Review: The X-Files Cold Cases and Stolen Lives (Audio Dramas)

By | May 3, 2018

The X-Files: Cold Cases and The X-Files: Stolen Lives are two audio dramas produced exclusively for Audible that brought back the original cast to voice their roles from the show.  They are adapted from the comic book series The X-Files: Season 10 that was published by IDW and written by Joe Harris (Locke & Key) with an assist from Chris Carter.  The series begins by revisiting the lives of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who have been in hiding and under FBI protection since the events at the end of the ninth and final season of the television series.  Deputy Director Skinner seeks Mulder’s help and Scully in kidnapped which leads to a re-opening of the X-Files and kicks off a series of adventures for our favorite FBI paranormal investigators.

These two audio dramas are great fun, providing the perfect return to the X-Files universe and a much more satisfying continuation of the series than the recent revival which has aired sixteen very uneven episodes thus far.  Joe Harris understands the nostalgia value that the original series holds and he makes great use of that, but he also knows how to tell a decent story, and these dramas draw as much on that as fond memories from the original show.  He gives a plausible explanation for where Mulder and Scully have been since the events of the TV series wrapped up in 2002 and why they are now coming back out in to the light of day.  He also brings back many of the favorite characters (and characters we loved to hate) from the show, with reasonable justifications for the presence of those who died off in the series.

Much like the original series, this is comprised of several stand-alone stories as well episodes that are part of a bigger story arc that draws everything together. And it does a good job of recapping much of the mythology from the showing, giving a refresher for returning fans and a catch-up for new listeners.  The television revival should have drawn heavily from the Season 10 comics (which spanned 25 issues), at least for the basic setup, because it is much more faithful to the original series.

As for the audio adaptation, it comes off quite well as expected considering the high-power cast it has on hand. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back in the leads along with Mitch Pileggi as Skinner and many of the original actors from the series (I won’t list them all because quite a number count as spoilers). Even Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish show up as Doggett and Reyes, though their participation is minor. I only have one nitpick and that is that the audio dramas could have used a narrator. There are several times where the actor’s dialogue tells the audience what they are doing (“I am walking into the house. I am opening the door to the room. I am walking into the dark room.”) and it sounds rather stilted and unrealistic. Other times, you just have to guess what is going on based on the sound effects, which is often times difficult. But apart from that, this is a first rate production.

These two audio dramas are must-haves for long-time fans of the show and are well worth the time you will spend listening to them (both clock in at around four hours). They are only available through Audible that this time, but if you sign up with their two free books promotion (see link below), then you get them both for nothing. And Audible does have the largest selection of audio books out there if you do want to continue your audio adventures (unfortunately they do everything in their proprietary format, though). If you still have a bad taste in your mouth from the revival series, these audio dramas just might be the perfect thing to wash that away. They offer good stories that are faithful to the original series and that are well-performed. X-Files fans will definitely not be disappointed by these.