The XFiles

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See also The X-Files (books) and The X Files Movie

Template:Infobox television

The X-Files was a popular American television series created by Chris Carter. It ran for nine seasons, from 1993 to 2002, spawning a feature film in 1998, with first-run episodes airing on the FOX network. It was a critical and commercial success, due in part to its stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

Fox Mulder, played by Duchovny, and Dana Scully, played by Anderson, are two FBI agents tasked with investigating paranormal phenomena. With plots spanning alien conspiracy theories and high-level governmental cover-ups, the show mimicked episodic elements found in earlier shows such as The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and the cult show Twin Peaks, in which Duchovny had appeared as a cross-dressing DEA agent. The series became a surprise run-away success, with a devoted following. Fans of show became known as "X-Philes" or "eXcers". The term "X-Philes" was coined by Matt Grommes on an early Fidonet X-Files message board.

The series popularized the catch-phrases "Trust No One," "The Truth Is Out There," and "I Want to Believe" and fostered a substantial fan following. Fans commonly divide X-Files stories into "Mytharc" ("mythology") episodes, which concerned the ongoing tale of an impending alien invasion and a conspirational coverup, and stand-alone "Monster-of-the-Week" episodes, which dealt with strange, other-worldly creatures and situations relating to the paranormal. The series was also known for its occasionally humorous episodes of this variety. Several installments also explored the relationship between Mulder and Scully, while some episodes focused on popular supporting characters such as Walter Skinner or the Lone Gunmen.

A separate fan base evolved, referred to as "shippers" (relationshippers), which chronicled and relished the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully; the term subsequently entered the fan lexicon, as "shipping". One pivotal shipper episode was "Triangle" (6x03), in which Mulder and Scully shared their first on-camera kiss - on a ship, in fact - although the events in episode did not actually take place in the reality of the show (most of it taking place in a dream sequence).

The X-Files was declared by TV Guide to be one of the greatest television shows of all time, and the second greatest cult TV show of all time, behind Star Trek. Chris Carter used The X-Files as a springboard for one spin-off show in the same universe, The Lone Gunmen, one show that eventually crossed over with "The X-Files", Millennium, and the apparently unrelated Harsh Realm. These did not capture the public or critical attention to the same degree as The X-Files, however.

Current distribution

In the United States, episodes are shown frequently on cable television on the Sci-Fi Channel and TNT on at various times from Monday through Friday. Episodes can also be seen on a station-by-station basis in local markets thanks to syndication and syndication episodes are also available on weekends on the cable superstation WGN.



Chris Carter listed television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker as his major influences for the show. Actor Darren McGavin who played Carl Kolchak in Kolchak: The Night Stalker appeared in two episodes of The X-Files as Agent Arthur Dales, a character who is described as the "father of the X-Files."


Several feature films have also influenced The X-Files. All The President's Men, Three Days of the Condor, The Thing, The Boys from Brazil, and JFK can be cited as X-Files influences, and often have by the producers.


The X-Files inspired numerous other TV series, including Strange World, Burning Zone, Special Unit 2, Mysterious Ways, Carnivàle, Dark Skies, The 4400, and Threshold none of which enjoyed the same popularity or following that The X-Files achieved.

The influence can also be seen on other levels: Alias has developed a complex mythology that brings to mind the "mytharc" of the X-Files. In addition, many procedural dramas feature a Mulder-esque lead with a supervisor similiar to Skinner or Kersh. Some of these procedurals, such as NCIS, feature a quirky technogeek similar to the Lone Gunmen characters.

Fox also screened a companion series based upon The X-Files entitled Millennium, also produced by Chris Carter. The storylines of Millennium and The X-Files occasionally crossed over, with Scully and Mulder making cameo appearances - albeit on an overhead television - in at least one episode of Millennium. Frank Black, the protagonist of Millennium, eventually appeared in The X-Files to tie up loose ends after Millennium was abruptly cancelled.


Over the course of its nine seasons, The X-Files won two acting Emmy awards, one writing award, and several technical awards.


In 1996, Peter Boyle won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of the title character in the third-season episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose".

In 1997, Gillian Anderson won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for her portrayal of Agent Dana Scully.


In 1996, Darin Morgan won the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Drama Series for his episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose". "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" was one of four highly-acclaimed episodes Morgan wrote during his short time on the show's writing staff.


Throughout its run, The X-Files won the following awards in various technical categories:

  • 1994 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences
  • 1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series
  • 1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series
  • 1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series
  • 1997 Outstanding Art Direction for a Series
  • 1997 Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series
  • 1998 Outstanding Art Direction for a Series
  • 1998 Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series
  • 1999 Outstanding Makeup for a Series
  • 2000 Outstanding Makeup for a Series
  • 2000 Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series
  • 2000 Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series
  • 2001 Outstanding Makeup for a Series

The X-Files: Fight the Future

In 1998 the series produced a motion picture, The X-Files: Fight the Future. It was intended as a continuation of the season five finale, "The End" (5x20), but was also meant to stand on its own. The film was a commercial success. However, it attracted generally muted reviews from many major critics and, although the worldwide popularity of the show helped the movie's intake, the domestic box office was substantially less than what the studio had spent on producing and promoting the film. The movie, like much of what followed it on the series, remains a point of contention among fans - some of whom appreciate its place in the narrative, others deploring it for being the beginning of an unwieldy narrative structure which continued throughout the show.

