Michelle’s Top Five Shows #4 – THE X-FILES

The X-Files

Number four on my list of favorite shows of all time is THE X-FILES, the first show to get me involved in online fandom, way back in the days of LISTSERV. It’s also the first show I ever broke up with, so the following really only covers the first seven seasons.

What it’s About:

“The Truth is Out There.” The X-Files followed FBI Special Agents Fox “Spooky” Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they investigated cases involving the paranormal or other phenomena that couldn’t be explained conventionally. Mulder was the believer since his sister was abducted by aliens years before and Scully was the skeptic, the medical doctor assigned to rein Mulder in. The two developed a bond as strong as any seen on television. The show split its time between the monster of the week and the over-arching mythology of Mulder’s attempt to prove the government was hiding the existence of extra-terrestrials and conspiring with said aliens.

What I Love About It:

I loved the moody atmosphere and creepy puzzles The X-Files delivered each episode with such a terrific balance of drama, science fiction, and humor. The writing was tight, the mysteries suspenseful, and the all-important mythology was always there but never overplayed. I especially loved Mulder and Scully with their incredible chemistry and dialogue and their connection that grew season after season while their interaction stayed fresh. The supporting characters from the awesome and more badass than you might expect Skinner to the creepy Cigarette Smoking Man or the goofy Lone Gunmen added color and depth. No show could make me laugh or bite my fingernails harder and no show could make my heart fall farther then when Mulder hit a dead-end and the sorrow and frustration clouded his face.

Why You Should Watch It:

There really was nothing like The X-Files on television when it premiered, and its influence can still be seen, but the original had it all: fascinating mysteries, central characters you had to root for, and a mythology arc that couldn’t be beaten. While The X-Files was generally dark in the best, most subversive way ever, it had some of the funniest episodes of any show, and it also had heart: Mulder and Scully against the universe. In a world where you can trust no one, there two had each other and their relationship was one of the most complex and interesting ever. DVDs are the perfect way to watch The X-Files. Start at the beginning and get sucked into the conspiracy. You won’t be sorry, at least not until some point during the seventh season.

My favorite episodes:

5. Triangle (Season 6)–Gorgeous and perfectly paced episode where Mulder was in the Bermuda Triangle on a ship the Nazis took over before World War II. In addition to their usual roles, the cast played characters on the ship in the past.
4. Home (Season 4) –Probably the creepiest episode, it dealt with inbreeding, or as my husband calls it, “the one where they wheel the mother out from under the bed.”
3. The Post-Modern Prometheus (Season 5)–Shot in black and white, this is the Frankenstein episode where The Great Mutato, a genetic experiment, wants acceptance.
2. Paper Clip (Season 3)–Intense mythology episode involving a digital tape, a Skinner-Cigarette Smoking Man showdown, Krycek, and Skinner and Scully resolving their armed standoff.
1. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season 3)–There was a string of murders of psychic and fortune tellers and Peter Boyle guest-starred as a psychic who knew how people would die.

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame