The X-Files, like Star Trek, is getting an animated comedy spin-off.
Whether you like it or not, Star Trek: Lower Decks has been the least well-received series to date and many feel that it’s due to the tonal shift of the series. Star Trek is long regarded as a serious and thought-provoking series. Many pundits were unimpressed by Lower Decks because it just doesn’t resonate with what original series creator Gene Roddenberry had imagined for the franchise. Not totally hard to believe, some properties have a specific note or tone that if changed can really turn fans off. The X-Files is one of those properties.
Somewhere between the idea of science fiction and horror, the X-Files debuted in 1993 and rocketed David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson into superstardom and became a cultural revolution. Science fiction was still the bargain bin of entertainment genres in the early 90s, with only Star Wars and Star Trek really making headway in modern pop culture. The X-Files made science fiction cool and the stunning performances of Anderson and Duchovny, along with a haunting vision for the property by series creator Chris Carter turned the X-Files into something unlike anything else on television for its time.
It was disturbing, thought-provoking, and unrelenting. From the opening first notes of the theme song, you knew this wasn’t just another science fiction property made for television, it was an experience. The disturbing theme song and the equally disturbing imagery of the opening video set the tone.
This was not for the weak of heart.
Now X-Files: Albuquerque is being launched, an animate series for Fox, which will likely air as part of their adult Sunday night cartoon block alongside The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers. TV Line is reporting the series will be completely light-hearted in tone, saying;
"Rather, the potential series will center an office full of misfit agents who investigate X-Files cases too wacky, ridiculous or downright dopey for Mulder and Scully to bother with. They’re essentially the X-Files’ B-team."
This could be a disaster waiting to happen. Most of Bento Box’s properties aren’t well received and often feel tone-deaf or unoriginal. Now the X-Files: Albuquerque series will have to convince the die-hard, “the truth is out there” crowd to give an animated show a shot, that will likely mock and belittle the franchise. Some properties just don’t lend themselves to be fun of.
The other problem that comes with established franchises changing tones and directions is how to cater to both the diehard fans and newer fans. This rarely ever goes well and often times comes off feeling disjoined with critics asking “who was this made for?” The fans of X-Files won’t want to see their beloved series be reduced to jokes, and the new fans will scoff at a cash grab attempt to mimick original shows like American Dad or Rick and Morty.
Despite the Albuquerque bringing back Carter, he won’t have any real influence over the series, with Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko doing the writing and serving as executive producers alongside Carter and former X-Files writer Gabe Rotter. The animation will be handled by Bento Box.
Bento Box productions include Bob’s Burgers, Hoops, Central Park, Duncanville, Alien News Desk, Paradise PD, and Brickleberry to name a few. Most series not getting more than a season or two.