For some reason, in the year of our lord 2015, whenever someone asks me what my favorite TV show is, I still say "The X-Files."
The nearly 15 years since Fox's sci-fi series ended have given me so many worthy successors: "The Wire," "The Sopranos," "Breaking Bad." Hell, I'll just say it: Those years have given me so many better shows.
But, for some reason, there just can't be any other favorite of mine than "The X-Files." Maybe it's my inner '90s kid clinging to a hunk of his childhood zeitgeist, his formative cultural identity. Maybe it's the fact I spent almost $1,000 to buy its nine DVD season sets back in the early 2000s, back before anyone knew any better. Maybe it's Gillian Anderson — just, Gillian Anderson.
Whatever it is, "The X-Files" is still my favorite TV show — my multiple-rewatch, merchandise-hoarding favorite TV show.
So when Fox announced "The X-Files" would return after those 15 years for a limited run of six episodes beginning in January, I had some feelings. Here are five of those feelings:
1. Please retcon it.
A sure sign of "X-Files" fandom is not only having watched its last few seasons, but having tried to make sense of them.
There was bad storytelling, sure. Like in the "Biogenesis"-"Sixth Extinction"-"Amor Fati" trilogy, where Mulder develops telepathy in the presence of an alien artifact, but Scully doesn't, despite both of them having been infected by the same alien virus. Or almost everything having to do with Gibson Praise. Or the black oil. Or ...
But there were also just a lot of bad stories, like the Super Soldiers, like William, like freaking Burt Reynolds.
That's why I'd welcome a sort of retcon that restores the premise of the show's best years: the alien colonization plot anchored on Earth by the Cigarette-Smoking Man and the rest of the Syndicate. If creator Chris Carter can bring back William B. Davis' CSM, who was presumed killed in the series finale, then he can go even further back to season six's "Two Fathers"-"One Son" arc and bring back the rest of Old Smokey's co-conspirators.
Even though it's been 15 years, we'd surely notice if Carter decided to Ctrl-Z his worse calls from those later years — but I doubt any of us would mind.
Oooh! And Krycek. Un-kill Krycek, too. You can leave his arm off, though.
2. About 2012...
Speaking of the alien conspiracy, the only real revelation of "The X-Files'" otherwise flat series finale was the fact that "the date" — as in, "the date is set" — was Dec. 22, 2012. So, it being 2016, Carter will obviously have to explain why Mulder and Scully's world isn't in flames, populated with alien-human hybrids, or whatever exactly the aliens' endgame was.
3. Mulder on Tinder.
One question commonly asked in response to the news of "The X-Files'" resurrection is how paranormal phenomena would remain unexplained in 2015, when everyone has iPhones and other tools of capture and interpretation.
OK, sure, it's a valid question. But the one that really perplexes me is how Mulder would remain unoccupied for even a minute in 2015, when he has Tinder, streaming Internet porn and so many other tools of nursing a sex addiction such as his. Then again, with the news that David Duchovny's life imitates his art, maybe that's another thing that'll get retconned.
4. Don't omit Doggett.
For many, Robert Patrick's John Doggett is the personification of "The X-Files'" decline, his introduction in season eight the singular moment when the show went from decade-defining greatness to jumping that shark.
That's wrong for a couple of reasons. First, the show's eighth season was better and more inspired than its seventh, easily.
Second, Doggett was just a good character. The straight-laced veteran was not only a reinvigorating presence on "The X-Files," thanks to Patrick's refocused bad-guy charisma, but he triggered something we'd been waiting years for: Scully's belief in the possibility that science couldn't explain everything. Doggett was the biggest mile-marker yet on Scully's road from skeptic to believer.
Yes, I know it contradicts my plea to take the show back to season six's continuity, but I don't care. To leave Patrick's Doggett out of the new "X-Files" would be criminal.
5. Make Scully the lead.
Of all things, it's been Kumail Nanjiani's "'The X-Files' Files" podcast that's helped me realize how Anderson's Scully is the show's more sympathetic protagonist — and, being a medical doctor and an FBI agent, obviously the more badass one.
I'd like to see the show's reincarnation acknowledge that somehow: Tell more stories from her point of view. Make her right more often. Stop letting Mulder be such a dick.
Now, Carter shouldn't tinker with Anderson and Duchovny's dynamic too much. Their first feisty conversation in that cluttered J. Edgar Hoover Building basement was the reason so many of us even kept watching the show. Their chemistry was once-in-a-lifetime.
Come to think of it: That's why "The X-Files" is still my favorite TV show.