The truth is still out there, folks — and we've seen it! OK, maybe we haven't seen the elusive "truth," but we did catch the first new episode of "The X-Files" relaunch (not set to air on Fox until January) with a few thousand enthusiastic fans at New York Comic Con.
Series creator Chris Carter and series stars David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner) were all on hand to chat all things "The X-Files" with super-fan Kumail Nanjiani following the screening of "My Struggle." Sadly, the goddess known as Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) could not attend — but she did send an adorable video to say hello and hoping those gathered have a "most delicious time." (Check!)
Here are the highlights from "The X-Files" panel, along with our spoiler-free impressions of the first ep...
We still want to believe.
"My Struggle" is a solid hour of television. What does that mean? Well, after The Movie That Shall Not Be Named, it means that "The X-Files" has managed to find some relevancy in the post-9/11 world, while still maintaining many of the formulas that worked in its original run.
Mulder is as "spooky" as ever. Scully is still sternly pragmatic. And Skinner continues to be weary of the messes Mulder and Scully somehow drag him into. The current mess? Mulder may have found someone even more paranoid than himself in the form of "Truth Squad" host Tad O'Malley (played wonderfully here by Joel McHale). When O'Malley offers Mulder and explanation for seemingly every loose end, misdirect, and dead end of the last 10 years, Mulder can't help but bite. Scully may or may not begrudgingly follow...
And what of our favorite truth-seeking duo? Well, since we last checked in, Scully and Mulder have not only broken up but seem to be engaged in some kind of amiable estrangement — after everything they've been through, they can only drift so far apart. The duo's personal dynamic gets some quality screen time in this episode. We come to understand what came between them, and there are definitely glimmers of hope that they will be able to fix whatever has been broken. (Or, as one awesome fan asked Carter: "Don't you think they've earned it after 20 years?")
When the ep isn't ruminating on the state of the Scully/Mulder relationship, it is throwing some serious mythology at us. Carter does not waste anytime attempting to situate "The X-Files" in the current cultural context — and he does a respectable job.
"It's the perfect time to be telling an 'X-Files' story," Carter said during the panel, and it's obvious that he put a lot of thought into how the government conspiracy theories so prevalent in "The X-Files" original run still work in today's world where the government has even greater ability to know exactly what we are doing with our time.
All in all, it was a competent hour of television that seemingly managed to pull off a near-impossible task: convincing both new and returning viewers alike that this story is still relevant and that, in an increasingly crowded TV market, it's still worth hanging out with Mulder and Scully.
...And so does the fandom.
There were cheers. There were tears. There were jazz hands. (They were Duchovny's jazz hands.) As Pileggi put it, looking out at the thousands of people gathered in the NYCC venue: "We have not only held our fans for so many years, but we've got new generations of fans. It's just so amazing.”
Though the bulk of the event was made up by the screening of the ep, a handful of lucky fans did get a chance to ask questions. What did we learn? Well, we know that the season will be made up of two mythology-heavy episodes — the first and the last — and four monster-of-the-week cases. We know that The Lone Gunmen, the trio of hacker-genuises who so often helped Mulder and Scully in their conspiracy-hunting, will be back. And we know that Mulder and Scully have "hit a bump" in the road of their relationship.
And what of future episodes past its scheduled six-episode run? Here's what Duchovny had to say: "I'm really grateful to you guys and for Chris to letting us play these characters again. If it so happens that there's an appetite for more, as he has me say in the show: You have my number."
"The X-Files" will premiere Sunday, Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. as part of a two-night event. The six-episode run will continue the following night (Monday) in its regular time slot at 8 p.m. See you then, G-people!