This is just to say that I've pretty much decided I'm not going to bother watching Season 10 of The X-Files. I was one of those fans who never wanted the revival, and never once entertained the notion that it might be anything short of awful. But for most of the lead up to the revival, I just sort of assumed I'd watch it anyway, like it was obligatory or something.
I'm someone who believes very strongly in facing reality and not burying my head in the sand about things, and I guess I kind of figured that applied to the whole XF Revival situation as well. Intellectually, I figured I had to watch the new episodes in order to reject them, since you can't fairly reject something you haven't thoroughly experienced and considered.
But at a certain point I guess I realized that was just silly. I mean, in real life, yeah, you don't really get to pick and choose what has bearing on reality and what doesn't. And when you form opinions about things you haven't actually had any personal experience with that's called prejudice and it sucks. But fiction is not real life, and you don't have an ethical or intellectual obligation to weight and consider every part of a story equally before you decide how you will personally choose to engage with said story. Unless you are using a piece of fiction as a How To manual or you are taking a Uni lit class, you are perfectly allowed to ignore the parts of a fictional story you dislike - either by excising them out of your headcanon or by simply not taking them on in the first place - and that's completely fine.
I don't actually need to watch the revival to make the judgmental call that I don't want to watch the revival. I don't need to watch the revival in order to decide that I'm happy sticking with Seasons 1 through 9. That I fold, deal me out, I'm taking my chips, cashing them in, and going home. I had a good run at the tables in this establishment and I wish to quit while I'm ahead thanks. I love Seasons 1 through 5 of this series. I feel tolerably fond of Seasons 6 and 7. There are some parts of Seasons 8 and 9 I'd like to keep, as well as many parts I'd like to scrap. IWTB can fuck right off. And Season 10 doesn't bear thinking about. As it turns out, I'm pretty fine with that.
The shitty parts of canon don't have to negate the good parts; it's all in how you look at what it means to be fannish about something. Does being fannish about a text mean you regard canon as the ultimate authority? Is canon the God of your story, and what canon says is the incontrovertible reality of the story? It's fine if that's how one rolls. It used to be how I felt about canon, so I understand why people go that route, and it has its good points as well as its bad. But it's not the only way to be fannish, nor is it inherently more legitimate. Another way to look at it is that the canonical text is like a buffet table from which you choose the things you will build your story's foundation out of. You mine the canonical text for the ingredients you think make the best foundation for the story, you experiment with putting those bits together how you want them, and then you're free to build on that foundation however you want, and be as inventive as you want.
Loving a story isn't inherently an either/or exercise, where you either love the story as it's created or you create your own entirely original story. It is perfectly legitimate to love a story that is a chimera - some of its DNA from canon, some of its DNA from fanon, some of its DNA from your own personal headcanon. It's all made up anyway--why does it matter who made it up or if it was all made up by one person? Why do our stories need to have a "Word of God" to legitimize them?
Well, the way I currently feel about it, they don't. It's a pretty freeing perspective, though I won't lie, it has its downsides.
Somewhat tangential to my feelings about the relationship between fannishness and canon, I will say that the main reason I've decided not to watch Season 10 is because I'm no longer fannish enough for my own interpretation of the story to overwrite canon. When IWTB happened, I was about as madly in love with The X-Files as it's possible for a fan to be. In that context, IWTB was a bitter pill to swallow, but my own sense of the story, my headcanon, was far stronger and more indelible in my own heart and mind than that darn movie. My headcanon was written in 8B pencil. Canon scribbled that disappointing movie over my headcanon in HB. I lamented the mess, but my headcanon was only faintly obscured by it.
Now though, it's 2016, and I've spent the last four years being fannish primarily about something else. I still love Scully and Mulder, I genuinely do, but I'm not madly in love with them anymore, and haven't been for a long while. And I'm afraid my headcanon - formerly etched in blazing 8B - has faded to a wistful 2 or 3H. In that context, it will not be able to overcome an onslaught of shitty new canon. The new canon will overpower it, and will end up being what I envision most clearly when I envision The X-Files.
I don't want that. I loved Mulder and Scully and I still love them - both as they are in my headcanon and as they were in much of the series. And I want to keep envisioning them that way, faded though they may become in my memory.
So Dealer, please deal me out. I fold. I'm taking my chips, cashing them in, and going home. I had a good run at the tables in this establishment and I wish to quit while I'm ahead. Thank you. Good night.
- A Note Regarding Season 10