With The X-Files returning to television this Sunday on Fox at 10pm EST / 7pm CST we thought that we'd look at a few of our favorite episodes of the show this week in preparation for the show's amazing return to the airwaves (although only for 6 episodes, bummer), and while a couple days ago we covered (what we thought were) the best episodes to crash course oneself regarding the mythology of the show, today we're looking at five of our favorite episodes from the series that served as pulp fiction, standalone novellas that featured, not so much a story line that advances the shows overall mythos, but really served as fun, creepy existential forays into the heart of monstrosity and mystery. While these types of episodes, certainly, were perhaps the main inspiration for show creator Chris Carter (he has indicted the 70s show Kolchak: The Night Stalker was a major influence), these episodes feature some sort of natural or supernatural monster being behind a series of grizzly murders wherever Mulder and Scully find themselves investigating. While these monsters, certainly, in the first season of the series were often times doofy, and even worse, blatant rip-offs of classic genre films of earlier days, these episodes have become the fan favorites and perhaps equal in segmenting a certain populous when it comes to the show's fan base then, and especially today.
What follows are our favorite X-Files monsters or our favorite X-Files stand alone monster-of-the-week episodes from the series (in no particular order):
Ice (Season 1)
An early episode favorite from the series after it hit the airwaves in 1993, Ice is clearly an homage or rip-off (whatever you want to call it) of the classic science fiction film: The Thing From Another World, and its even closer to John Carpenter's re-make of the first: 1982's The Thing. Mulder and Scully are trapped out in a frozen lab where all of the scientists have died mysteriously, and one-by-one the remaining crew get picked off by a mysterious organism. There made not be a more blatant homage to the Carpenter film ever made since 1982. Nonetheless, this episode of The X-Files really set the stage for future episodes when it came to grizzly monsters and just safe for television eyeballs watching at home. Certainly, it's quite tame for today's Walking Dead-era of extreme gore and death on television, but back in 1993 it was quite nasty for the era.
Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season 3)
With an all-star cast that includes: Giovanni Ribisi, Jack Black, and Peter Boyle, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose is another of the episodes of the show that has reached extreme cult status when it comes to X-Files super-fans. Perhaps, the episode is even in the Top 10 of the series for many. And while the episode is certainly a Monster-of-the-Week tale, it played with not just aspects of the supernatural and mystery that made the show a hit, but also with aspects of the deeper metaphysical nature of man itself, as Bruckman, played brilliantly by character actor Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond), is a man who can meet people and see into the future to tell them when they will die. A very eerie episode, indeed.
Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (Season 3)
Airing on April 12th, 1996, Jose Chung's From Outer Space came right in the height of The X-Files phenomenon earning over 16 million viewers. The episode deals with a teenage couple who are abducted by aliens. Mulder and Scully hit the scene to investigate and encounter the goofy, lovable, 70s cultural icon Charles Nelson Reilly in a rare TV role. When the kids suddenly re-appear on Planet Earth, Mulder and Scully delve deep to see if, in fact, they've been abducted or are victims of a grizzly crime. Again, another episode of the series that likely would be listed o the Top 10 list of episodes of any die-hard X-files fan.
Home (Season 4)
Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate a crime out in the heart of America. When a small deformed body of a newborn child shows up in a field, the two FBI agents set to get to the bottom of it, and what they discover is disturbing to the core. The episode was so grizzly, that in the aftermath of its initial airing, the Fox Network refused to re-air it, although it did re-air later on on Fox's sister network FX.
Bad Blood (Season 5)
Whereas Season 1 and 2 of The X-files was rooted in character development with spray patterns of the overall mythology or the bigger picture narrative, Seasons 3 and 4 really amped up the series and took it to new heights. When Season 5 kicked in, fans of The X-Files were treated to a season that not only explored the total mythology occasionally, but also heightened the show's fandom even more when it aired a series of wacky, almost surreal episodes. Bad Blood was one of these. The episode ran alongside others in the season such as Chinga, which was written by X-Files super-fan / writer Stephen King even. Actor Luke Wilson has a guest-spot, and that little red-headed kid with freckles from The Sandlot (somewhat all grown up here), the latter playing a vampire in the episode makes Bad Blood quirky enough for it to serve a example or pre-dating work ahead of such recent shows for example as Ash Vs. The Evil Dead, comedy wise.