Cult 1990s sci-fi television series The X-Files returned to American screens on Monday (AEDT), earning the adoration of millions of fans and the scorn of ardent critics.
And with another four days until the reboot premieres on Australia’s Network Ten on January 31, Aussies who haven’t seen spoilers are no doubt wondering how the US felt about the revival.
The new six-part series – which comes almost 13 years after the last episode aired – sees David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
The two FBI special agents are still investigating the X-Files, a series of cases with supernatural and suspicious aspects, with the help of conspiracy theorists The Lone Gunmen.
They are still pitted against other forces and figures within the FBI who are more sceptical when it comes to the validity of the X-Files’ alien content.
While this formula propelled the show to cult status between 1993 and 2002, critics were not convinced it was still relevant in 2016.
But this still did not dampen fans’ enthusiasm.
The premiere episode scored ratings of 13.5 million viewers across the US.
These incredible figures were maintained for the second episode the next evening, which peaked at 9.7 million viewers.
The last episode of the original The X-Files aired in November 2001 and had 10.6 million viewers in the US.
American devotees thrilled
The success vindicated The X-Files creator Chris Carter, who had been confident before the premiere that Fox would order another season.
Luckily for Carter, the millions of fans who tuned in were overwhelmingly happy with what they saw.
@ShaneHernandez_ tweeted: “.@FOXTV Really hoping you guys green light another season of @thexfiles. Six episodes won’t nearly be enough. #TheXFiles.”
“Enjoyed the second episode of #TheXFiles season 10 a lot more. Really hope for another mini season in the future!” @LycoApollo tweeted.
Fans were so thrilled at the reboot’s commitment to the original’s format, they even lauded the little details.
Prominent “geek culture” account @GeekandSundry tweeted: “Seriously though how awesome that #TheXFiles credits are still the same.”
“@GeekandSundrey made me tear up a bit, to be honest. #XFiles #megafan,” @CynthiaLeeMorn responded.
But fan adoration was where the majority of positive reaction remained – many critics took aim at the new series.
The main gripe was that given technological advancements since 2003, the show seemed dated.
“The new X-Files still seems incredibly dated,” Katharine Trendacosta wrote for Gizmodo.
“Random references to things like Uber and recent Supreme Court decisions seem to be there solely to make it ‘current’.
“Which has the perverse effect of making the show seem even more dated.”
Ms Trendacosta argued that in light of the National Security Agency revelations in recent years and the highly suspicious light many hold governments in, The X-Files reboot missed the mark.
Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen described the premiere of the new series as “clunky”.
“Count me among those disappointed by the opening hour of The X-Files revival, a clunky hour so burdened by service to so many goals it could hardly entertain the way The X-Files used to,” he wrote.
Jonathan Bernstein from the UK’s Telegraph felt that today’s saturation of conspiracy theories online meant the show lost its original allure.
“Today, the comments section of any website no matter how monstrous or obscure, is its own X-Files,” he wrote.
Aussie fans furious at Network Ten’s delay
Network Ten appear to have harked back to a mid-90s programming schedule when deciding how to air the remake of the period’s cult program.
It will show the premiere and the second episode back-to-back on Sunday (January 31) and Monday (February 1) and then the next four episodes on every following Monday.
This meant Australia would be a week behind the US for the premiere and the second episode, and six days behind for the remaining four.
For those who don’t use other means of online technology to source the episodes ahead of time, the timing is frustrating.
Network Ten said it was still “confident” viewers would enjoy the programs “legally”, despite its programming decision.
Many respondents on Twitter did not validate that belief.
— ☀️ Julia ☀️ (@Jewelangel) January 24, 2016
— Anthony Eales (@ants000) January 24, 2016