Resurrections: X-Files and Heroes

The moral seems to be, don’t bring back old shows. Or maybe don’t bring back old shows that weren’t that good or popular by the time they went off air. It’s one thing to reboot/reimagine shows, that can work well to use core concepts and ideas but fix problems or make them relevant to today’s audience. But just pulling the old series off the shelf and starting it again just doesn’t seem to work.

The X-Files: Season 10
xfilesWas The X-Files always this cheesy and obvious? I adored the first few seasons, in the way only an obsessive fifteen year old can, but drifted away from the series when the more convoluted conspiracy based seasons coincided with going to university and not being able to watch regularly. It just seemed to lose the fun and become way too complicated. But I’ve remained a fan of the idea of the series, and the talents of David Duchovney and Gillian Anderson continue to draw me to their offerings (respectively pretty much the only reasons I watched Aquarius and The Fall). So despite missing about 4 seasons of plot, I figured I’d give the resurrection a try.

The first episode started out ok. I liked the way that time had clearly passed and both characters and the world had moved on. Mulder was lured out of reclusion by the potential for a massive government conspiracy about aliens and Scully was… well I’m not sure why she was suddenly involved again. I expected the insane conspiracy to be debunked with just enough cryptic hints left to support the possibility. Instead it was left completely open. Sounding utterly nuts, but left floating like it’s actually a possibility.

Then the second episode seemed to jump straight back to season 2. Mulder and Scully are back to being regular FBI agents investigating are they/aren’t they weird mysteries while engaging in are they/aren’t they in a relationship meaningful looks. The awkward shoehorning in of references to their son, with a disjointed explanation for those of us that weren’t caught up with the backstory, and cheesy flashbacks was just amateur.

Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be bothering with the rest of the series. It made me nostalgic for the original early episodes, but just reminded me of why I stopped watching. To top it off, it just wasn’t very well produced and looked quite cheap. Maybe quality and expectations for television series have gone up in the intervening decade, but this felt unpolished and old.

Heroes Reborn
heroesrebornWas Heroes always this smug? I think the answer is probably yes. It did rely heavily on throwing lots of ideas, characters and styles at the screen and just let them all fend for themselves. The audience is left to just sort of perk up when something they’re interested in goes by and then drift off in the other sections, and if you drifted out for something that the writers later decide was important, well tough luck on you.

The reason that Heroes managed ok for the first season or so was that the characters were interesting enough that you didn’t drift off too often. But no one in the first episode of Heroes reborn grabbed me at all. It looks like a lot has happened in the gap between the series (although I now can’t even remember whether I made it through all the episodes or not) with (I think) the heroes becoming public and accepted and then (at the start of the new episode) them being… I don’t actually know. They seemed to be the target of an attack and yet then vilified as the terrorists? I didn’t understand. And I didn’t actually care.

I think some of the original characters are going to cameo in later episodes, but for now the only character really returning is Noah (Claire’s dad, the glasses man) and he was hardly the most exciting thing from the original series. The new characters, well I don’t really know what they can do, who they are or, to be honest, have that much interest in finding out.


The Upfronts 2015: Fox

Fox network logoAm I growing cynical or are upfronts rolling round faster and with less actually interesting television happening in between? Oh well, here we are again!
First up are Fox. They only had two new shows out of seven that were renewed one comedy and one actually pretty critically acclaimed drama. With another three shows cancelled that means almost a full half of their shows have gone and frankly the remaining ones aren’t really setting the world alight. With American Idol going into its final season as well, it doesn’t look good over at Fox.

Finished or Cancelled
gleeI used to absolutely adore Glee, it was stupid but it made me happy. Gradually the happiness just got drowned out by the stupid and I gave up in the middle of season 4. The show committed my cardinal sin, it sacrificed coherent characters to drive short term plots. I also just never fell in love with the new characters as much as the original cast. Ratings dwindled, critical response plummeted and it was given a sixth and final season to wind things up.

