While most TV networks have their sights set on the future of the industry as they collectively try to absorb the loss of eyeballs to digital streaming services poaching millions of viewers, Fox for the second consecutive year is betting on a past triumph to provide a much-needed shot in the arm.
The network announced Tuesday that The X-Files, the cult classic sci-fi thriller that has been off the air for more than a dozen years, will return as a six-episode “event series.” Reprising their roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Production will begin this summer, Fox officials said. A release date has not been announced.
The show last aired in 2003 after an impressive decade-long run on Fox.
Chris Carter, creator and executive producer of The X-Files, in a press release, said he considers the reboot a “13-year commercial break.”
“The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories,” Carter added.
“The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture—yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning,” said Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, in a press release.
The show has a rabid fan base that has only grown larger and more devoted since the series went off-air, and at least partially inspired Fox’s other much-beloved, cult-following sci-fi must-watch, Fringe, created by J.J. Abrams. That series aired for five seasons and centered around the adventures of FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, played by Anna Torv, and father-son alternate-universe travelers and scientists Peter and Walter Bishop, played by Joshua Jackson and John Noble, respectively. Where Mulder and Scully’s cases exposed fragments of a global conspiracy regarding extraterrestrials and/or the paranormal, Dunham and the Bishops solved otherworldly crimes and mysteries heavily based in quantum physics, neurology and parallel realities.
Reviving a beloved series after years in hibernation is not unchartered territory for Fox.
Last summer, after a four-year hiatus, it brought back the hugely popular, pulse-pounding series 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland. The network aired 12 episodes, a departure from the typical 24-episode schedule from previous seasons. The show aired from 2001 to 2010.
Both The X-Files and 24 attracted worldwide fame and earned several Emmy Awards.
Duchovny and Anderson have both kept busy since The X-Files’ final season. Most recently, Duchovny has starred in Showtime’s Californication and Anderson in the acclaimed BBC thriller The Fall, as well as NBC’s Hannibal.