Today’s interview: Do you want to believe in “The X-Files” again?

I’ve just seen The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe, and my review will be at ChristianityTodayMovies.com on Friday morning.

But before I say anything about the movie, I’m interviewing YOU.

I’m interested in your thoughts on any or all of the following questions…

  1. Are you planning on going to see The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe?
  2. Were you a fan of the show? If so, what did you like best about it? If not, why?
  3. Would you like the franchise to return on the big screen with more sequels?
  4. In the series and the first film, there was a lot of talk about “belief,” and there was a lot of cross imagery. Eventually, there was even a sort of virgin birth. Did you find that the show offered any substantial exploration of spiritual questions? Or was it just superficial?
  5. Or was this an over-hyped show that should stay buried?
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  • veritaspoet

    (Coming to this late, have seen it. No spoilers here.)

    1. Are you planning on going to see The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe?

    Yes, saw it Friday.

    2. Were you a fan of the show? If so, what did you like best about it? If not, why?

    Huge fan. I loved Mulder & Scully because they were so intelligent, and I loved the way the show touched upon themes of faith, life, God, etc. (Not always perfectly, but there was always room for fascinating discussion.)

    3. Would you like the franchise to return on the big screen with more sequels?

    If done right, yes.

    4. In the series and the first film, there was a lot of talk about “belief,” and there was a lot of cross imagery. Eventually, there was even a sort of virgin birth. Did you find that the show offered any substantial exploration of spiritual questions? Or was it just superficial?

    It was superficial. Scully wore a cross necklace and was somewhat of a Catholic, but it never really seemed to have much impact in her daily life.

    There was a lot of discussion about religion/belief, but I’m not sure what the conclusions were. It seemed to keep things superficial, implying that believing in aliens or believing in God is the same sort of belief. But I can’t really fault them – there’s only so far you can go in a TV show. The fact that the topic was brought up at all (and so often!) was great. It lead to a lot of fascinating conversations with people through the years.

    5. Or was this an over-hyped show that should stay buried?

    I was a latecomer fan, about S6. (I’d watched it before then, but not regularly.) The quality declined through the years, but I still think it’s still one of the best shows ever made.

  • http://www.truffin.com tctruffin

    1. If not at the midnight showing, at the first matinee on Friday…and maybe more than once.
    2. Erm…yes. Like best…interplay of skeptic and believer dealing with things that have no explanation. The fact that sometimes the roles of skeptic and believer weren’t clear. The atmosphere. The writing.
    3. We’ll see. Part of me wonders if what worked in the X-Files wasn’t part of the zeitgeist of the 90′s, and I’m not sure the filmmakers could coax that same feeling today.
    4. “Any substantial exploration” Well, I’m not sure of the binary here between “any substantial” and superficial. At times, yes, it was superficial, but there were also in the 9 years of the show serious questions being asked and wrestled with, especially in the areas of epistemology.
    5. Like any show that seems to grow large in the popular imagination, the show was neither as consistently good as some rabid fans might thing nor as banal or trite as detractors wished.

  • http://quadrivium.wordpress.com/ taj

    1. Planning on it…but you know what they say about plans.

    2. Yes, off and on. I appreciated the interplay between the believer and the skeptic, and Carter and his writers handled the dichotomy well. Though the Mulder of the later seasons did not quite have the same flaky charm as he did the beginning. The creators built a solid mythology and created some great hours of television. Unfortunately, the whole thing started caving in on itself and I lost interest.

    3. Depends. I’d like to see the movie do well, and a stand-alone story, as Carter says the new film is, seems like a wise idea.

    4. You know, it’s been so long since I’ve watched them, I don’t know how well my perception would hold under scrutiny. So let me just point you back to the second sentence of #2.

    5. By the end it was a little overhyped. At the peak of its popularity (I’d say roughly around the time the first film was released), this was one of the best shows on television, and it really could do no wrong. Here’s hoping this new film can retrieve some of the same magic.

