Season 10 of The X-Files had a number of fun and engaging stand-alone episodes. The clunkers, curiously enough, were the mythology-heavy first and last episodes. But it appears FOX heard the criticisms and will attempt to avoid the series’ confusing mytharc of super soldiers, secret alien invasions and the men collaborating with those unseen extraterrestrials when it returns for an eleventh season.
According to Entertainment Weekly, FOX entertainment chairman David Madden acknowledge the criticisms of last year’s mythology episodes during a session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. He said the first Season 10 episode had a “responsibility” to update the audience on Mulder and Scully’s (David Duchony and Gillian Anderson) whereabouts and connection to the FBI following a seven year absence from the air. Which doesn’t explain why the last Season 10 episode, with its unseen plague and alien abduction, was also poorly received. Nevertheless, Madden claimed to be free of such an obligation and that “[We] can just plunge in and tell the stories.”
It might seem like good news for those who prefer the stand-alone episodes, but Season 11 will still contain two mytharc stories in its ten-episode order, starting with the resolution to the Season 10 cliffhanger. “We start the season right up from where the season finale left off with that big helicopter and takes you right from there,” Madden said. He also teased that the story will see Mulder and Scully looking for their son, while “other characters from the previous mythology” will also appear.
Which sounds like nothing has changed at all from Season 10. I suppose the program’s inability to escape its mythology tracks with Mulder’s inability to escape his past. The aliens, the Cigarette-Smoking Man and the Conspiracy will always be there, waiting for Mulder and Scully to discover their most recent manifestation but never defeating them. Meanwhile, it’s still fun to watch the duo get lost in the woods as goofy takes on the Skunk Ape or vampires linger on the edges for a smoke break. If suffering through two hours of a conflict the show can never resolve is the price for eight hours of silly (or scary) stories inspired by American supernatural folklore, I suppose it isn’t the worst bill to pay.
The X-Files returns soon.