This is news that sci-fi fans will want to believe: The X-Files is coming back to television! Earlier today, FOX officially green-lighted a six-episode revival season of their hit science-fiction series. This will technically be the show's tenth season (not including the two feature film spinoffs), although it has been 13 years since Season 9 ended in May 2002. This news comes after many years of speculation about a potential third X-Files film (speculation often stoked by the cast members themselves), and indeed seems to have taken the place of that oft-rumored project.
Stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny will both be returning for the limited series event, as well as original creator/showrunner Chris Carter. "The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories," Carter said in the announcement. Diehard X-fans are likely already hard at work predicting what the new season will be about. Most are likely hoping for a continuation of the overarching alien conspiracy plot that threaded throughout the original series. However, Carter's comment about "these six stories" gives me pause.
Could it be that this resurrection won't be tied directly to the more serialized aspect of The X-Files? The showrunner certainly seems to be hinting that the six episodes will all tell separate stories, rather than one unified plot. While this might disappoint some, the return to the show's procedural roots is actually a cause for excitement. The show was at its best in its early seasons, when it was focused on the complicated dynamic between Scully and Mulder as they investigated bizarre cases. Oftentimes, when the show attempted to delve too far into the alien storyline, it became too convoluted and murky for its own good.
Whether Season 10 of The X-Files turns out to be one long story or six short ones, the series' resurrection is undoubtedly a great thing for television. Here's why:
The More Gillian Anderson, The Better
It's always satisfying to watch a talented actress finally reach her heyday in that most-abhorred of times: her *gasp* middle age. Anderson is thumbing her nose at Hollywood's expectations of her, becoming more successful now, at 46, than pretty much ever in her career. She drew acclaim for her supporting role as the enigmatic Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on NBC's Hannibal — and was promoted to a series regular for Season 3 accordingly. She also headlines the BBC/Netflix serial killer drama The Fall , where she kicks ass and takes names as the unapologetic Superintendent Stella Gibson. And now she gets to revive her star-making role as skeptical Agent Dana Scully. Starring roles in three television shows at once? I bow down to you, Anderson. Never leave my TV screen.
David Duchovny Could Use A New Project
The man most famous for playing Agent Fox Mulder cashed in a steady paycheck for seven years on Showtime's comedy Californication. But since that series wrapped in 2014, the only credit on Duchovny's resumé is NBC's upcoming "event series" Aquarius . He hasn't made a film of note since 2008's The X-Files: I Want To Believe, and even his Showtime show was only pulling in around 300,000-400,000 viewers per episode in its final season. A revival of his most famous show may be just what Duchovny needs to jumpstart his career and start measuring up to the enviable success of his co-star.
Chris Carter Deserves This
The X-Files creator has had a rough go of it lately. He developed a show called The After for Amazon, as part of the website's push for original programming to compete with the likes of Netflix and HuluPlus. A secretive post-apocalyptic drama, The After, was ordered to series in March 2014 after fan reaction to the first episode, posted on Amazon Prime, was largely positive. The show seemed poised to become the website's next big hit after Transparent... And then Amazon abruptly cancelled the show in January 2015 without having produced another episode. Carter deserves some good news in his life right now, and the resurrection of The X-Files definitely qualifies.
FOX Needs Another Hit
Of the seven new shows FOX premiered throughout the 2014-2015 season, only two have been renewed (Empire and Gotham, which is far from the ratings or critical success of its sibling), while three have been cancelled (Gracepoint, Mulaney, Red Band Society) and one is certainly headed in that direction (Backstrom). Only one show's fate is still undecided, the too-early-to-call comedy The Last Man On Earth. Now that Empire's first season has wrapped, FOX won't have those "record-breaking" headlines to fall back on anymore. It makes sense that network execs would want to capitalize on that momentum by cashing in on a recognizable name-brand. They're clearly hoping an X-Files revival will be a success... and so are its fans.
It's A Mea Culpa To Sci-Fi Fans Everywhere
There hasn't been a runaway science-fiction hit on television since Lost aired its series finale on ABC in May 2010. There have been other sci-fi shows on the air in the interim, but for every still-running show (BBC America's Orphan Black, CW's The 100), there are three fallen brethren (ABC's V, CW's The Tomorrow People, FOX's Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Ironic, then, that the network that cancelled Fringe is the one that's bringing back The X-Files. The move almost feels like a mea culpa to fans — and hopefully, if the resurrection is a success, it will inspire more networks to take a chance on the unfairly shafted genre.
Images: FOX (2); Andrew Cowie, Gabriel Bouys, Max Nash/Getty Images; Chuck Hodes/FOX