To try and skip what could end up as paragraphs of explanation I’d like to just state that I’m well aware that I’m cheating by placing a television show on a blog dedicated to film, but I ask you to look at the options I had. “X-Men”? Vin Diesel’s “XXX“? I think not! So with that in mind I’d like to begin my review of the one of the greatest television shows of the 1990’s in all its dated glory! (There had better be a good film beginning with “X” soon or otherwise I’m going to be in trouble next time)!
“The X-Files” was a science-fiction/horror based show created by Chris Carter, a sci-fi enthusiast who also has a large interest in the study of numerology (a theme consistently present in many of the episodes he wrote for the series). The main story revolved around FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who are assigned to the “X-Files” department of the FBI’s headquarters, a section where unexplained and paranormal cases are filed to be solved. As the show progressed Mulder and Scully uncovered many numerous and perplexing cases, some solved, others left seeped in mystery; however the show throughout its whole nine season run also had a main storyline running consistently. Both main characters slowly begin to discover a government run conspiracy revolving around a deadly black liquid and the kidnappings of children across the globe, culminating in the show’s finale.
The main conspiracy storyline at times was the most captivating reason to watch the fine work that Carter and numerous other talented writers pulled off. At other times it was the most difficult and boring aspect to sift through, taking liberties with its fan base and dragging out sequences to fulfill an episode’s running time. The best seasons for the main conspiracy were from 2 to 5, with the X-Files movie released in 1998 acting as a filler between seasons 5 and 6. To mention the wonderfully made dozens, if not tens of dozens of stand alone episodes throughout the show would be an impossible task to summarise on a simple blog like this one. Needless to say the gore, horror, atmosphere and effects were only a small part of the show’s legacy but were quite easily its most memorable moments. From ancient mythology to cyber-punk future-shock, The X-Files covered just about every single sub-genre that lurks within the large world of science fiction, but also managed to keep the believability of the series afloat.
This believability was made possible through the actors who play Mulder and Scully, (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson respectfully), who not only gave their characters a subtle but ingenious human touch without ever falling into romance, but they also managed to create a friendship and bond that held strong up to the show’s end. Both actors have gone on to enjoy roles in several successful films and television shows, but the iconography and legacy of the X-Files will always be what they’re most remembered for; whether that’s a gift or a curse for Duchovny and Anderson I have no idea. Without trying to do any more injustice to the many other elements of the show I have already missed out, I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the incredibly strong supporting cast that helped to give the world of Chris Carter’s series its colourful (to say the least) character ensemble. From Tony Shaloub, to Giovanni Robisi, Brad Dourif to Peter Boyle, R. Lee Ermey to Lili Taylor, The X-Files not only recruited some of the best American and Canadian actors of the time, but they also never allowed one particular supporting actors star power to outshine the main thread through the episode they featured in. The show focused on Mulder and Scully, no one else, just as it should have!
From its memorable theme music, moody lighting, larger than life characters, intriguing plots and inventive storylines; The X-Files certainly was one of the greatest television shows to have ever been made for audiences across the globe. It would win fifteen Emmy’s, 5 Golden Globes, and 2 BAFTA’s during its run, earning the respect of not just the general public, but also film and television critics across continents. The domestic advent of the internet throughout the decade also helped the show define its fan base after each broadcast, a first for any mainstream program of its time. Chris Carter set out to make a series that would delve into the popular modern-day mythos of conspiracy and governmental control over people, What came out of his labour of love was a television series that not only struck a chord with audiences globally, but was also so unique and original in its own way that no show since has managed to pull off the same iconography and legacy that The X-Files tapped into so well; making audiences truly hope that “the truth is out there”……somewhere.