The FollowingI was watching The Following, but frankly I lost enthusiasm somewhere in the middle of season 2 and it’s been on a death spiral for me for a while. I’ve watched the first few episodes of season 3 and it just wasn’t doing anything for me. It was still brutal but the relentlessness of that just disconnected me from any emotional level and hence there didn’t really seem much of a reason to watch.
New series Gracepoint made it through the whole season, but the American remake of Broadchurch seemed pretty pointless from the get go, particularly with David Tennant re-doing his performance.
Also cancelled: Utopia, Backstrom, Mulaney, Weird Loners, Red Band Society (all new shows).

Returning Series
BonesI apparently don’t watch any of the series on Fox! I used to watch Bones which will return for season 11, I gave up on it at a couple of years ago because I was frustrated with Brennan’s groundhog day character and just bored by the plots. I enjoyed the episodes of Sleepy Hollow that I saw, but didn’t really get into it enough to stick with it but it’s renewed for a 3rd season.
I have Empire sat on my Sky box to try, so that might make the cut. I tried Gotham but found it cliché, forced and disappointing.
Also returning: Comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine (3), The New Girl (4); new series The Last Man on Earth (2) and animations The Simpsons (renewed for seasons 27 AND 28), Family Guy (13) and Bob’s Burgers (7)
Wayward Pines (the M Night Shyamalan series) has only just stated so no word on whether it will be renewed.
Breaking news – just had to move The Mindy Project out of the cancelled list as it’s been renewed at Hulu.

New this Autumn

Minority Report:Based on the film, or at least on the idea of pre-crime and whizzy computer interfaces. I rather liked the trailer, with younger characters and less creepy military overtones it had a more energetic feel to it.


A restaurant owner who is desperate to deny he’s aging finds that not only does he have a son he never knew about, but there’s a granddaughter as well. There were a couple of laughs in the trailer (largely thanks to the supporting cast), but it all looks pretty predictable.

The Grinder: After 8 years playing a lawyer on television a popular actor decides to ‘go straight’ and join the family law firm. His brother is less than thrilled. Nice idea, but even Rob Lowe and Fred Savage couldn’t make the characters anything other than irritating.

Rosewood: A “private medical examiner” (private? What?) who runs and looks good with his shirt off works with a new, young, female detective who is trying to prove herself. He’s cocky, but has a medical condition that could kill him at any time; she kicks ass and is resistant to his charms… sort of. Yeesh. It’s like someone set out to write a parody and accidentally took themselves seriously.

Scream Queens: An exclusive sorority is forced to open its doors to all comers, then people start dying. It’s billed as a horror/comedy and I think it’s probably the second half of that combo which stopped it from being just another season of American Horror Story as it’s done by the same team. I loved Scream so this might be a lot of fun, or it might show that it’s not an idea that’s sustainable over multiple hours.

Coming January

Lucifer: The devil has quit and moved to Los Angeles where he uses his powers of manipulation to charm women and have a good time. Then he seems to decide he wants to fight crime. And some of his old colleagues come looking for him. The character’s charm carries through to the trailer and I rather enjoyed it, although suspect the novelty might ware off very quickly leaving you with something that feels a lot like several failed series before it. It’s based on Neil Gaiman’s work though, so it might have enough to keep it going.

The Guide to Surviving Life: Group of guys, share a flat, screw up in various ways. Explain what they’ve learnt to the audience. Blah blah blah.

The Frankenstein Code: Rogue scientists take a 75 year old murdered guy and turn him into a much younger, stronger, faster, smarter guy who’s pretty peeved about being murdered and not that thrilled about being brought back it seems. Frankly the trailer looked rubbish.

The X-Files: Thirteen years later, Mulder and Scully are back for 6 episodes. I have no earthly idea how the series ended as I only made it through the first few seasons getting fed up of the ever more complicated conspiracies. Hopefully it won’t require too much background, and I’ll certainly give it a try for nostalgia’s sake.

Bordertown: Animation set in a town on the US/Mexico border taking a “satirical look at cultural shifts taking place in America”. This could go badly wrong.