Mention The X-Files and the eerie theme tune will immediately pop into the minds of loyal fans who tuned into their television sets for ten years from 1993 to watch FBI investigators Mulder and Scully delve in the mysteries of the unknown.
Set between the subsequent film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and the more recent revival TV series, this exciting full-cast audio adaption fills in some of the gaps that explain why the two lead characters came out of hiding.
The original television cast return, including David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully, and they are joined by some surprising appearances, including their former boss Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), the darkly mysterious Smoking Man (William B. Davis), and conspiracy theorists The Lone Gunmen (Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, and Bruce Harwood), amongst many others. If you thought some of these characters were dead, all will become clear.
A multi-episode arc intertwines the familiar ‘monster of the week’ format, based on graphic novels by Joe Harris. The audiobook opens with Mulder and Scully living as a couple under the assumed surname Blake. When the FBI’s X-Files are breached, the division is reopened and Mulder and Scully are called in to examine some cold cases that were never solved.
In true fashion, the duo face clones, aliens, a deadly virus and spirits as they delve into each case and progressively uncover a plot by an alien race known as The Forsaken Ones. This is a full-cast audio play as opposed to a book reading, and it works well. The cast are all in fine form, supported by a stellar sound design complete with a full score of music and sound effects.
The drama is high but not without humour. The actors slip back into their former characters like they’d never left and the writers honour them with all the expected quirks and banter that has made the show last so long.
The X-Files: Cold Cases is a play for the fans, although it’s highly enjoyable for anyone who once enjoyed the television series. If you’re not familiar with the back catalogue of stories however, particularly toward the end of the show’s original run, then you’ll find there’s enough exposition to help you along but, like me, you can be left with the feeling that there’s more of a wow factor behind some revelations that only hard-core fans will fully appreciate.
Even so, the truth is out there still to be discovered and, with The X-Files now re-opened, we can only hope there’s more on the way.
The X-Files: Cold Cases was released by Audible Studios in July 2017. It runs just over 4 hours and is available through Audible.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 8