  • http://qheather.blogspot.com pmbnshb

    1. absolutely!
    2. yup, though there are definitely episodes i don’t like and/or won’t watch (gross factor). and while the post-mulder(and lotta scully) seasons were not as good, there were still some really great episodes in there as well. what i liked best? sexy, witty, smart, questioning characters in a scifi setting. that’s really all i ever want. ;)
    3. only if it’s done well. will be interesting to see how this one turns out.
    4. i would say that the spiritual exploration was a bit muddled. sometimes there was depth, and that was wonderful, but it could have been more often, for my taste. it certainly was one of the few good options at the time, as someone else pointed out, and it’s rare to see shows as risky as x-files was.
    5. absolutely not!

  • ignorantpeasant

    1. Definately.

    2. Yes. I discovered it just two years ago, and checked out all of the seasons from my library (not at once). It was so silly – convoluted and bizarre and contradictory. And in spite of the tension they tried to insert, you knew that they would always want to leave open the possibility of sequels.

    3. Perhaps one more. I do like Conclusions.

    4. For Hollywood, i’d say it was fairly substantial. Actually, i liked the vagueness of it – the unexplanations. Because some things simply don’t make sense. Again and again, the characters (and the audience) had to accept the answer that there wasn’t any answer. Mulder’s search for the Truth is often quixotic, but that’s what makes it so real in spite of all the silly arcs and monsters and things.

    5. No. Even if one couldn’t appreciate the show for itself, any show that successful (another one would be M*A*S*H) is interesting simply because of what it tells you about the audience.

  • aravis7276

    Are you planning on going to see The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe?
    Waiting for the reviews…so far, not planning on it based on reviews.

    Were you a fan of the show? If so, what did you like best about it? If not, why?

    Huge fan of the show, but I stopped watching after Scully had William, or at least sometime around the time that Doggett and Reyes took over. I recently went back and bought all the seasons and watched them all the way through to the end. I loved the show, but I wish they had a better, consistent arc.

    Would you like the franchise to return on the big screen with more sequels?

    Yes and no. I almost think the show needs to wait longer…perhaps have a reboot. I do think that they could do a Star Trekish sort of thing with their movies, but they probably won’t. I don’t like when Chris Carter and Spotnitz have so much control over the show, the movie, etc. I prefered the stuff of Gilligan, Wong, and both Morgan brothers. They seemed to produce their best stuff.

    In the series and the first film, there was a lot of talk about “belief,” and there was a lot of cross imagery. Eventually, there was even a sort of virgin birth. Did you find that the show offered any substantial exploration of spiritual questions? Or was it just superficial?

    Within the context of what else was on tv, I thought it did bring a lot of depth to tv. I thought it really did touch on some major questions regarding spirituality and the like, but I don’t think it was developed the way I would have liked. I love Scully’s whole faith journey throughout the show, and I thought that played out pretty well.

    Or was this an over-hyped show that should stay buried?

    I just don’t know if the X-Files will work as well in a post-9/11 world. It seems that when the show came out, it really touched a nerve and resonated with a lot of people. These were the days of Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc., and I think this show capitalized on some of our fears or latent paranoia.

    If they bring the show back, they need to get back to what made the show so good – a right mix of humor, suspense and mystery. When the show started to take itself too seriously, I think it began to lose quality and uniqueness.

  • facesunveiled

    I’ll probably see it, as much out of loyalty as anything else. The last season or two, i.e. after Duchovny “left,” weren’t great, but the show still had some of my favorite hours of tv. Incidentally, some of their best episodes (Clyde Bruckman, Jose Chung, Beyond the Sea, Postmodern Prometheus) were the stand alone ones that didn’t have to do with the alien mythology stuff, so I’m hoping the movie takes after those.

    Is there a reason you put up the Canadian poster? The release date on there isn’t the American date, so it might confuse some people.

  • http://thomwade.wordpress.com/ thomwade

    1.Yeah…I hope to see it.
    2. I was a fan. I felt it faltered in the final two seasons. But the characters and stories were solid most of the series. It managed to blend many genres quite well. You might have a sci-fi story one week and a horror story the next. And they didn’t seem lost when they ventured into new territory genre wise.
    3. I am open to more sequels…but I would prefer avoid revisiting the Mythology to much, as it became so convoluted it stopped making sense.
    4.I don’t think it was so much superficial as much as it was an outsider’s view. And an outsiders view aimed at a larger audience than Christians. So…it was more…seeker…and sometimes in faith I find myself more on the “I Want to believe” side than I do the “I Believe” side.

