Knee-jerk review: Fox's "The X-Files" revival

1. The ridiculously complicated UFO conspiracy mythology that so clearly excites writer-director-creator Chris Carter has always been, to us, one of the more frustrating and unsatisfying elements of the "X-Files" experience.  We loved the standalone procedural cases, which were often quite brilliant, but to get to those, each season you always had to sit through 3 or 4 ponderous episodes about this byzantine mythology that kept getting more and more convoluted.
2. That's the problem with this first episode of this... whatever this is.  Reboot?  Revival?  Mulder and Scully are immediately and abruptly back drawn into this same world of lies and coverups and aliens and evil government conspiracies.
3. But what's most upsetting is that in this new revival, Carter is now suggesting that the entire "X-Files" mythology that unspooled for all those years on Fox was just a smokescreen, a lie covering up an even bigger, badder conspiracy.
4. Stop it.  Just stop.
5. And all of that vague double-talk dialogue about who's doing what and why and how it's all so important to everything.  It just makes our head hurt.  Bring back the monsters of the week.
6. David Duchovny's Fox Mulder was always low-key, but here it's like he just woke up from a long nap.
7. At least Gillian Anderson is trying.  Kind of.
8. Whoever decided to cast Joel McHale in a serious role... what were you thinking?  Seriously.  What?
9. And big demerits for lending even a little credence to the idea that the 9/11 attacks was committed by the U.S. government.  That's not funny.  A lot of people - fueled by real-life Fox Mulders on the internet where being a crackpot isn't charming but actually dangerous - really believe that nonsense and it's hurting the country.  Not cool, "X-Files."  Not cool.  End of rant.
10. The same vintage opening credit sequence reminds us how far television and pop culture have come since those creepy Friday nights on Fox.  This isn't exactly a good thing for "The X-Files."
11. We also forgot about the incredibly moody score by Mark Snow.  Those mournful electronic strings are just so distinctive.  A big part of the "X-Files" vibe.
12. There are all kinds of ways that the show could have reunited Fox and Mulder and reopened the X-Files unit.  This is definitely one of those ways.  We just don't think it was the best way.
13. Will it get better?  We're hopeful.  But realistic.

Update: the second episode is better.

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