Mulder has been abducted by aliens and Scully is mysteriously pregnant and maybe The X-Files is worth watching again. The eighth season (TV2 ran it straight after the seventh) kicked off with a terrific two-parter packed with the stylish illogic that made the series ludicrous and cool at the same time.
Scully jogged miles across the Arizona desert at night in high heels. FBI agents in matching shirts, ties and off-road vehicles surrounded a local school but still managed to lose the two children they were chasing. A flying saucer that turned out to be a helicopter turned out to be - hey! - a flying saucer all along.
Inside the ship Mulder was strapped to an alien dental chair and calling for help but neither Scully or Skinner could hear hear because they were standing in the dark arguing.
"This is going to far," snapped Skinner.
"No," said Scully. "The problem is - it hasn't gone far enough."
They could have been discussing the last series. After successfully moving to the big screen in 1998 The X-Files never quite made it back. The tension between Scully and Mulder evaporated: she looked bored and he looked fat. The exceptions were the start and finish of each season - the "mythology" stories that are released on video and link up with the movie to form one long, paranoid conspiracy theory.
Series creator Chris Carter's plan is that the mythology will eventually reveal all: the cigarette-smoking man, Mulder's abducted sister, Scully's alien pregnancies, Skinner's infestation with deadly nano-technology - everything. He has his work cut out for him. After eight years The X-Files has strung together so many ideas it's become a running audit of ghost stories and urban legends. Scully and Mulder are Jungian G-men, endlessly posting field reports on modern America's collective unconscious.
As the nation's fears multiplied, the work piled up. Now, in response to the latest round of pay negotiations with actor David Duchovny, Agent Mulder has been snatched by aliens and is busy having his face drilled.
Mulder's replacement is John Doggett (Robert Patrick), a Marlboro-gargling dead-eye who might not be on Scully's side. His scepticism finally releases her from the one-note line that science can explain everything. She's becoming Mulder, the National Enquirer subscriber who wants to believe.
Which is good, because when a "giant bat-like creature" appeared in the third episode it was very hard to believe. Halfway through Scully wondered if there was a scientific explanation but she changed her mind when it tried to bite her head off. Doggett shot it. Afterwards, they debated science vs. religion with the clarity of an FBI memo.
"Do you believe that thing is still out there and will one day come after us, Agent Doggett?" asked Agent Scully.
"I'm pretty sure I hit it, Agent Scully," said Agent Doggett.
Tonight Scully discovers murder in the rural mid-west, which in this series usually means hillbilly cults and poor cell-phone reception. No guessing which is the greatest fear.
(NZ Herald, 2006)