My first encounter with The X-Files was when I was about eight. My friend Bryce always took me to his cousin’s Halloween party where there was a haunted tour through their house and woods. It was always a good time, but one year after the tour had ended, the party was winding down so we went into their living room where Bryce’s youngest cousin, Hannah, was sitting three inches from the television. Hannah was about six, but yet she was fearless about watching this show that had monsters, aliens and murders packed into one episode. Bryce and I were half watching it between our fingers, when Hannah turned around.
“Why are you guys scared, it’s just fake. Those aren’t real monsters.” Hannah said to us as if we were acting childish (we were only eight!)
Now that I can handle watching scary shows without looking in between my fingers I decided to give the series another shot. Nine seasons and 202 episodes later I finished the series, but it sure was a struggle, but more on that later.
One thing that I was excited to see from The X-Files is pre-internet days. The show starts out in the early 90s without the internet and progresses into the early 2000s.
The show revolves around FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully and their investigations of the paranormal and unexplained files otherwise known as The X-Files. The two are complete opposites in almost every way. Mulder is an experienced agent, who believes in aliens, jokes around, and is non religious. Scully on the other hand, is a new agent, who believes science holds the answer to every question, very serious and strict but is religious.
There are other minor characters like The Smoking Man, The Lone Gunman (a group of super nerds that helps Scully and Mulder) and their boss Walter Skinner who is a complete dick.
The series is broken up into a few different story lines. The first third of the series focuses on Mulder finding his abducted sister, who was abducted by aliens when they were children, the second third of the series focuses on Scully being abducted and experimented on while trying to figure out who did it to her and what they did to her. The last part of the series Mulder is barely in it. He is abducted by aliens then comes back to go into hiding from the government while Scully searches for Mulder with new FBI partners. I found out the real reason that Mulder was written off for much of the last part of the show was that actor David Duchovny was a prick who demanded more money and refused to film anywhere except Hollywood. Duchovny and Anderson while had good chemistry on set absolutely hated each other in real life and often feuded on set almost every day. I really hate it when actors quit shows right in the middle of the series. It has happened a few times, when Topher Grace quit That 70s show, and Mischa Barton quit The O.C., the show really loses the fizzle when that happens. The X-Files wasn’t an exception.
The final two seasons, Mulder is in the show maybe four or five episodes?
But let’s take a look at what made The X-Files fun to watch instead of what killed it.
The best thing that the The X-Files does throughout the series is make fun of itself. Half of the cases that are involved in the show go unsolved. In one episode, they make a reference to it. The best episode is a parody of the show “Cops” which was also broadcast on Fox. The episode puts Mulder and Scully into the “Cops” episode which is hilarious in itself. They really did an excellent job pulling off the episode with some humor thrown in because believe me, The X-Files didn’t have much laughter in it, save for the dry humor from Mulder.
The basic episode for The X-Files goes exactly like this.
Mulder and Scully investigate some weird alien or paranormal case.
Mulder says it was aliens, Scully says it was science.
Mulder and Scully find some way the government is connected to it.
They ask Skinner to investigate more into it and he says no.
The case goes unsolved, and the government conspiracy isn’t investigated.
That pretty much sums up the episodes.
It was a little frustrating to watch them when cases would go unsolved or there was no real answer as to why that event happened. I caught myself going back and forth many times throughout the series as to whether aliens were real or if it was a government conspiracy.
The series is the basis for the CBS popular show CSI. If you have ever watched CSI it is exactly like The X-Files except with murders instead of aliens. So you can thank The X-Files for setting the ground for crime scene investigation shows.
I had a hard time pounding through episodes as each one was 45 minutes long and the plot wasn’t always clear. I started watching The X-Files in March and it took me almost an entire year to get through it. It was painful in some episodes and I often caught myself not paying attention or drifting off into sleep. The plot is insane, but one thing I give The X-Files credit for is wrapping everything up in the final episodes, they literally explain everything to the viewer with flashbacks to help fill in the holes or help you understand what is about to happen.
The final episode plot goes something like this, Mulder is back and escapes government officials with Scully to a sleazy hotel room. Half bred human/alien super soldiers have now taken over parts of the government and plan on invading Earth in the year 2012. Mostly everyone from the main cast is dead besides Scully and Mulder. Thinking about how they can fight the future alien invasion, Mulder who is a non Christian points to Scully’s cross that she always wears and says something to the effect of “Maybe there are other ways or things we don’t even understand yet that will save us.”
That may have been the biggest plot twist as I never expected Mulder who made fun of Scully the entire series for being a Christian, to covert in the final minutes of the series. I actually thought it was pretty cool and touching.
As for an overall score for The X-Files, the show was tough to get through with confusing plot line, long episodes that would drag on and David Duchovny’s departure from the show in the final seasons. There were positives however, I could always count on a new monster or alien in most episodes, when The X-Files put in some humor, it really helped out and the acting was above average on most episodes. I would give the show a 7.1/10. Anyone that loves government conspiracies, or investigative shows I highly recommend it to, I just personally didn’t have the patience to sort through everything on every episode.
As for Hannah, who was fearless from The X-Files, we remained friends throughout the years. We later went to see the movie “Paranormal Activity” where I half convinced her that the movie was real. I know she jumped a few times during the movie as I smugly just sat there thinking “Why are you scared Hannah, the monsters are just fake.”