Picks and Pans Review: The X-Files

updated 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

FOX (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)

Diehard X-philes will be bemused by the topsy-turvy premise of this sci-fi series' two-part season opener (Nov. 5 and 12). Formerly skeptical FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and her formerly incredulous boss Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) have both turned into True Believers as they search for the UFO that snatched Scully's soulfully paranoid partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) last spring. The role of resident scoffer will now be assumed by newcomer John Doggett, a by-the-book FBI agent stolidly played by Robert Patrick (the steely-eyed cyborg in Terminator 2: Judgment Day). But even true-blue fans, I suspect, will come away disappointed by the glacially paced plot and the tiresome reappearance of an old fiend, that shape-shifting, green-blooded, alien bounty hunter. And what of the missing Agent Mulder? He's glimpsed only intermittently—-a portent, perhaps, of Duchovny's decision to appear in just 11 episodes this season—and is heard to utter but a single line of dialogue, which goes something like this: "Scully! Sculllyyy!" Now that's an easy paycheck.

Bottom Line: Once hot show sliding toward X-tinction

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