When I heard that Steven Moffat is leaving Doctor Who, my first thought was, “Finally.” Of course, he still gets a whole last season to ruin what was once one of my favorite shows, but much like Scott Walker as governor here in Wisconsin, we can only hope his successor will be able to put things back like they were.
I also, like millions of others, watched the first two episodes of the X-Files reboot. I realized that my problems with Chris Carter’s creation are similar to the ones I had with Moffatt’s Doctor Who.
Namely, the shows are based entirely around tearing down heroes.
Watching the new X-Files, I was again reminded of why I grew weary of the show before its first cancellation: Mulder and Scully are inevitably going to fail. Every time they’re about to succeed, to prove that there really is a conspiracy involving aliens and the government, we know the rug will be pulled out. That’s the kind of thing that can make a powerful statement once, as in the films The Parallax View or Winter Kills; but when it’s the go-to plot for show, it becomes a kind of masochism to watch it.
I’ve given up on Doctor Who, at least while Moffat’s in charge. It’s a shame, because I really like Peter Capaldi, and wish he was getting the scripts that David Tennant used to get under Russell T. Davies. I’ll probably watch the X-Files just to keep my geek cred, but I don’t expect much from it. The first two episodes (especially that godawful first one) show that nothing has changed in the fifteen years since it went off the air: we may get some chills, and a few good jokes, but ultimately Mulder and Scully will fail.