During the run of the television series The X-Filesmany books based on it were written and released, including novels based on episodes, a series of comic books from Topps Comicsand many "official" and "unauthorized" non-fiction books. Some of the novels, which were published in both hardcover and trade paperback editions, were adapted into audiobooks read by two of the series' stars, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi. Some novels were also released as audiobooks read by actor Bill Smitrovich. Ina comic book adaptation of Millennium was released. This game is set within the timeline of the second or third season and follows Agent Craig Willmore in his search for the missing Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
Likely thanks to a new life granted by streaming services, the nine-season show—one of the most elaborate, long-winded, beleaguered, and beloved cult sci-fi series in TV history—has received ever-expanding acclaim and became a cultural juggernaut once again.
The short version: Dana Scully Gillian Anderson , a doctor and skeptic working for the FBI, is assigned to essentially babysit fellow agent Fox Mulder David Duchovny , a believer to a fault whose sister was abducted by aliens or otherwise when they were children and whose investigations into the FBI's inexplicable X-Files cases often need an anchor in reality.
To get the really long version you need to watch the entire series—and for that, we're here to help. As the show progressed, notably after the sixth season and subsequent X-Files movie, critics noted that showrunners—of whom there were many, including creator Chris Carter and Breaking Bad impresario Vince Gilligan—seemed to be losing their grip on its story arc, trying new ideas out and discarding them before the audience even had a chance to recover.
Eventually people would start calling this the Chris Carter effect, a phenomenon wherein a show starts losing followers because its plot loses its mind. But plot consistency isn't why one binge-watches a show like this. In the same way one doesn't watch Lost for its satisfying ending , The X-Files has been unshackled from its ratings duties for over a decade and is now more about the fun of experiencing what has become the Rosetta Stone for both its onscreen descendants and the way modern TV maintains loyal fanbases.
In other words, relax. After a while, you're not going to care about how it ends. Because you'll want to believe. The X-Files Number of Seasons: 9 episodes Time Requirements: Brace yourself for this one: If you're going all the way, it'll take more than hours. If you clock four-hour binges, seven days a week, it'll take you 38 days.
Three weeks 21 days with seven-hour binges, seven days a week.
About a month if you do four hours per weekday and eight hours every weekend day. Not only is she a completely capable doctor with a conflicted inner life the ol' faith-versus-science thing , she's also the ethical, logical, and emotional anchor of the whole show.
When nothing is making any sense as it often does as the show progresses , Scully usually does. Clyde and the agent both "die," but the robber's consciousness takes up residence in the agent's body and "lives" to find his way back to Bonnie.
Trust, it's about as dull as X-Files episodes come.
Or something? Don't worry, Scully returns in Season 2, Episode 8. Season 3: Episode 18, "Teso Dos Bichos" Fans like calling this generally-hated, Ecuadorian-themed episode "the one with all the cats. Season 4: Episode 3, "Teliko" This episode, about an African immigrant who lacks a pituitary gland and kills other black men to literally suck out their skin pigment for himself as a result, is actually surprisingly relevant in its portrayal of institutional indifference towards the suffering of people of color.
However, it's also an episode made by a bunch of white guys about the dangers of xenophobia, and ends up dehumanizing the characters anyway.
Plus, composer Mark Snow's score acts like a racism detector, its panflutes going on high alert every time a non-white person is involved in a case.
Season 4: Episode 13, "Never Again" A dude's tattoo comes to life and drives him to kill people, including Scully, whom he convinces to get a tattoo of her own. True, the episode has been lauded for its exploration of Scully's more human imperfections, but the overall effect is Not relevant to the larger plot, really, and the fan consensus is that its premise was beyond silly, so you're safe flying over this one.
Season 5: Episodes 6 and 7, "Christmas Carol" and "Emily" These are not terrible episodes in themselves.
But the arc, which finds Scully facing yet another surprise residual of her abduction and very politically symbolic reproductive violation, isn't really relevant to the rest of the story. It also doesn't really get enough room to explore a seriously traumatic topic like reproductive rights—especially since we don't ever hear about the incident again.
Season 7: Episode 20, "Fight Club" Even showrunners admit this episode, which stars Kathy Griffin as catastrophically destructive twins who make people want to kill each other and cause natural disasters when they're together, had "an odd tone," one from which critics would later recoil because of its forced charm.
Much of Seasons As long as it's not listed in the next section, feel free to ditch whatever you want from these seasons. Once Duchovny mostly peaces out after Season 7 the show totally jumps the shark, and it's all fair skipping game.
