Loss of Mulder slows ''X-Files''

BY CHRISTIAN SMITH
Daily Arts Writer
Published November 21, 2001

Eight years ago, Chris Carter managed to construct a frighteningly ordinary world rife with unexplained phenomena that raised questions about the existence of extraterrestrial life all while interlacing it with the evidence of a massive government conspiracy. But the main reason viewers have kept tuning into "The X-Files" has been the unswerving bond between the show"s stars, Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

Now in its ninth season, The "X-Files" has transformed itself into a completely different series. While the elements remain the same, the series has a whole new feel to it. Everything from the show"s signature opening credits to the conspiracy-drenched storyline have become slicker and more expansive. Primarily, the departure of Duchovny who left the show after being phased out for much of the last year has left a heavy-handed hole in the series" beloved "Moonlighting"-esque style. As Agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) move into the spotlight as the new investigating team working the X-Files, and Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) takes on a larger role, while Agent Scully has been reduced to caring for her newborn baby in the background.

This newborn baby is largely the focus of the ninth season opener. Picking up where the eighth season finale left off, with Doggett and Skinner trying to expose a potential alien link to Scully"s child as well as to the FBI, the show continues to pile more paranormal activity and governmental cover-up schemes onto the already tremendous heap of mythology without ever really explaining any of it. The addition of two new characters, including Lucy Lawless, star of "Xena: The Warrior Princess" as the mysterious Shannon, and "The Princess Bride"s" Cary Elwes as unreadable Assistant Director Brad Follmer, attempts to offset the loss of Duchovny and energize the series in a different direction. These additions do bring a new excitement to the show"s familiarity, but no one can capture the wry wit and intellectual charm of Duchovny"s Mulder.