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You can thank Netflix for the return of The X-Files

You can thank Netflix for the return of The X-Files


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More than 13 years after its last season and seven years after a pretty forgettable second movie, The X-Files is coming back to Fox as a six-episode limited series starring original cast members David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

The X-Files was a huge hit, even if the later seasons got a bit iffy in terms of quality or even logic. The show won 16 Emmy Awards and was nominated 62 times over nine seasons. It spawned two films, two spinoff TV shows (The Lone Gunmen and Millennium, sort of — there was a crossover episode), various comic book series, and countless fan fiction. Fun fact: the term "shipper" is attributed to X-Files fans who really wanted to see Mulder and Scully hook up, and is now use to describe fan-craved relationships from Harry and Louis to Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes.


Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. As a species, we tend to remember things more fondly than they ever could have been. For a network, that means reviving old properties will have a built-in audience. It's a safer bet, financially speaking, and the success of last year's 24: Live Another Day miniseries proved it. In some ways, you can thank Jack Bauer for Mulder and Scully's return.

Above all else, however, you can thank Netflix for The X-Files. Back when "Kevin Spacey's bad Southern accent" meant Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Big Red was primarily a haven for people to binge-watch old favorites or discover shows they missed the first time around. (It arguably still is; even if Netflix's marketing push is aimed at its original content, the company spends millions to secure syndication rights of shows like Friends and The Blacklist.) Binge-watching saved Family Guy. It saved Futurama — twice. The X-Files remains a known quantity, and that makes it viable.

So yes, The X-Files is coming back, and it really doesn't matter to Fox if it's good or bad because there's already a whole internet's worth of a fans eager for something new. And if it isn't The X-Files, it's Twin Peaks. Or it's Boy Girl Meets World. It's even Heroes, even though that show had maybe five good episodes and three and a half seasons worth of bad ones.

Do you ever wonder what the Gilmore Girls are up to right now? Keep binge-watching old seasons, and you just might find out.