didn't feel this. I think it was highlighted more to me because of the audience's reactions and watching it on the big screen.
Other than that, the show was brilliant. Carter's script was everything I expected it to be. He was able to weave a narrative that picked up years after the events in the original series, which faithfully explained what had happened in intervening years.
The story does involve mythology and explains a bit why colonization did not happen in 2012 and what that means, which I greatly appreciated. It also brings in new elements into the conspiracy and makes us wonder whether or not we should believe what we have been told throughout nine seasons. It completely flips everything on its head, which I absolutely love.
Obviously a large part of the series has always been about Mulder and Scully's relationship, and that is addressed. It's not a spoiler to say at this point that they are split up. Chris Carter previously said during an interview with the Canadian press, "As we saw in the second movie, they were together, not married. Living together. But when we come back we will find that relationship is not where we left it." Fans can take from that what they will to know where Mulder and Scully are at relationshipwise in the premiere.
I have to say, as I have always been a die-hard shipper growing up, I was wholly upset when I first found out about this, however, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but as much as I disagree with the decision, after watching the premiere, it did feel organic, and I kind of understand it to a degree. It leaves open a way to bring back all the sexual tension that the show was famous for. Don't get me wrong, if they don't get back together, I'll be one of the first to riot, but for now I am okay with it. Relationships don't always work, and it is also quite obvious that they still love each other, even if they have drifted apart. But I digress.
Also back is Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), and it's great to see him back in the mix. He has quite an intense scene with Mulder as previously teased at in the promo, where Mulder kicks and rips the "I want to Believe" poster, his pencils stuck in the ceiling overhead.
There are also of course other new characters introduced in the first episode, including Tad O'Malley (Joel McHale), an internet news anchor who thinks he has a handle on the conspiracy, and Sveta (Annet Mahendru) an alien abductee. William B. Davis also returns as Cigarette-Smoking Man.
All in all, as a fan, I absolutely loved the season ten premiere, "My Struggle." I worry that for new viewers, the series might have been served better as to have been a "monster of the week" episode as opposed to mythology, as it is quite involved. It won't be a problem, however, for new viewers to jump right in. Regardless, Carter and company did a fantastic job pulling me right back into the embrace of an old friend, and I can't wait to see what happens next. *Stay tuned after the world-wide premiere for a full post-mortem of the episode, including a detailed recap, as well as my opinion on key plot points and my theories for the future.*