Who: “The X-Files,” a cult science fiction horror drama that aired on the Fox network from 1993-2002 (and that garnered millions of ratings, despite its cult flavor).
What: “The X-Files” revolves around FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating so-called X-Files, i.e. marginalized, unsolved cases outside of the FBI mainstream involving paranormal and/or extraterrestrial phenomena, as well as the government conspiracy to hide the truth about those phenomena.
Agent Mulder wholeheartedly believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal, while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to apply scientific analysis to Mulder’s discoveries for the purpose of debunking his work and steering him back toward the FBI mainstream, in which he was initially a gifted profiler on the fast track. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger government conspiracy and conflict and come to trust only each other. They develop a close relationship, which begins as a platonic friendship but becomes a romance by the end of the series. Episodes consist of so-called mythology story arcs, devoted to the larger, nefarious conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials (and their apparently hostile aims) as well as “monster of the week” episodes, i.e. standalone episodes exploring subjects of horror, science fiction, humanism, and, at times, humor.
The main story arc involves the agents’ efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth and their sinister collaboration with those governments. Mysterious men comprising a shadow element within the U.S. government, known as “The Syndicate,” are the major villains in the series. They are usually represented by The Smoking Man (William B. Davis), a ruthless killer, masterful politician, negotiator, and the series’ principal antagonist, though the viewer learns of other characters directly and indirectly attached to the Syndicate. The characters assigned to investigate the X-Files throughout the series report to FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi).
When: The show aired in its entirety from 1993-2002 on the Fox network.
Where: The show is set primarily at FBI Headquarters (particularly in the basement) in Washington, DC, but the agents investigate X-Files all over the country and sometimes overseas and/or across international borders.
Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found The X-Files series. They are all personal and occasionally touching.
How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!
Have you heard?! In January 2016, Fox will begin airing a revival miniseries bringing back our two favorite agents, Mulder and Scully, and some of their allies and enemies for six brand new episodes, and the first brand new episodes in fourteen years, of the The X-Files! Quivering with anticipation, I knew CPU! would have to review the miniseries, as the original X-Files series is one of this viewer’s all time favorite shows, but to do so seemed silly without first covering that original series in-depth. Since I know a few people in my life who love the X-Files as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true X-Files scholars, in what has become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at the show that fuels our respective imaginations and tugs at our TV-loving hearts. The first three episodes of this series will review the nine seasons of the original show, while the fourth episode will delve into the expanded universe, including films, spin-offs, and comics, as well as each individual panelist’s favorite and least favorite episodes from the series, among other categories. In the fifth episode, the panel will convene to discuss the miniseries and all of its hoped for glory – will it be a return to X-Files form, fourteen years after its initial departure from our TV screens? Or, will it be more like Season 9 or, worse, the film I Want to Believe? The panelists remain hopeful that it’s the former and not the latter, though some are more confident than others.
In this first podcast episode of CPU!’s X-Files series, our panel – Sarah, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and moderator Kylie – take a look back at the first three seasons of the show, covering the series beginning and its initial growing pains and catapult to national popularity. We discuss our favorites and least favorites within each season and our general impressions of the success of the first three seasons, which initially aired on Friday nights on the FOX network.
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And stay tuned for episode two of this podcast series, in which the panel discusses seasons 4-6 of The X-Files, to be released on December 16, 2015! Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!
The X-Files is recommended to anyone who loves science fiction and/or horror and doesn’t mind a bit of both at the same time. As we discuss in the podcast, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, not the least of which include Lost, Supernatural, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Bones, and other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally. This show has a bit of everything, including a dynamic chemistry between its two leads, who have appeared on other series separately, such as Californication, Hannibal, Twin Peaks, and Crisis. Really, if you love television, and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time for The X-Files – you will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides, whether you enjoy large serial story arcs that provide more questions than answers and keep you guessing or standalone episodes that tell a new and interesting story each week. This series has both, which may be one of the secrets to its overall success. The entire series is available at all of the streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Watch it: you won’t regret it!