  • nathanrouse

    thanks for the heads up.

  • http://lookingcloser.org Jeffrey Overstreet

    Nathan wrote:

    Jeffrey, if possible will you try your best not to employ a tone of disappointment in your headline to the review if you dislike it? I check your site daily via RSS and won’t get to see XF until later in the weekend and if your headline says “So sad about X-Files” I’ll see it and be sad….thanks!

    I’ll try to avoid revealing notes in my headlines for a couple of days. But my review isn’t going to be posted here. It’ll be at CT Movies. They don’t really run headlines, but the sub-heading is *supposed* to give some indication, so you may want to avoid that.

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com odgie

    I lost interest after too many “this one reveals EVERYTHING” episodes that went absolutely nowhere.

  • nathanrouse

    1. I will most assuredly be seeing XF2.

    2. I own all the original editions of the DVDs (i.e. not the newer slimcase ones) so yes, I am a fan. While the show drew you in with its bizarre cases, what hooked me at least was the ongoing strengthening of the M/S relationship. These are two characters who, by and large, remain romance free (until near the end at least and even then, was what they had romantic?) but nonetheless grew to care very deeply for each other. My other ‘like best about it’ answer would be Mulder’s sense of humor, dry and sarcastic. “Before anyone judges, need I remind you we are in the Arctic.” -Mulder stripping in S1 episode Ice.

    3. If competently handled … scratch that, even if mildly incompetently handled I would love a continuing franchise with these two wonderful characters.

    4. You know, I think it’s easy to dismiss XF as “Hollywood spirituality” … but I think I disagree. Certainly they never come out and declare a message of salvation, but the show deals quite seriously with the issue of faith. Whether it’s dealing with the nature of evil or, even more powerfully, the ongoing struggle Scully has with reconciling her faith with the things she sees and experiences through her time in the Xfiles. I feel like the show deals as honestly as it can with a sober examination of her character’s faith. And as I watched the final scene of the last episode when it broadcast in May of ’02 with Scully and Mulder conversing in a hotel room a la the first episode of season 1, I couldn’t help but think that, at least for Mulder and his quest … he had been “saved”…and it was Scully’s faith that got him there.

    5. Far from overhyped; I used to believe that even the worst XFiles episode – and there are some stinkers – was better than everything else on TV at the time.

    Jeffrey, if possible will you try your best not to employ a tone of disappointment in your headline to the review if you dislike it? I check your site daily via RSS and won’t get to see XF until later in the weekend and if your headline says “So sad about X-Files” I’ll see it and be sad….thanks!

  • aslanfrodo

    1) Yes, planning on seeing it.
    2) Yes, am a fan of the TV show. Amazing production values, dealing with the supernatural/unexplained, always interesting/riveting.
    3) Yes, back for more big screen sequels, please.
    4) It dealt with spiritual issues in a way that definitely talked of “belief” more than “belief in a Divine Being,” but at least it tried to grapple with the issues. Is it a Malick film or Babette’s Feast? No, but it certainly dealt with evil and its existence/reality in concrete ways. (RE: What everyone is talking about with The Dark Knight)
    5) NOT overhyped. Not hyped enough!

  • http://nebblog.blogspot.com/ nebbo

    1. I’d like to see it in the theater if I can.
    2. I was a fan. I liked the understated acting and occasional humor. I liked the acknowledgement of the supernatural without glorifying it. I liked the intelligence of most of the scripts and stories. I never felt insulted.
    3. I’d like to see the franchise continue. I especially miss the Lone Gunmen.
    4. I don’t feel the show ever offered substantive exploration of real spiritual questions. Sometimes it came close, but always seemed to veer away in that “everybody must follow their own path” Hollywood spirituality way.
    5. I don’t think the show was over-hyped, but I would love to see it make a stab at a scripturally-based treatment of spiritual issues. Do I think this has a chance of happening? Not really.

    Nancy F
    Kingston, WA

  • zoecarnate

    Alas, no time to interact with your thoughtful questions. But I want to believe! In Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets. Yeaaa-h. And aliens too. :)

    Looking forward to the film.


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