New Xfiles
Is the truth in there?
In 1993, the X-Files TV show premiered on the Fox channel in the US. Contributing to its immediate and rather large popularity was its deliriously entertaining mix of mystery, sci-fi, paranormal, horror, conspiracy and humor. A huge fan base grew that responded to many of the strange stories, giving serious credence to the show's motto that "the truth is out there''; that things were going on which the general population was not being informed about. The X-Files beckoned its audience to learn the truth along with its attractive and complex protagonists, FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. But of all the themes the show concentrated on, and was best known for, it was its serious dramatic exploration of the phenomenon known as alien abduction that was its strongest and perhaps most important.

Let's consider the time: the early-to-mid 1990s. In the US at least, the ubiquitous large-eyed alien that first appeared to a wide audience in 1987 with Whitley Strieber's Communion was everywhere, in public spaces and presented in media of all kinds. The image was simply unavoidable. It was there when you went to the supermarket; when you opened a magazine; when you watched something on TV; and it was there on a billboard sign on the highway. It was easy to dismiss this barrage of alien imagery as just another marketing fad. But I think there's a more plausible reason: mainstream society was beginning to acknowledge something quite big and hitherto hidden from conscious awareness.

The phenomenon didn't come out of nowhere. By that time, in addition to Strieber's iconic book cover, we had films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the television series V, and many other films and shows like the well known Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" - which suggested that aliens may not be all that warm and fuzzy. More significantly however, in the years leading up to when X-Files premiered, and thereafter, we began to see more books like Strieber's by authors like Ray Fowler, Budd Hopkins, Karla Turner, David Jacobs and John Mack. Many others also attempted, in some cases quite successfully, to make sense of all sorts of bizarre and terrifying interactions individuals were having, seemingly with beings not of this world. The experiences described and recalled were with creatures whose appearances, technology and abilities were utterly strange by human standards and could only be properly understood as 'alien'. Well, not all of them. But we'll get to that.

Enter the X-Files.

X-Files, Past and Present Cases

the syndicate
The 'Syndicate'
If you've ever brought up 'alien abduction' in conversation, one response you likely heard is, "you mean like in the X-Files?" That's because, for all those familiar with the show (at least, more than with serious literature on the subject), the X-Files was the go-to popular reference for anything on the subject. The idea of aliens abducting humans was a central theme in the show and firmly entrenched in its mythology. On top of this, the show presented the idea that there was a secret government and elite organization of very powerful people called "The Syndicate", who not only knew what the aliens were doing, but were also active participants in concealing the truth of it from the world. Further, the Syndicate was also working in collusion with the malevolent ETs that were perpetrating the abductions and whose ultimate goal was to colonize Earth and take total control over the human species. This story arc was further reinforced by the first of the two X-Files movies, which came out in 1998.

Fast forward to 2016. With the consecutive 9 seasons of the original series long since finished, the show's producers decided to make 6 new episodes. And how do they decide to treat the most essential and valuable part of their story (valuable from the point of view of potentially raising awareness of a very real, pervasive and life-threatening phenomena)? Well, take a look at what special agent Mulder has come to "realize" in the first new episode:
No sooner had we [the U.S.] defeated Germany than a new threat started appearing in skies over America, drawn to Earth by the latest threat to extinction - the H-bomb. Explosions acting as transducers, drawing alien life forms through wormholes in spaceships using electro-gravitic propulsion. Advanced extraterrestrial species visiting us, concerned for mankind and the threat of our self-destruction, forestalling our annihilation through their own self-sacrifice. The crashes at Roswell. More importantly, places like Aztec. World leaders signed secret memos directing scientific studies of alien technology and biochemistry. Classified studies were done at military installations, S4, Groom Lake, Wright Patterson and Dulce - extracting alien tissue. Tests were done on unsuspecting human subjects in elaborately staged abductions, in craft using alien technology recovered from the downed saucers... including human hybridization through gene editing and forced implantation of alien embryos.
And, just like that, the entire bedrock premise of the show has turned on a dime. Now the ETs came to Earth "concerned for mankind" and "forestalling our annihilation through their own self-sacrifice." Why the reversal? Was this merely a new and titillating storytelling gimmick? Is there something else behind it? Lastly, why does it even matter - I mean, it's just a TV show right?

I think it does matter. For the many who have not delved into deeper examination of the issues it raises, X-Files was and is nearly the sole source of information on the subject at hand. From the perspective of someone who has studied the subject in depth, that's tens of millions of individuals forming their views on one of THE biggest scientific and existential problems facing humanity - whether they realize it, or not.

We should note here that there are some people following numerous possible clues and details in the new series who speculate that Chris Carter (the producer of the X-Files) has written the changes into the new show with the intention of reversing it back again to the original mythic arc when they create a further new season (to be aired some time in 2017). If Carter and company manage to do this in a coherent way, then more power to him and to the show. But that remains to be seen and, in the meantime, there are other UFO/alien abduction researchers for whom the show's twist serves as a vindication of their views - or at least confirmation of something they already believe, i.e. "the aliens are the good guys".

Take this article, for instance, which begins with the following three breathless titles:
X-FILES Blows The Alien-UFO Conspiracy Wide Open, US Gov't Perpetrates 'Alien Abductions', Abductees Kidnapped for Tissue Harvesting and Genetic Experimentation

There Are No Alien Abductions, Only Government Kidnappings

U.S. Government Produced the 'Roswell UFO Incident', Manufactured Most UFOs, Fabricated Multiple EBEs, Has Even Planned to Stage Alien Invasions
For the sake of brevity, we'll concern ourselves only with the first two - which we'll examine in the next part of this article.

Go here for Part II.