X-Files reboot: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson fail to impress critics


The reviews are out there for the first episode of the X-Files revival – and the critical verdict so far is distinctly underwhelming.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return in The X-Files.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return in The X-Files. 

Blame it on over-heightened expectations or the world having moved on since Scully and Mulder first began their quest to uncover the truth, but the new mini-series, which has begun airing in the US, has fallen flat with critics.

For The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman, Sunday night's opener was "messy" and "tedious", leaving him questioning the very idea of a revival.

"Maybe sometimes it's better to leave things alone, to let them be about their time and place," he writes. "Unearthing them for further exploration just proves you can't go back again, you can't recreate the original magic — and you run the risk of raising the question of whether things were so magical in the first place."

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly declared himself a fan of the original cult series but felt let down by the reboot.


"Count me among those disappointed by the opening hour of The X-Files revival, a clunky hour so burdened by service to so many goals it could hardly entertain the way The X-Files used to," he writes.

Deadline Hollywood critic Dominic Patten was more positive, saying the relationship between the now older and wiser two main protagonists remains satisfyingly front and centre.

"This is a revival that is generous to its fanbase and lovingly focused on the core of the original show: the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson and their characters' complicated relationship," he says.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernstein from the UK's Telegraph feels that The X-Files has lost much of its allure in an era when whacked-out conspiracy theories are now ten-a-penny online.

"Today, the comments section of any website no matter how monstrous or obscure, is its own X-Files," he writes. "Everyone's got insane theories they need to share. Everyone believes the worst about what we eat, what we watch, what we read and who we vote for."

However, despite the poor reviews, fan reaction on Twitter was predictably buoyant - as was the ratings figure of about 13.5 million for the opening episode.

As for Australian fans, you'll have to wait until Sunday night - 8.30pm on Ten - to (legitimately) make up your own minds about the new X-Files. That's a week after the broadcast in the US.

Call that a conspiracy if you will.