Which did you like better: the alien mythology or the stand alone scares? USA Today is raising the question in light of their first look at the long-awaited, still officially untitled sequel to The X Files. Reportedly, the film "will dump the long-running 'mythology' plotline" -- you remember, "that aliens live among us and are part of a colonizing effort." Creator Chris Carter doesn't want any part of a mythology "conspiracy," since he feels that all those threads got tied up with the conclusion of the TV series in 2002.

I was a huge fan of the early seasons, in which there was more tension between David Duchovny as true believer Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as skeptical scientist Dana Scully. The stand alone episodes, which required only the barest foreknowledge to enjoy, were highly dependent on the stories from week to week, of course, but I thought the early years had a very good batting average, and Duchovy and Anderson consistently delivered good performances.

The alien mythology conspiracy was initially intriguing, yet over time became too convoluted for me to follow. In some ways, the show appeared to be influenced by Twin Peaks, with its mysterious, off beat tone and Northwestern atmosphere and settings; in other ways, The X Files presaged episodic science fiction puzzlers like Lost.

My main concern right now is Carter's comment about his desire to introduce The X Files to a whole new audience: "There were kids who couldn't watch it on TV because it was too scary. Now they're in college. I wanted a movie that everyone could go to." That scary, unnerving quality was one of the hallmarks of the show, and a big reason why many of us tuned in. I hope Carter has managed to twist things without draining away its appeal for thinking adults. For more on the sequel, check our past stories on surprising cast additions, the first set photo, and even more casting news.

categories Cinematical