I remember when The X-Files first arrived on television. Like millions of other fans, I had no idea I was witnessing the birth of a genre series that, more or less, not only revolutionized TV in general but had a far-reaching, long-lasting impact on genre TV as well. The X-Files would become a pop culture phenomenon of the sort that only comes along once in a generation. I also did not foresee adopting an almost religious dedication to watching the series and remaining a dedicated fan for as long as I have and always will be. I did not expect this series would become one of my favorite shows ever for such a very long time. The X-Files was indeed something unexpected that came along at just the right time and, like Game Of Thrones, represents a milestone in the evolution of television and pop culture as a whole.
When I was young, anthology series were a common feature of television. Shows like One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone told fantastic, horror, and other stories of the unexplained. These were topics my young nerd mind was very interested in. I do not know when or why these sorts of things became appealing to me; I only know they did. This series, in a way, was an anthology series also. The X-Files explored different topics of genre discussion from week to week. Things like cyberpunk, government conspiracies, UFOs and alien invasions, telepathy, time travel, mutants, urban legends, ghosts and spiritualism, and voyages to another planet or beneath the sea were all very appealing to my child’s brain and still are. Forty years later, Chris Carter was bright enough to discuss these topics again when the X-Files did the same thing.
The X-Files may not have seemed like an anthology series on the surface as I have described, but at its core, this series is structured to address a different topic each week and for a while did so. The show’s two lead characters represent, on the surface, two distinctive, opposed perspectives when discussing the sort of not-generally accepted stuff the show dealt in. The series introduces Fox Muldar, a brilliant agent whose crusade for the truth, any truth, for various reasons, becomes evidence no one wants to believe. The FBI partners him up with Dana Scully to bring her scientific mind to bear and discourage Mulder’s beliefs, but the attempt backfires, and she becomes his very close friend and collaborator. Their relationship and adventures are the meat and potatoes of this show. The series shows through time that matters of science and faith are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Not familiar with this series? The X-Files is an American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter. On Fox, the original television series aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002. The program spanned nine seasons, with 202 episodes. A short tenth season consisting of six episodes premiered on January 24, 2016, and concluded on February 22, 2016. Following the rating success of this revival, The X-Files returned for the eleventh season of ten episodes, which premiered on January 3, 2018, and concluded on March 21, 2018. In addition to the television series, two feature films have been released: The 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future, which took place as part of the TV series continuity, and the stand-alone film The X-Files: I Want to Believe, released in 2008, six years after the original television run had ended. I still want to believe.
All good things end, but this series’ lasting influence on genre TV cannit be denied. Fox Tv, the original home of the series tried, to recapture the moment by introducing a show along the same lines and almost succeeded when they introduced Fringe, a series they did not even attempt to disguise the fact that the original Crater series served as inspiration. Although Fringe was an excellent series in its own right, true classics like The X-Files cannot be replaced only imitated.