Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging A to Z: The X-Files

The Truth is Out There

Given that I've referenced The X-Files numerous times this month in my other reviews, I should forewarn you: I could write a LOT about this series. Ya'll might think I'm crazy. But I swear I NEVER wrote any Mulder/Scully fanfiction (or Mulder/Skinner, Mulder/alien?)

For the uninitiated: Loner agent Fox Mulder works on cases the FBI deem strange and unsolveable. Dana Scully, agent ad medical doctor, is assigned as his new partner with the intent to debunk Mulder's increasingly paranoid investigation findings (why they didn't just fire him, I don't know). The heart of the show is how the two challenge each other's ideals: Mulder, a believer in the paranormal, and Scully, who depends on logic and fact. Beyond investigating mysteries involving unseen forces, evil twins and shapeshifters, a shadowy section of the government called The Syndicate is shown to have a hand in covering up current cases, which throws Mulder even deeper into his paranoia over government conspiracy.

I caught up with the show halfway through its run, and watched a lot of the series out of order (we are so spoiled now with Netflix and packaged DVD seasons!). The first episode that caught my attention was "Humbug," featuring the Jim Rose side show -- extreme performers famously connected to Lollapalooza in the '90s. It definitely took the series in a more inventive direction by not taking itself seriously all the time (Scully eats a bug and Mulder cracks jokes!). Other standouts are the season 2 arc when Scully is abducted and Mulder rides a ski gondola up a mountain to find her. Even re-watching this years later there's a cinematic quality to the show that makes it feel special.

The X-Files serves as a turning point for genre television; not a lot of sci-fi makes it to the networks so it takes a really inventive show to do something different. While Twin Peaks was arguably more of a game-changer, it only lasted two seasons and was so quirky it didn't maintain the wider audience the The X-Files ended up with. The 1998 movie The X-Files: Fight the Future shows how Big Time this little sci-fi show grew. I really liked the movie, but it also was probably the peak of the series. The show painted itself into a corner by featuring the two leads so much, that by season 7 the actors were pretty tired. By then it felt too late to throw in new agents, but that's what happened. I admit, I still haven't seen the very last season all the way through. It got a bit convoluted with Mulder and Scully having an alien love child. I wish I was joking.

Why You Should Watch: Foundational TV viewing for any fan of J.J. Abrams' shows, or fan of sci-fi in general. I wonder where shows like CSI or Fringe would be without The X-Files.

Factoids: The Lone Gunmen, Mulder's go-to geeks, had a brief spin-off series by the same name. One episode involved a terrorist hijack of an airplane to crash into the World Trade Center ... which aired in March 2001, six months prior to the actual attacks. Now THAT'S eerie.


  1. I loved The X Files, but it did lose me around the first film and never quite caught up.

    One day I'll sit down and watch it all again.

    Dave Wrote This

  2. I love the X-files as a show and it was my first experience of the power of the online community. I miss it.


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