In particular: the Season 2 closer "Anasazi" minus its questionable use of Native American religion and the wise, magical shaman trope and the Season 3 and Season 5 finales. Season 1: Episode 5, "Squeeze" The antagonist of this monster-of-the-week episode is a seemingly immortal psychopath who squeezes through grates to eat people's livers.
Greasy, sticky, delightfully disgusting. This is also one of the hilarious episodes in which we see Mulder and Scully use computers with a grasp on technology. At one point, Scully actually circles something on a screen with a red crayon.
Bless this show. Pro tip: If you're skipping through based on synopses, never miss an episode that features technology.
Season 1: Episode 9, "Space" A space ghost hitches a ride with an astronaut coming back into the atmosphere in and wreaks havoc on another mission from his now-grounded body several years later. The ghost itself isn't that terrifying; in fact, a lot of fans really despise this episode for its faux-spooky vibes.
What is scary and worth seeing is a truth Mulder points out about NASA and space exploration in general: "We're having these guys unlock the doors to the universe without knowing what's behind them.
Season 1: Episode 13, "Beyond the Sea" Watch this for some spectacular acting from Gillian Anderson when Scully must reckon with the loss of her father while also dealing with a death row inmate who claims to be psychic. This was totally one of the episodes that cemented the show's nine-year reign.
Season 1: Episode 24, "The Erlenmeyer Flask" The Season 1 finale not only gives us the show's "Trust No One" tagline, its strong narrative was symbolic of the show's future success: Mulder and Scully actually discover concrete proof of extraterrestrial life Season 2: Episode 2, "The Host" For X-Files newcomers, imagine the nightmare baby-eater from Pan's Labyrinth, only it lives in the sewers under your apartment building.
That's more or less the waterlogged monster in this episode, which blames the creature's condition on the Chernobyl disaster.
It's both hilariously '90s and hauntingly iconic at the same time—in other words, a classic X-Files. Season 2: Episodes 5 and 6, "Duane Barry" and "Ascension" This two-episode arc features Scully's terrifying abduction maybe by aliens? Required viewing, especially if you're going the way of the myth arc.
Season 2: Episode 20, "Humbug" Undoubtedly the funniest episode of the series, this case involves a freak show, perfectly deadpan potato jokes, and Anderson possibly eating a real live cricket. It doesn't get better than this.
Season 3: Episode 20, "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" Arguably one of the most iconic episodes of the series, this is a mostly self-contained noir-type script that has the agents retelling various versions of a case to a famous author who plans to write about it.
The differing accounts give the episode some really solid jokes. Season 4: Episode 2, "Home" Another iconic monster-of-the-weeker, this one was the first X-Files episode to get a Viewer Discretion Advised warning because it's basically about a family of murderous, monstrously deformed, Confederate hermit farmers who bury a baby alive.
Spoiler: The baby was the product of incest with their limbless mother. Needless to say, this one is a classic, myth arc or no.
Season 5: Episode 5, "The Post-Modern Prometheus" A s horror parody, this black-and-white classic chronicles the agents' trip to a backwoods, Jerry Springer-obsessed town where a mutant created by a Frankenstein-esque scientist has been impregnating a bunch of women. It's one of the series' hokey, hyuk-hyuk episodes, but unlike many of them, it pulls off the gag perfectly while also including a meaningful tragic streak.
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|Bloody Disgusting!||Duchovny and Anderson also play their TV roles out on the big screen.|
Also: The soundtrack includes Cher. This Hitchcockian episode marked a real turning point for The X-Files, not only because it was clear no one had any idea what the hell was going on with this television show, but also, because of this, showrunners decided they were done beating around the sexual-tension bush ahem and just let it all hang out.
It's basically the episode you've been waiting five seasons to see.
Add Provenance and Providence for the return of the Lone Gunmen to the show after a sojurn in their own spin-off. Route 5: Format-bending and meta episodes For its first few years, while The X-Files surprised audiences with the nature of its monsters or the developments in its arc plot, the format of the show remained broadly stable.
Why You Should Binge: If not to catch up on one of the best sci-fi shows in the history of television, really prove your geek mettle, or indulge your frustration with and mistrust of the government, then at least watch it to enjoy the characters' hilariously amateur grip on technology.
Take these email addresses , for example. Also, to see how many times writers conveniently forgot that Agent Scully is a physician capable of understanding basic biology. Her confusion peters off after a while, thankfully.
Best Scene s : Needless to say, with episodes, not to mention two movies, there are many "best scene"s. But, as Scully puts it in an early episode, "so are lies.