If the truth is still out there, we still don't know what it is. In a fairly worrisome sign, Twentieth Century Fox didn't screen their new X-Files movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, in time for our paper's deadline. (That said, our review of I Want to Believe was up online by Thursday afternoon. Take that, evasive movie studio publicists!)
I wish they had screened it earlier, though, mostly just because I really want to see it. Re-watching some classic episodes on The X-Files: Revelations, a recent greatest hits DVD release, I remembered why I used to love the show: Strange and smart and sad and creepy, The X-Files sifted through the dregs of pulpy pop culture and whackjob conspiracy theories, and creator Chris Carter found ways to tell some blazingly original stories about everything from little gray men to Frankenstein creatures who sang Cher songs. Debuting in 1993 on Fox, the show gained a surprising amount of mainstream appeal, amassing a fervent army of fans who wrote way too much creeeeepy Mulder/Scully fanfic—and then everything about The X-Files went to shit, and now everyone hates it.
There are a few reasons as to why The X-Files started sucking: a change in tone and shooting location (from the then-unique Vancouver to the overly familiar Los Angeles); a depressingly lackluster feature film (The X-Files: Fight the Future); the phasing out of star David Duchovny and the unwelcome introduction of two boring-ass agents who were named neither "Mulder" nor "Scully." But worse was the show's creative bankruptcy: A precursor to Lost and Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files promised a grand, overarching story, and it utterly failed to deliver. Few shows have enjoyed as much success as The X-Files, but even fewer have then seen their fans turn their backs with such jilted bitterness.
Which leads us to now: Six years after The X-Files' craptacular series finale, here's another attempt at big-screen glory, and another attempt at salvaging the show's once-great reputation. I Want to Believe has a lot to live up to—not only in terms of matching the show's early quality, but also of reminding people why they cared in the first place.