For those that don’t know The X Files was a late 1990’s American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter and starring Gillian Anderson (The Fall) and David Duchovny (Californication). Initially a show with a cult following it soon became a pop culture touchstone that still resonates today.
For nine ground-breaking seasons audiences followed FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they investigated unsolved cases involving paranormal and supernatural phenomena. It was, quite simply, awesome telly.
And it is returning to our screens with Anderson, Duchovny and show creator Chris Carter all on board for a one-off six episode run. I am excited and you should be too. If you are too young to remember The X Files or you need reminding of how great it was here are some key things you should know…
***THE OPENING TITLES***
The imagery and eerie music set the scene and tone for the entire series – one look and you know that paranormal and extraterrestrial themes will be explored. Constantly the show questions our place in this universe, investigates UFO sightings and the possibility of life on other planets. The opening sequence ends with the series’ creed – “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE”.
As a fan it was hard not to get sucked into the conspiracy theories…
The opening tune was even remixed into a massive dance hit so even when you were out partying in the late 90s The X Files infiltrated your night.
– SPECIAL AGENT FOX MULDER
Played superbly by the actor David Duchovny, Special FBI Agent Fox William Mulder is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his sister when they were young. His ensuing search for her and unshaken belief that she was abducted by extraterrestrial aliens becomes the consuming drive of his life.
Mulder’s peers consider his (often correct) theories on extraterrestrial activity as spooky and far-fetched. Ultimately, Mulder is convinced a US government conspiracy is hiding or denying the truth of the aliens’ existence.
– DR DANA SCULLY
Dr Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, is partnered with fellow Special Agent Fox Mulder in the pilot episode of The X Files. She finds herself assigned to a cramped basement office at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. to investigate unsolved cases labelled “X-Files”. Scully is a trained surgeon and, in contrast to Mulder’s credulous “believer” character, Scully is the skeptic. She, sometimes frustratingly, chooses to base her beliefs on what science can prove. Later on Scully becomes a “believer” after Mulder’s abduction at the end of season seven.
Together Mulder and Scully had great chemistry and part of the show’s appeal was following both their ups and downs and their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship.
– ‘DEEP THROAT’
Played by Jerry Hardin, the character of ‘Deep Throat’ served as Mulder’s informant for the first season of the show. The character was inspired by the historical Deep Throat, and served to bridge the gap between the protagonists and the conspirators they would investigate.
– ‘THE SMOKING MAN’
Played by actor William B. Davis ‘The Smoking Man’ was the primary antagonist of The X Files series but arch-nemesis of Mulder in particular.
In the show’s sixth season, his name is disclosed to be C.G.B. Spender but fans continue to refer to him as the Smoking Man because he is almost always seen chain-smoking Morley cigarettes.
Although he utters only four words in the entire first season of the show, ‘The Smoking Man’ eventually develops into the series’ primary antagonist. An influential man working for the powers that be, he is a key member in a government conspiracy known only as ‘The Syndicate’, who are hiding the truth of alien existence and their plan to colonise Earth.
***GROUNDBREAKING ORIGINAL STORYLINES***
As highlighted by the “Deep Throat” and “The Smoking Man” characters The X Files had a massive conspiratorial storyline running through it from the first season to the last. However, every now and again the show’s writers would take a break and reward fans with powerful stand alone episodes.
One such episode entitled ‘Home’ is one of the best stand alone episodes of The X Files. It’s shocking and (warning!!) also can make you a little queasy. For more great episodes check out Empire’s list of the top twenty greatest X File episodes.
Hopefully this has been enough to peek your interest and either lead you to the discovery of one of the greatest and suspense-filled TV series ever. Or maybe you will be reminded of its genius an embark on a revisit to this weird, supernatural and paranormal world. (And if you do – let me know your favourite episode in the comments sections below)
If you binge-watch your way through all nine mind-bending series of The X Files then fear not. There were two films released as sequels to the TV series – The X Files and The X Files: I Want To Believe.
And the band Catatonia even sang about Mulder and Scully…you don’t know who Catatonia are? Well, that’s a whole other article for me to write.