'The X-Files' Early Buzz: A Missed Opportunity Or A Return To Form?

Will the upcoming six episodes of The X-Files bring the series' back to its former glory? The last time we saw Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) was in The X-Files: I Want to be Believe — a major disappointment back in 2008. After rumblings of another film, they decided to bring the characters back to the small screen, and according to the early reactions, the new mini-season gets off to a rough start.

After the jump, read reviews for the upcoming premiere.

The X-Files early buzz isn't great, sadly, but keep in mind, Fox only sent the premiere episode to TV critics. Those who reviewed the first hour of the series say it's not a very promising start, though.

Variety's review, especially, is quite negative:

Yet while the performers have aged in only the most flattering of ways, and Fox has milked the build-up for all it's worth, there's a palatable feeling that everyone is just going through the motions, despite the durability of the show's central conceit about distrusting authority and the prospect of shadowy conspiracies reaching into the highest levels of government and business. In fact, Duchovny is saddled with a speech detailing the extrapolated depths of those tentacles — one that might be the longest single piece of conspiratorial exposition put on film since the closing summation in "JFK."

Throughout the premiere, it's simply hard to escape the prevailing malaise of this being a deal-driven exercise, a chance to cash in on the name recognition of the title in a format that mitigated the time commitment for all concerned, particularly Duchovny and Anderson. Heck, they're even back shooting in Vancouver, the town Duchovny rather famously pushed to leave during the show's heyday.

Tim Goodman is a big fan of the show, but The Hollywood Reporter critic was also left disappointed by the premiere:

We can debate endlessly whether it was even a good idea to bring back The X-Files from the dustbin of popular culture after years of being revered as a thing that once was great, just as we can argue that Fox should have sent more than one (of the six) episodes to critics to get an accurate reflection of what this special revamp is all about.

But The X-Files is indeed back and we did indeed get only get one. There's no getting around that.

Or this: It's not very good.

Given that the second episode airs one night later (Monday, 8 p.m.) and wasn't sent, that's not a good sign.

Now, there's still hope left in the room that the five episodes to follow will be good, just like there's hope somewhere out there that Twin Peaks also won't be bad when Showtime revisits it. But given there's only this hour to go on, let's get started with the alien autopsy.

Back in October, when Fox showed the pilot to fans at the New York Comic-Con, some of the early reviews echoed what The Hollywood Reporter and Variety had to say.

Here's an excerpt from Indiewire's review:

Keeping in mind this is only one-sixth of the series set to debut this January, there's plenty of time to recover. If the coming episodes — written by fan favorite "X-Files" veterans and focusing more on monsters than mythology — can hone, focus or somehow support the huge scope established all too quickly, Season 10 could still be a very welcome revival. But after one hour, I seem stuck in a strange place of wishing there were more episodes coming — giving them more time to work out the kinks — and wishing we would've never awoken this massive beast at all. While things could get better, they could also get a lot worse.

Comic Book Resources, on the other hand, were more positive:

There's plenty in the episode for X-philes, including a return to Mulder's forgotten office, where pencils still protrude from the ceiling. And the lurid enigmas personal and extraterrestrial that are the show's calling card are easy to step back into thanks to delicate expositional dialogue and the comfortable chemistry of Anderson and Duchovny. Admittedly, the former eases back into her role more seamlessly than the latter, who strains to bring believable passion into Mulder's climactic monologue. But it's difficult to care when you're just so glad they're back.

Don't give up on the show quite yet — and it's not like any real X-Files fan would. It sounds like the premiere episode is hamstrung by exposition, which has often been the case for even great TV shows. It's too bad The X-Files, apparently, doesn't return on a high note, but there's still plenty of time for the Fox show to wow viewers with the other five episodes.

The limited series premieres on Sunday January 24th at 10 p.m.