Can I see the new X-Files movie and then watch the series later?
July 30, 2008 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Can I see the new X-Files movie and then watch the series later?

I'm going to go see X-Files: I Want to Believe in the theater tomorrow, but I've only seen the first season of the show. If I see the movie first, will that spoil me as to anything major in the series? (I'm thinking of if you saw Serenity before Firefly or such like that). Should I skip seeing the movie in the theater and watch the series first?

Please no spoilers for either the series or show in the comments - I don't want to be spoiled, which is why I'm asking this question!
posted by snowleopard to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes. I saw the movie this week.

Yes, you can watch this movie and watch the series. Nothing of any significance will be ruined or spoiled.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:13 PM on July 30, 2008

I think you should be fine seeing the movie then watching the series. I haven't seen the movie, but from what I gather from a recent article in Entertainment Weekly, this movie departs from much of the "usual storyline" (no other better way to describe it without spoilers...).
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:13 PM on July 30, 2008

Probably not because from what i've heard you won't want to see the series after watching it. And I really liked the series.
posted by evanrodge at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2008

From what I've read, it's essentially a stand-alone affair, designed to be accessible for people who've never seen (or have forgotten the intricacies of) the series.

If you want some back-story, I think there's a special DVD released in conjunction with the film, with a handful of cherry-picked episodes that document the evolution of Mulder and Sculley's relationship.
posted by unmake at 7:34 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: It's definitely accessible to someone who hasn't seen the series, and it won't spoil anything too badly, but there are a few things that'll be spoiled.
One source of ongoing tension throughout the entire series is basically resolved/made clear early in the movie; another major plot point of one season is spoiled, although the details of how it played out in the series are not clear in the movie; a few other entertaining but not important sops to the long-time fans are present and far more fun to those who have seen the series (and/or read lots of fan fiction).
I liked the movie a lot, but I'm not sure I would have been motivated to see the series after watching it. I'd probably recommend watching the series first, but it's not a showstopper if you don't.
posted by katemonster at 7:45 PM on July 30, 2008

It's a 34% on the TomatoMeter.

roger ebert liked it (major spoilers), and i have more faith in him than the tomatometer. i saw it and liked it a lot—the review that comes the closest to how i feel about it is mick la salle's for the sf chronicle. it's perfectly accessible to people unfamiliar with the show—la salle has never seen it—but better if you have. if you think you might like the show, then i would watch the show first instead. feel free to skip the first movie!
posted by lia at 8:52 PM on July 30, 2008

I feel like if you see the movie and then watch the show, you'll expect some blanks to be filled in over the course of the show, that are never actually filled in.

That's pretty much par for the course with the X-Files - I say this as someone who watched the show to the bitterest of bitter ends - so perhaps it isn't a bad idea.

Just know that the overwrought dialogue in the last ten minutes of the movie really isn't typical and you can generally expect a bit more smarts from the show's writing staff. There are exceptions...but I felt like the last few minutes were actually painful to watch, the lines were so bad.
posted by crinklebat at 9:06 PM on July 30, 2008

Don't judge the series on the movie. The series has some spectacularly creepy angles, but they're built up over many, many episodes. The actual episode is less important than how it adds to the series. That's why the X-Files was any good as a show. As crinklebat says, some things just don't have answers, and its better that way.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:17 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: Here is another really positive review that does a lot to explain the movie. I agree with katemonster: there are two kind of major things that would be spoiled by seeing the movie (but no details of how they played out), and one other reference to something that may not make any sense to you at all. There are lots of in-jokes that you may miss (although you may catch some of them if season one is fresh in your mind).

I actually think this would be a really interesting way to watch the series and I envy you having it all in front of you.

Also, stay past the credits.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:55 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: you definitely can. i saw it last weekend and really enjoyed it and i am/was a major x-phile. it won't spoil the series for you because even though you will know the conclusion to two biggish things as violet hour says, the conclusion is less important than how you got there via the series.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:12 AM on July 31, 2008

yes, there are what would be considered major spoilers, but they really shouldn't matter. As long as you are at least somewhat familiar with the characters, all should be ok.

As another x-phile, i really enjoyed the movie overall.
posted by NormandyJack at 7:22 AM on July 31, 2008

Yes, you can. But you shouldn't.

The movie was filled with loving little references that serious fans (or, one-time serious fans) will appreciate way more than casual viewers or people who haven't seen the show. In fact, I think the latter groups of people are far more likely to just be disappointed in the lack of aliens. People who were really into the show understood the importance of the monster of the week angle and will have greater appreciation for the way the primary theme (faith) is explored. While the movie can certainly stand on its own and make sense, if you're planning to watch the series anyway, it will be a much more rewarding experience if you wait. Besides, there was nothing really about the special effects that particularly justifies a big screen viewing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 AM on July 31, 2008

Best answer: Yes, go ahead and see it. The things in the film that would be spoilery are largely subtle or oblique—it is rife with callbacks to the series but largely avoids significant backstory infodumps. No flashbacks, no key points of mythology re-upped at length, etc.

And (speaking as a perverse sort of armchair expert on the subject of watching the series), there's an awful lot of it to watch, and you'll have largely forgotten the details of the new film by the time you've crawled through all of that, so you'll be ready for rewatching with keener, fully-versed eyes.

See the film if you feel like seeing the film.
posted by cortex at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2008

I wouldn' the minimum, you should see the first movie, Fight the Future....

You can go to target or Wal-Mart and get the story line DVD only, it starts in season 1 and goes throughout the entire series. Only down side is, the main MAIN X-Files stories are spaced at random intervals and hard to pick out. I am a die-hard X-Files fan so I am biased here, but to really grasp the scope of how Mulder and Scully got to where they are in I Want To Believe, you really should have some basic understanding of what has happened...easily one of the best TV shows ever....
posted by TeachTheDead at 1:51 PM on July 31, 2008

Response by poster: OP here: I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it! I thought it stood very well as a separate story from the series and I didn't feel lost or spoiled while watching, plus it did quite well at maintaining the spirit of the characters and the series (insomuch as I've seen of them thus far). Thanks everyone!
posted by snowleopard at 9:58 PM on August 1, 2008

Kinda late, but don't watch the first movie until you get to the appropriate point within the series (after season 4 or 5?). It bridges the gap between those two seasons so it won't make any sense at all if you haven't seen enough of the show. Even for fans looking at it now, so much changed since the movie came out, it almost seems kind of moot and irrelevant.

Personally I thought the movie was a disappointing way to wrap up the franchise (at least that's how it seems it'll end up being), so it might not introduce as many would-be fans to the series as one would hope. I'm glad you liked it though... You'll enjoy the show a lot more as it goes along. To a point, anyway.

They do hint at the fate of Mulder's sister, but be prepared for a let-down once that storyline is resolved in the show. Not the journey itself wasn't compelling.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:42 PM on August 2, 2008

If you want to watch the series I wouldn't go to the movie.

There are quite a few things it will spoil but mostly you'll just be less interested in seeing the series.

I have been an X-files fan forever and I speak the truth.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 10:54 PM on August 5, 2008

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