It’s official. The X-Files Season 11 is happening with 10 new episodes, but is that really a good thing? When creator Chris Carter and FOX brought The X-Files back for a mini-series reprise in 2016, fans rejoiced at their chance to see Mulder and Scully together again. After the 2008 movie misfire The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which failed to feature much of what made the original series great, this was going to be everything long-suffering X-Philes needed in their life. And it was… but then it wasn’t.
The X-Files reprise wasn’t very good.
2016’s The X-Files was a six-episode mixed bag of intriguing mysteries, touching moments, fun surprises, and delightful fan-service muddled by misguided story choices, forced exposition, awkward interactions, and inexplicably bad dialogue.
What should have been a satisfying resumption of a classic TV franchise left many fans scratching their heads. And it seemed to confirm the worst fears of fans who’d grown skeptical of the creative force behind the show over the years: Maybe Chris Carter wasn’t the reason it was so great in the first place? The 2016 X-Files reprise worked best when he wasn’t involved. Powerhouse writing-directing duo Glen Morgan and James Wong were responsible for the best parts — the stories that weren’t mythology episodes like the wonderfully odd/hilarious “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.”
Why bring The X-Files back again?
Well, we didn’t really get a proper ending, so maybe it’s worthwhile for that reason alone? In My Struggle II, which is hard to even write without internally eye-rolling, the X-Files reprise ended on a cliffhanger that felt like the show just ran out of time.
When we last saw Mulder he was on the verge of succumbing to the so-called Spartan Virus. Desperate to save him, Scully races to his location on the 14th Street Bridge. She realizes that his only hope of survival is a stem cell transplant from their son William, given up for adoption shortly after his birth. Suddenly, a triangle-shaped UFO appears overhead, and the episode ends with Scully look up into a bright beam of light shining down from the craft.
That’s all we got. If William is flying the freaking spaceship that’s something we definitely want to see. So, let’s hope that when the series does come back there isn’t a time jump that skips over all of the good stuff.
What do fans need from The X-Files Season 11?
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) April 21, 2017
While we’d be satisfied if they just left well enough alone, there are some things that The X-Files needs to deliver when it comes back for Season 11.
Mulder and Scully need a happy ending. We get it, real life is complicated. Not every relationship works out the way you want. But this isn’t real life. After Mulder and Scully’s will-they-won’t-they affair was played for tension throughout most of the original series, having the couple estranged in Season 10 was an unrewarding choice. Let’s hope that The X-Files Season 11 brings them back together. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny — both amazing actors with fantastic chemistry — are an absolute joy to watch when they’re happy together on screen. Too much time was spent with them frowning at each other during the last outing.
The mythology needs fixing. The X-File’s legacy conspiracy — bounty hunters, the rebels, the black oil, the Syndicate and their global plot to save a select group from the alien colonization of Earth — is the anchor of the show’s mythology and central to the drama that makes it great. In Season 10, Chris Carter rejiggered all these classic elements into parts of a conspiracy within a conspiracy that stripped away much of the show’s mysterious sci-fi elements. In a way, he “midi-chlorian-ized” The X-Files. And that needs fixing.
Season 11 needs even more fun episodes. For fans of The X-File’s famed monster-of-the-week episodes, half of 2016’s X-Files mini-series was a delight. Three of the episodes, written and directed by the aforementioned Glen Morgan and James Wong, knocked it out of the park with off-the-wall humor and trippy genre send-ups like Rhys Darby’s were-monster. It’s the main thing that Season 10 got right. We need more of it in Season 11.
If The X-Files Season 11 can do all this while telling an interesting and satisfying story, we’ll deem it worthwhile. But if that can’t happen, it’s an idea best left on the shelf. All that said… we want to believe.