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Overview of the X-Files

Overview of the X-Files

 

What is the X-Files?

The X-Files story centers on two protagonists, FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. They are a contrast to each other particularly on their approach in handling their cases. Mulder is a believer in anything paranormal and the existence of aliens – he’s the more gullible one between them, and will pursue what he believes in ,no matter how foolish it seems. Scully is the more skeptical one, and will do anything to disprove Mulder’s beliefs by finding scientific analyses in their cases.

 

The conception of the hit sci-fi series

Agents Scully and Mulder
Agents Scully and Mulder

 

 

This science fiction/drama/horror/mystery/thriller show was conceptualized by producer Chris Carter in 1992. Carter had been working for Walt Disney Pictures but he wanted to do other things. Carter was inspired by the stories of people getting abducted by aliens, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (a horror-drama TV series in 1970s) as well as the Watergate scandal – and these provide the idea for the formation of the The X-Files. Other inspirations behind The X-Files included The Twilight Zone, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Thin Blue Line, Prime Suspect, and so many others. After failing in his initial pitch in front of Fox executives, Carter’s second try worked and his pilot episode was finally commissioned.

The role of Agent Mulder went to David Duchovny and the role of Agent Scully went to Gillian Anderson. The two actors were relative unknowns then.

 

 X-Files Poster
X-Files Poster

Rise and decline on the ratings, and its cancellation

The X-Files premiered on September 10, 1993, to welcoming reviews from critics who predicted its potential. The pilot episode garnered about 12 million viewers. In the second season, ratings were gradually increasing – the figures weren’t spectacular but they were positively on the upswing, leading the show to earn a cult status. During the show’s fourth season it gained its highest audience share, when one of their episodes, “Leonard Betts” earned 29.1 million viewers. The X-Files had by then become one of Fox’s top television programs. But by season six, ratings began to the decline; by 2001 Duchovy quit full-time partly because of the contract disputes between him and the network, leaving the producer uncertain over the show’s future. It was decided that Duchovny’s character Agent Mulder was abducted by aliens at the end of the show’s seventh season. The show unveiled new lead characters in John Doggett and Monica Reyes, but this didn’t boost the show’s ratings. In 2002, the show was canceled after spending nine successful seasons on the air.

 

“Monster of the Week”

Phyllis Paddock as one of the X-Files' "Monster of the Week" (on "Die Hand Die Verletzt" episode)
Phyllis Paddock as one of the X-Files’ “Monster of the Week” (on “Die Hand Die Verletzt” episode)

 

One of the most famous components of the show is the “Monster Of The Week” characters that made up much of many of the show’s episodes, and indirectly influenced the show’s mythology. Some of the famous “Monsters Of The Week” were Phyllis Paddock, The Flukeman, The Beggar, The Great Mutato, Leonard, Eves, Leonard Betts, The Peacock Family, Robert Patrick Modell, and many others.

 

Films and spin-off shows

During the show’s 9-year run, Carter took The X-Files onto the big screen with the feature film of the same title (it’s also alternately known as The X-Files: Fight The Future), which was a massive box-office hit. A second feature film was released titled The X-Files: I Want To Believe in 2008, six years after the series’ cancellation; it was a moderate success. There are talks about the possibility of a third film, as of this writing.

The show also produced some spin-offs such as the short-lived seriesThe Lone Gunmen that starred some of The X-Files characters as well as the “The X-Files Season Ten” comic book series.

The show won several Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards, as well numerous nominations for the show itself and its lead stars Duchovny and Anderson.

The X-Files was the defining show during the 1990s, and it came right smack during the era where people’s mistrust of the government was widespread, growing interest in conspiracy theories and spirituality was embraced, not to mention the belief that there were really aliens and other extraterrestrial life. It was really a pop culture phenomenon.

 

Some humorous and memorable X-Files quotes and dialogues

 

On “Die Hand Die Verletz” episode:
Scully: “Mulder, toads just fell from the sky.”
Mulder: “I guess their parachutes didn’t open.”

***
Mulder: “Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?”

On “Max” episode:
Scully: “She’s in a mental institute.”
Mulder: “I’d go with you but I’m afraid they’d lock me up too.”

On “Revelations” episode:
Scully: “I’m afraid that God is speaking and no one is listening.”

On “The Blessing Way” episode:
Well-Manicured Man (antagonist): “We predict the future. And the best way to predict it, is to invent it.”

On the “Unusual Suspects” episode”
Susanne Modeski (one of the recurring characters): “No matter how paranoid you are, you’re not paranoid enough.”

 

 

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