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Ageless Scully and Mulder

It's been more than a decade since the X-Files were closed, but the series is back for a six-night extravaganza this week. Chris Carter and company had some work to do getting Mulder and Scully caught up on how much the world has changed since 2002, but already the first installment of the new mini-season has revamped the old franchise in ways both subtle and huge to make it compatible with 2016. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is our two heroes' good looks. Is the truth out there somewhere about how David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson both stay so young?

Click through this gallery to see how an old classic was updated to fit into today's world.

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead if you haven't yet watched episode 1.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Seth McFarlane's YouTube?

In the opening minutes of the new "X-Files," we see Mulder getting caught up on current events with a clip of President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel on a popular streaming service, but it isn't YouTube. Instead, it's the oddly named site "Mindquad." Say what? Looks like Chris Carter, the show's creator, might be a bigger fan of Seth McFarlane's comedy than Google's video site. Could he have been tipping his hat to "American Dad," which features a fictional television series within the show called "Mind Quad!"?

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

See no evil

We know Fox Mulder has been paying attention to all the news about the rise of the surveillance state since 2002 because the new show makes a point of showing the former FBI agent putting something like duct tape over his webcam lens. Clearly, this is "The X-Files" transported into a post-Snowden world. But did Mulder remember to disable his laptop microphone as well?

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Mulder is Uber cool

How does Mulder get around in 2016? Uber, of course. Not only is he down with the sharing economy, he's even one of those egalitarian Uber riders who likes to ride shotgun.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

This ain't 'The Soup'

A new "X-Files" for a new generation requires new blood. Enter Joel McHale of "The Soup" and "Community" fame, among many other credits, in the role of a conspiracy-touting TV personality in the same mold as Alex Jones. Now that E! has canceled his talk highlight show, hopefully he'll be free to continue his role as Tad O'Malley beyond just six episodes.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

They are watching

In a lot of ways, the real world of 2016 has seen the far-out concepts from the original "X-Files" become reality, especially when it comes to the rise of the surveillance state. The new series is quick to acknowledge this, when Joel McHale's character shares his concern that low-flying aircraft might be spying from above. In the past, we might have called such ideas paranoid delusions only fit for a show like "The X-Files," but in 2016 it just seems like the show catching up with current events.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Smarter phones

There are no more of those old FBI-issued flip phones on the new "X-Files." Mulder and Scully are both armed with smartphones running some sort of generic operating system. The OS seen on their laptops also looks like some kind of Linux build. Makes sense. Did anyone tell Chris Carter about Blackphone?

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Catfishing the truth?

In episode 1 of the new season, the premise of the "X-Files" takes a pretty radical turn and it seems the truth may be that there are no aliens out there after all. Rather, it's a far-reaching conspiracy of men using alien technology to take over the world. In other words, up until this point, "The X-Files" has just been "catfishing" both Mulder and all of us for decades. I guess we just had to wait for the term to be invented for the real truth to be discovered.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

This is a modern search engine?

The new "X-Files" again snubs Google. Instead, Scully relies on something called "Finder Spyder" for her Web searches. If this seemingly inanely named search engine sounds familiar, it's because it has become a recurring fictional brand in numerous shows, including "Breaking Bad," "Heroes" and "Homeland," just to name a few. Nothing like a good Hollywood in-joke.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Instant genomes

Dana Scully has clearly kept up with medical advancements since 2002. In episode 1 of the new season she has not one, but two human genomes sequenced seemingly overnight. That kind of ability was still transitioning from science fantasy to reality in 2002.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Fact or fiction?

It's not just the technology that's been updated in "The X-Files." The conspiracy theories also have a decidedly 21st-century feel. In Sunday's episode, Mulder and O'Malley weave an intricate tapestry of almost every conspiracy you've heard since 9/11, including the false flag attack theories, chemtrails, FEMA prison camps, and the complicity of big pharma, big ag and most other industries. In the 1990s, it was pretty clear to most of us the show was science fiction, but this new edition has seemingly compiled everything that certain corners of the Internet have been chattering about since 2002 and woven it into the plot.

I can't wait to see how "The X-Files" continues to adapt to its new surroundings. Hopefully it'll tackle those possible alien megastructures around that distant star before Friday.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET


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