The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series. It is part of The X-Files franchise, created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002, spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes. The series recounted the exploits of FBISpecial Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involvingparanormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder’s discoveries that debunk Mulder’s work and thus return him to mainstream cases. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger conflict and come to trust only each other. They develop a close relationship, which begins as a platonic friendship, but becomes a romance by series end. In addition to the series-spanning story arc, “Monster-of-the-Week” episodes formed roughly two-thirds of the episodes. In such stand-alone episodes, Mulder and Scully investigated strange crimes that had no effect on the show’s mythology, though the episodes enriched the show’s background.
The X-Files was inspired by shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Darkside and especiallyKolchak: The Night Stalker. When creating the main characters, Carter sought to reverse the usual gender stereotypes and made Mulder a believer and Scully a skeptic. For the first seven seasons, the show featured Duchovny and Anderson equally. In the last two seasons Anderson became the star, while Duchovny appeared intermittently, following a lawsuit. New main characters were introduced: FBI agents John Doggett(Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). Mulder and Scully’s boss, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), also became a main character. The first five seasons of The X-Files were filmed and produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the series eventually moved toLos Angeles, California to accommodate Duchovny.
The X-Files was a hit for the Fox network; initially it was considered a cult show, but eventually gained mainstream popularity. By the time it ended, the show had become the longest-running science fiction series in U.S. television history. The series spawned a spin-off show, and two feature films. The series received largely positive reviews from television critics, although its long-term story arc was criticized near the show’s conclusion. The series won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, and Duchovny and Anderson received multiple award nominations with several wins. It became a popular culture touchstone, tapping into public mistrust of governments and large institutions and embracing conspiracy theories and spirituality.
The X-Files follows the careers and personal lives of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Mulder is a talented profiler and a firm believer in thesupernatural. He is also adamant about the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life and its presence on Earth. This set of beliefs earns him the nickname “Spooky” and an assignment to a little-known department that deals with unsolved cases, known as the X-Files. His belief in the paranormal springs from the claimed abduction of his sister Samantha Mulder by extraterrestrials when Mulder was 12. Her abduction drives Mulder throughout most of the series. Because of this, as well as more nebulous desires for vindication and the revelation of truths kept hidden by human authorities, Mulder struggles to maintain objectivity in his investigations. Agent Scully is a foil for Mulder in this regard. As a medical doctor and natural skeptic, Scully approaches cases with complete detachment even when Mulder, despite his considerable training, loses his objectivity. Her initial task is to debunk Mulder’s theories, supplying logical, scientific explanations for the cases’ apparently unexplainable phenomena. Although she is frequently able to offer scientific alternatives to Mulder’s deductions, she is rarely able to refute them completely. Over the course of the series, she becomes increasingly dissatisfied with her own ability to approach the cases scientifically.
Various episodes also deal with the relationship between Mulder and Scully, originally platonic, but that later develops romantically. Mulder and Scully are joined by John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) late in the series, after Mulder is abducted. Doggett replaces him as Scully’s partner and helps her search for him, later involving Reyes, of whom Doggett had professional knowledge. The X-Files ends when Mulder is secretly subjected to a military tribunal for breaking into a top-secret military facility and viewing plans for alien invasionand colonization of Earth. He is found guilty, but he escapes punishment with the help of the other agents and he and Scully become fugitives.