If you are an actor who once starred in a still beloved TV show, you have to be prepared for the inevitable questions about whether or not you’d ever come back for a movie or perhaps even a revived season on something like Netflix. You have to remember not to burn any bridges, either with your old co-stars and producers (who you might like to work with again someday) or with your fans (who clearly want to see you play your old classic again even if you don’t think there’s any more story to be told). You also want to come off as being appreciative that people still care to ask that question even if you are annoyed to death of having to hear it. You absolutely must be aware of how social media might take anything you say out of context, though. So, make it perfectly clear that you are ultimately powerless to bring something back.
That all gets kind of old after a while. There are only so many times that the cast of Friends can re-state that there are no plans for any kind of reunion just as there are only so many ways that Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, and Chris Carter can admit to being open to someday doing another X-Files movie. You could hear the exasperation in Anderson’s voice earlier this week when Chris Hardwick and friends gave her the inevitable, “Is X-Files ever coming back?” question during her appearance on the Nerdist podcast. She acknowledged that no one truly felt that the ending of X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) was a satisfactory final note for the series, and that they had actually discussed perhaps doing some kind of spoof of the X-Files the next time around, ala some of their more meta, purely funny episodes. Eventually, though, she ran out of things to say:
Anderson: We’ve talked about it. We’re up for it. It’s always in discussion, and, there’s, you know [deep sigh] What more can I say?
Hardwick eased back after that, admitting that as a Deadwood fan he always wanted to see the show come back but eventually started to ponder the practicality of the situation. Sure, the cast could largely return, but the actual people making the show (i.e., writers, directors, crew members) or even promoting it (i.e., the higher-ups at the network/studio) probably wouldn’t be the same. Plus, anyone who did return would inevitably be at a different stage in their life/career likely meaning the dynamic that fed the creation of the series would have disappeared. This prompted Anderson to question whether or not people would actually even want to see new X-Files at this point, proposing a hypothetical situation:
Anderson: What would your response be if it were announced tomorrow that we were going to go do 8, 10, 12 new episodes of The X-Files? […] As an audience member, if 46-year-old Gillian Anderson as Scully, and 50-whatever-year-old David Duchovny as Mulder were going to do a slew of new X-Files…
She didn’t even get to finish the question because Hardwick and co-host Matt Mira, both huge X-Files fans, quickly exclaimed that they would watch the hell out of a new season of The X-Files, regardless of how much older Scully and Mulder would be.
The conversation quickly turned into Anderson using Hardwick and Mira as an impromptu, only half-serious focus group for a hypothetical new season of X-Files:
Anderson: What do you think it should be? Should it be more like monster of the week stuff? Or should it be more like mythology stuff? Or more like current events stuff? Like, would we have to do an episode that involves terrorists?
Mira: Fuck yeah you would. Maybe the aliens are terrorists!
Anderson: Maybe all the fundamentalists are aliens! Those are aliens!
Hardwick: That’s what I always liked about Doctor Who. Part of the storylines were space stories, some of them were mythology, and some of them were history. It just assigned alien life to all those different things. So, I don’t see any reason you couldn’t do current event stuff, and just tack it on. But because you two would be that much wiser, much more experienced and at different times in your life I think that would be a fucking rad dynamic, are you kidding?”
Mira: At 46, I would finally believe Scully is a doctor!
Anderson: Would you say it is something that FOX should do anything in its power to make happen?
Mira: If it’s even on the table…I, mean, Duchovny’s Californication is wrapped up now. Let’s make this happen.
Hardwick: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. If it’s something you’re open to of course people would watch it.
Anderson: It would be interesting to get feedback, to see what the interest level is.
Hardwick: This is my call-out to every possible blog, news source who’s listening to this, everything in the nerd sphere: Get this going.
They want us to turn this into a Twitter trend, using the hashtag “#XFiles2015,” preferably directing any such tweets to Fox so they can see how much fan interest there is for new X-Files.
But how much fan interest is there? Worldwide, their last movie, I Want to Believe, grossed around $120 million less than their first movie, 1998’s The X-Files. That’s even before you adjust for the ticket price inflation in the decade between the two films. This comes after the TV series limped to the finish line in its 9th and final season in 2001-2002, plummeting down the Nielsen charts and setting series lows in ratings. Granted, we do seem to be currently experiencing a slight re-appreciation period for the show. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Silicon Valley) made headlines in the geekier corners of the internet (AVClub) last June with the launch of his new podcast The X-Files Files in which he discusses the show’s most notable episodes with the assistance of fellow famous fans as well as some of the actual people who were on the show. IDW has been publishing a canonical continuation of the show in comic book form, dubbed The X-Files: Season 10, for over a year now. Chris Carter is even contributing to the scripts! Plus, Anderson, Duchovny, and the gang were greeted like returning kings at their special X-Files 20th anniversary reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013. However, how much would any of that actually translate to box office gross for another film, or ratings for a revived, limited run TV series? Moreover, why bother with any of this when the track record for reviving TV shows is pretty spotty from both a financial and creative standpoint (they can’t all be Doctor Who and Star Trek: The Next Generation)?
Because it’s The X-Files, that’s why. That last movie wasn’t amazing, and the final season is better left completely unwatched or forgotten. X-Files creator Chris Carter’s sci-fi series at Amazon Prime was canceled before it had even premiered, suggesting that he may not be at his full storytelling powers anymore. But when The X-Files was good, dark lighting and tired Duchovny line deliveries and all, it was really good. If you’ve never seen it, check out IGN’s list of the 10 Best Stand-Alone episodes (I’m partial to “Paper Hearts,” “Drive,” and “Bad Blood”). Heck, even if you have seen it just go watch “Bad Blood” on Netflix right now. It’s still hilarious. They may not be able to get back to that, and there may not be any story left that is worth telling. However, I am with The Nerdist on this one: I would watch a revived season of X-Files in a heartbeat. Granted, I don’t know that I’d actually expect it to amaze me, but I’d definitely give it the chance to do so.
Apparently, Fox feels the same way. The network’s new bosses indicated at their Television Critics Association Press Tour appearance today that they have had preliminary talks with Carter, Anderson, and Duchovny about bringing X-Files back, although they stressed there was nothing to report beyond that.
What about you? Would you watch a revived season of The X-Files? Or maybe another, funnier movie? Would you want a new season to be more standalone or mythology heavy? Or are you just sick of all the old TV shows and films being made into new TV shows, X-Files or not? Let me know in the comments.
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Source: The Nerdist