Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Time for the Revival To Start, an In-Depth Review from New Yorker Mag

Just been a little too busy on other projects to get more surveys uploaded, sad to say.

So I'll just provide a link and some quotable points from the New Yorker's recent review of the revived series AIRING TOMORROW NIGHT OMG IT'S ALMOST HERE.

The "nostalgic" science fiction, as it were:

The weaknesses of “The X-Files”—tendentious dialogue, an alien conspiracy that made no sense—were obvious from the beginning. Still, the show had two real strengths, and they grew with time. The first, of course, was the gentle, intellectual romance between Mulder and Scully. The second was a vibe of improvisational zaniness that remained undiminished for nearly nine years. Fox’s advance publicity had made “The X-Files” look like a straight-faced, alien-themed procedural. (What a drag that would have been.) In fact, the show was sly, hilarious, and unpredictable—it was, in a word, unprofessional, in the best sense. Often, it achieved that rarest of artistic virtues, a genuine feeling of spontaneity...
...Against this material, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny turned out to be ideal straight men. They could carry the show anywhere, even as they communicated, through a slight strain in Mulder’s voice or a small twist in Scully’s lip, that they were in on the joke. Nine seasons of flying saucers would have been unbearable. Because of its playfulness, the show was a joy...
...More fundamentally, nostalgia is central to the appeal of “The X-Files.” It’s true that, back in 1993, there was an au-courant quality to the show: it captured a moment of post-Cold-War, dawn-of-the-Internet paranoia, and capitalized on the alien-abduction craze. Essentially, though, “The X-Files” had its gaze set firmly on the past. Huddled in his subterranean office, Mulder was like a college-radio d.j. surrounded by old records; he was a connoisseur of the weird, a gatherer of nerd-knowledge about the sci-fi and horror stories of yesteryear. As an investigator, that knowledge—shared with Scully using an old-school slide projector—was his tactical advantage...

It rambles a bit into intellecual navel-gazing but otherwise is a challenging, honest read.


Um, one hopes.

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