The Truth is Out There
Given that I've referenced The X-Files numerous times this month in my other reviews, I should forewarn you: I could write a LOT about this series. Ya'll might think I'm crazy. But I swear I NEVER wrote any Mulder/Scully fanfiction (or Mulder/Skinner, Mulder/alien?)
For the uninitiated: Loner agent Fox Mulder works on cases the FBI deem strange and unsolveable. Dana Scully, agent ad medical doctor, is assigned as his new partner with the intent to debunk Mulder's increasingly paranoid investigation findings (why they didn't just fire him, I don't know). The heart of the show is how the two challenge each other's ideals: Mulder, a believer in the paranormal, and Scully, who depends on logic and fact. Beyond investigating mysteries involving unseen forces, evil twins and shapeshifters, a shadowy section of the government called The Syndicate is shown to have a hand in covering up current cases, which throws Mulder even deeper into his paranoia over government conspiracy.
The X-Files serves as a turning point for genre television; not a lot of sci-fi makes it to the networks so it takes a really inventive show to do something different. While Twin Peaks was arguably more of a game-changer, it only lasted two seasons and was so quirky it didn't maintain the wider audience the The X-Files ended up with. The 1998 movie The X-Files: Fight the Future shows how Big Time this little sci-fi show grew. I really liked the movie, but it also was probably the peak of the series. The show painted itself into a corner by featuring the two leads so much, that by season 7 the actors were pretty tired. By then it felt too late to throw in new agents, but that's what happened. I admit, I still haven't seen the very last season all the way through. It got a bit convoluted with Mulder and Scully having an alien love child. I wish I was joking.
Why You Should Watch: Foundational TV viewing for any fan of J.J. Abrams' shows, or fan of sci-fi in general. I wonder where shows like CSI or Fringe would be without The X-Files.
Factoids: The Lone Gunmen, Mulder's go-to geeks, had a brief spin-off series by the same name. One episode involved a terrorist hijack of an airplane to crash into the World Trade Center ... which aired in March 2001, six months prior to the actual attacks. Now THAT'S eerie.