X Files: Victim of the 7-year itch

I think I’m a pretty low-maintenance viewer when it comes to serialized television.  Even when other viewers complain, I tend to remain loyal and optimistic about waning TV shows.  For example, I fiercely defended Lost up until the last 15 minutes of the finale– even through that whole “Nikki and Paolo” debacle (they were an important story-telling device to share plot points that the primary characters were unaware of. See?).  Because of that fact, I wouldn’t say I’m a very critical viewer.

The same may be true about X Files.  I finally completed all nine seasons last night, (I even stayed up until midnight– gah!), and I’m proud to say I watched every single one.  In fact, I enjoyed a vast majority of the episodes, even though I bet other viewers dropped out of the series ages before I even considered giving up.  There may have been weak episodes here-and-there, (the cultural mythology epis were consistently horrendous and embarrassing), but it wasn’t until somewhere around the end of season six and the beginning of season 7 that I sensed the impending doom of a failing series. Spoiler alert: I had no idea Duchovny left the series.

Being a 90′s chick, one might guess that I was familiar with X Files long before now, but I was still a kid when it first came out, and it was just creepy enough to upset my childlike sensibilities.  So I avoided it.  And later, as a teen, I was too busy with my social life to watch TV.

So now, thanks to online streaming, I am able to catch up on shows that the rest of the world loved ages ago.  And that’s why I’ve been watching X Files for the past year.  What can I say? I’m a late bloomer.

Things I loved:
1.  The puritanical chemistry between Mulder and Scully,
2. The blend of monster-of-the-week epis with the overriding story arc,
3. Scully’s hair (she’s one of my hair color idols),
4. The Lone Gunmen- I have a soft spot for super nerds.

Things I disliked:
1. As I said before, the cultural episodes were stereotypical and offensive,
2. The overriding story was too complex, and the episodes in which the arcs were addressed were spaced too far apart, for me to fully comprehend much of anything beyond the shape-shifting aliens and sentient black oil,
3. The ending!  Ick! (spoiler-alert) I’m always disappointed when my favorite sci-fi shows sign off with irrelevant religious overtones (Lost? Battlestar Galactica? I’m talking to you.) It just comes off as pandering and degenerative. Is it really that difficult to come up with a creative, yet tidy, ending that provides respect and relevancy to the plot which I just dedicated a couple hundred hours of my life?  No? Well then, let’s just dump all that pro-science garbage in the trash and tie it up with a nice, little spiritual bow to satisfy the religious, primarily Christian viewers out there.  A close-up of Scully’s cross necklace?  Don’t mind if I do, since the series dedicated maybe 3% to Scully’s faith, which is much more important than the scientific skepticism she consistently provided on the other 97% of the show.

Rant complete.

Let’s just say I was a little disappointed by the finale.  The tribunal was great, although some might say it was too mechanical and cliche.  I needed the tribunal because I forgotten a lot of the plot by the end of it, and the witnesses helped clear up a lot of my confusion.  But the writers flaked out and pulled the religion card, and left a lot of important questions in its wake. What lies ahead for Mulder and Scully? Did they go to Canada? Will the FBI pursue them? Will the X Files continue? Will Monica Reyes ever learn to speak proper Spanish?  Probablementy nada.

So, do I recommend the X Files to other new viewers? Absolutely.  Do I recommend the entire series?  Maybe, if you’re willing to risk watching increasingly bad episodes, and enjoy lame spiritual finales.  If not, you’ll maximize your enjoyment by dumping the series once Kathy Griffin shows up.  It’s all downhill after that.

 

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