What’s it about?
The X-Files tells the ongoing story of two FBI Special Agents as they investigate seemingly supernatural and potentially alien occurrences. The evidence they uncover offers clues to something much bigger going on.
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish
An Introduction to The X-Files
Special Agent Fox Mulder has a fascination with the areas of the unexplained that might earn him the label of ‘conspiracy theorist’ from some unkind quarters… except investigating the bizarre and arcane is what he does for a living at the FBI.
Special Agent Dana Scully is partnered with Mulder, as her scientific approach to events and natural skepticism is deemed a good way to keep Mulder objective. Together, they attempt to close some of the more unusual and often spooky cases on the FBI’s roster… known as the X-Files.
Mulder’s sister disappeared when he was 12, convincing him that something ‘other’ was operating beyond what is known – and spurring him on to uncover what may be behind other unexplained events too. Scully has her work cut out with her new partner as, cynical as she may be, she can’t entirely dismiss all of Mulder’s more outlandish rantings based on the evidence.
The X-Files is one of those shows that has earned its place as a cultural reference. The names Mulder and Scully are synonymous with unexplained goings-on, and the tagline from the poster on Mulder’s wall, “The Truth Is Out There” nowadays generally infers covert shenanigans of earthly or extraterrestrial origin. When other conspiracy-centric shows (such as Fringe) appear, comparisons to The X-Files are always the first port of call.
Unusually, the show is part serial, part procedural: there are many standalone episodes in between the ‘mythology’ episodes (the ones that advance the main story arc), and while these are entertaining and often scary, it can sometimes feel that everything’s on hold until the mythology resumes. Still, it means our heroes get to deal with a huge variety of weird phenomena beyond the main arc.
One of the great “will they/won’t they get together” TV couples (see also: Friends’ Ross and Rachel, Moonlighting’s Maddie and David, Castle’s Beckett and, er, Castle), Mulder and Scully have great chemistry and maintain their individual foibles throughout. In spite of their differences, they make a great team which stands them in good stead when events seem to conspire against them.
Speaking of which, the idea of conspiracies lies at the heart of The X-Files. Everyone loves a “what really happened” alternative take on things, whether they believe it as fact or not. The X-Files delights in fleshing some of these out, making Scully’s job even harder: now she has to convince the viewer that they may be mistaken too! Aw, c’mon…
The show initially bowed out after nine seasons in 2002, as public appetites for such a show had seemingly begun to change in a post-9/11 world. Two films (The X-Files and The X-Files: I Want To Believe) tidied up some loose ends but left enough open for an ‘event’ mini-series in 2016.
The mini-series once again mixes stand-alone and mythology episodes as The X-Files introduces new intrigue via its original format. Are viewers ready to go down the proverbial rabbit hole again?
Check out the Season 1 Trailer here: