With the return of The X-Files
, albeit, a 6-episode teaser set to air this Sunday, January 24th at 10pm EST / 7pm CST, we thought that we'd do our TVSO readers a solid and post what we feel are the best 5 episodes of The X-Files
from the first turn of the series. Now, if you haven't watched an episode of The X-Files
, or either of the two feature movies that have come out since the series went off the air, not to worry--as there are two things that you need to know. 1.) There is a bigger picture story that runs through the entire Fox Television TV series of the 90s
. Well okay, actually there are two bigger stories that run through the series. The first: FBI Agent Fox Mulder, who is played by actor David Duchovny is on the search for his missing sister "Samantha." She was possibly abducted by aliens or by the government in a conspiracy against the people of the United States to cover up the existence that aliens are out there. 2.) There is the total conspiracy that involves "The Cigarette-Smoking Man" as well as "X," the latter played by well-known character actor Steven Williams. The Cigarette-Smoking Man plays for both sides, firstly though, he tries however he might to turn agents Mulder and Scully off the trail of exposing to the world that aliens do exist, and then at times of weakness, he helps them when they are in dire need as well. X, played by actor Williams, is a tipster who secretly gets clues to Mulder regarding the overall narrative of the series spread across later seasons of the show.
Most will argue that there was also a third story-line which ran an arc over the total of the series as well. 3.) The love story / sexual tension between agents Mulder and Scully. Will they get together or won't they? While, the creators of the show always tried to keep things heated up between them during the run of the show, in the end, Mulder left the series as it finished up its prime run--leaving fans to assume that they had, in some way, established a romantic relationship.
Duchovny as Mulder was replaced by actor Robert Patrick, and Patrick with Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully went through the motions as it drifted in ratings in its final couple seasons. It would take two feature films, released in the wake of the series leaving the air, for some of our questions to be cleared up about the bigger-picture conspiracy mythos as well as the relationship between Mulder and Scully in later years, even though by the end of the series we knew that they, in fact, did get together. But they certainly didn't live happily ever after.
With the show returning to Fox this Sunday night, many are trying to get caught up so that they can join in on the fun, and as there were over 200 episodes produced during the shows run, we understand the sheer impossibility for many to actually get caught up, obtain a firm grasp of the bigger story line mythos that runs across the series as well as experience the tensions between Mulder and Scully. So, we thought that we'd put together a quick guide / short list of the episodes of the show and the movies that you might have missed so that you can be prepared for the show's return this Sunday night on Fox at 10pm EST.
The entire run of The X-Files
is available on DVD
, and for those who are streaming-fanatics, the series is also available via Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Pilot (Air date: 9/10/1993)
The best place to start is with the beginning of the story itself. In The X-Files Pilot episode, simply called "Pilot," The X-files mythos is set into motion and Mulder is introduced to his new parent Agent Scully. The two, from the start, have a chemistry and a spark that will send them on many investigations in the first two and three seasons of the show. And while the overall storyline of the story itself is also set into motion in the pilot episode, the first couple seasons really focus on establishing characters as well as building on their chemistry together and their partnership as detectives as they encounter strange, and at times, obvious phenomenon.
Duane Berry / Ascension (Air date 10-14-94 / 10-21-94)
In this two-part episode, which, in the wake of its airing on Fox during the show's second season, really sparked the shows cult fandom. These episodes really pushed forward the overall total story line about the government covering up aliens and abductions and also configured how both Mulder and Scully were part of it. And while every episode of the show had really been great up until Duane Barry and Ascension--it was these two episodes that fans of the show realized that they were all watching something that was just unlike any other thing that has aired on television prior.
One Breath (Air date 11-4-94)
Whereas The Cigarette Smoking Man has almost only been a character looming in the shadows of FBI Assistant Director Skinner's office prior, One Breath not only advanced the conspiracy/mythology storyline three-fold, but it was also the first time that audiences got a dose of The Cigarette Smoking Man and exactly who we was, what he might do, and how much of this total mythology was tied back to his doing. Additionally, One Breath also really gave fans of the show that feeling that Mulder was, in his way, in love with Scully in the wake of an alien abduction she experienced episodes prior which left her in a coma. The entire episode Mulder stalks around looking for the answers behind her disappearance which leads him to the Cigarette Smoking Man's apartment, where Mulder confronts him and threatens him. The Cigarette Smoking Man's response? "Don't threaten me, Mulder--I've watched President's die..."
Anasazi (Air date 5-19-1995)
Fans of the show were stunned with this finale to the Second Season. Arguably the best season finale episode of the entire series, Anasazi delved deep into the mythology of the show and enlisted the aid of The Lone Gunman (who got their own short-lived Fox spin-off series), and saw Mulder being kidnapped and left for dead in a train car out in the middle of the desert surrounded by the bodies of dead alien beings.
Movies: X-Files: Fight The Future / X-Files: I Want To Believe
With Fight The Future released in 1998, the film focuses on the overall mythology of the series and really answered a lot of the questions that were left in the heads of the show's fan base. I Want To Believe was a report to the more episodic investigation early show run episodes that had the duo in the throws of a supernatural mystery. While at the same time, the last movie I Want To Believe, released in 2008, updated us completely on the relationship status of Mulder and Scully. Both are essential viewings, even though, they were attacked and savaged on their release into theaters as standalone pieces in the wake of the series.