The X-Files Miniseries (2016) “My Struggle” Review

The X-Files 2016 David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson

Here’s a quick review on the premiere episode of The X-Files Miniseries entitled “My Struggle”. No Spoilers.

After more than a decade the X-Files revival is now a reality. A lot of the key ingredients are in place to recapture why the X-Files was a highly influential, cult classic television series. You got the main cast returning. You got the promise of a mix between mythology and standalone episodes which the original series is known for. And this is a revival where the fan base are genuinely excited for. The times have changed over the years which the revival can tap into the current cultural anxieties and paranoia. Plus, that classic intro credit sequence and music is back! What could go wrong?

I really wanted to like the first of the two-part premiere which aired Sunday. It wasn’t bad but overall it missed the mark for me. I do give points for the effort in trying to push the alien conspiracy in a different direction. Writer Chris Carter went with some big ideas off the bat, I can’t blame the guy for wanting to start things off boldly. But I think X-Files works better when it keeps its cards a little closer to the chest, then gradually reveal and unravel the mystery. A good mystery is where you have some of the pieces and you try to figure how to put them together.  Instead, “My Struggle” felt like a lot of information was force-fed. I realize today’s audience are more prone to wanting answers immediately rather than waiting. And there’s validity to that especially in a short 6 episode mini-series.

Further, I did not like that the explanation behind the conspiracy is heavy-handed. I’m more of a Scully or skeptic when it comes to these super intricate, hard-to-believe conspiracies. Whenever Scully gives an incredulous frown and eye roll, which Gillian Anderson does very well, that’s how I kind of feel. I also felt that Chris Carter would have something more interesting to say about what’s happening in the world now. Maybe the stand alone episodes would be better suited to taking one element of the grand conspiracy such as government spying drones and explore that in a classic X-Files way.

The positive is that the chemistry between Mulder and Scully doesn’t miss a beat. Sure, some of the dialogue is clunky, but it’s pretty clear that as actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are able to pick up where they left off. I’m also liking Mulder’s dry humor. However, I wasn’t overly fond of guest star Joel McHale’s performance as an anchor to an online conspiracy network. But I do kind of like the twisted idea that someone could profit from people’s paranoia which is all too real. 

“My Struggle” is a shaky start albeit a watchable one. It’s probably most enjoyable through a nostalgic point of view. The good news is that critics who have watched the other episodes says it does get better. Let’s hope the second part of the premiere is an immediate improvement. 

What did you like or dislike about the X-Files premiere? Do you prefer the case/monster of the week or the mythology episodes?

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