The movie's opening sequence featured a bomb attack on a Federal office building in Dallas. Several media commentators noted parallels between this and the real-life 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. [1] [2]


Over the course of the final few seasons, the show underwent several changes by way of both character growth and plot direction, in addition to a steady ratings decline. One of the central mythologies of the show, Mulder's search for his sister, would finally be resolved, as well as a few turns of events involving the ever-deepening bond between Mulder and Scully and the dynamic between the two characters. Whether they "should" or "shouldn't" consummate their relationship was the subject of great debate among the fan community for many years, and is still subject to scrutiny, since even after numerous hints, Carter refuses to confirm whether the two characters ever had sex. Even after the show's cancellation it retains a fan following. It can be said, however, that The X-Files had two audiences - one composed of early fans, some of whom lost interest halfway through the series, and a new, enthusiastic fanbase who were enamoured of the show's mainstream popularity.

The Lone Gunmen, a trio of nerdish government watchdogs who occasionally assisted Mulder and Scully, had their own short-lived TV series. Its cancellation left its storyline unresolved, but all the characters from the series returned in the X-Files episode "Jump the Shark" (9x15) (definition of term "jump the shark"), which served as a final Lone Gunmen episode. The trio also made a short appearance, as ghosts or memories appearing to Mulder, in The X-Files' final episode, "The Truth" (9x19 & 9x20).

Duchovny leaves

Hoping to capitalize on his small-screen popularity and make more movies, David Duchovny ceased to be a regular on The X-Files after the seventh season. His leaving made for some interesting plot twists. The Season 7 finale found Mulder abducted by aliens and Scully pregnant. At the very end of the Season 8 finale, Scully asks Mulder how this could have happened, and he responds by referring to "the truth we both know" and proceeds to kiss her. (What is unclear is whether she is referring to her supposed infertility or the possibility that she had not been with a man recently [although the proceeding kiss makes things a little less vague]) Having supposedly been rendered infertile during her abduction in Season 2, a fact first revealed during "Memento Mori" (4x14) in Season 4, this was indeed a shock to both Scully and the show's fan base.

As far as the paternity of the child was concerned, there were scattered hints that Mulder could be the father. One of the biggest hints came in the Season 9 episode "Trust No 1." In this episode, a government agent who had been spying on Scully known as the "Shadow Man" tells Scully that:

"I know your blood type, resting heart rate and your childhood fear of clowns. I know the name of your college boyfriend, your true hair color, your ATM PIN number, favorite charity and pet peeves. I know you spend too much time alone, and I know one lonely night you invited Mulder into your bed. (cut to Scully) I was as surprised as you are."

The fact that Scully doesn't vehemently deny this statement (as would be in her personality to do so) lends credence to his claim.

In the series finale "The Truth," Mulder also refers to William as "my son" when questioned by a military officer and "our son" when speaking to Scully.

Season 8 and beyond

Duchovny returned for brief stints in seasons eight and nine. In season eight, Mulder reappeared as a corpse, was buried for several months (of the story's time frame), and then later revived. With both Duchovny and Anderson's involvement reduced, the show introduced two new X-Files agents, John Doggett and Monica Reyes (played by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish). It was Chris Carter's belief that the series could continue for another ten years with new leads. This was not to be the case, however, as Doggett and Reyes did not provide the ratings boost Chris Carter had hoped.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson filming the finale episode in 2002

The show completed its ninth and final season with the two-hour episode "The Truth", which first aired on May 19, 2002. The show ceased production at the end of the ninth season—on a cliffhanger, though Carter knew that this would be the final episode. Plans for another movie are announced periodically but have yet to come to fruition. While Carter, Duchovny and Anderson have all expressed their desire for involvement, there is still no script and no official shooting schedule. The earliest possible release for the film would be September 2006. It is widely believed that a second X-Files movie would be a standalone adventure, leaving some question as to how (or if) the mythology-based series finale cliffhanger will be resolved.


  • The number 42 occurs frequently (Mulder lives in Apartment 42, Mulder has seen Plan 9 From Outer Space 42 times, etc.). This is The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything in Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • The season 8 episode "Alone" has artifacts from previous episodes; in Scully's desk drawer are Queequeg's dog tag (from the episode "Quagmire"), the keychain Mulder gave her (from "Tempus Fugit") and the fused coins (from "Dreamland"). Also appearing in this episode is the character of Agent Leyla Harrison, named for an actual person. Leyla Harrison was an X-Files fan and a writer of fanfiction who died in February 2001. Well-known and well-loved among The X-Files internet community, writers on the show created the character (a self-professed admirer of Mulder and Scully) to honor her memory.
  • When "Requiem" (the season 7 finale) completed shooting, the producers were unsure if they would come back for an eighth season.
  • Many episodes feature a "mirror shot" usually involving a medicine cabinet. Such a shot shows a character opening a medicine cabinet with a mirror on the front, taking something out, closing the cabinet, and revealing something in the mirror. "Deep Throat," "Underneath," and "Paper Clip" are episodes featuring such a shot.
  • The Maya calendar predicts that current era of the world will end on December 22, 2012 ("The Truth")
  • You can identify episodes directed by Kim Manners; he frames the camera so as to show the face, but not the top of the head.
  • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, George Huang's FBI badge number is 2317616, as shown in the SVU episode "Charisma." Scully's badge number is identical, as told in the season 5 episode "Christmas Carol." Both were revealed while asking that a phone call be traced. In addition, B.D. Wong, who plays George Huang on SVU, had a guest appearance on The X-Files in the season 3 episode "Hell Money."
  • It was actually David Duchovny that suggested that Skinner play a larger role, hoping that it would result in some time off for him.
  • The eerie, yet catchy theme song is by Mark Snow. It was released with other songs from and inspired by the show on the 1996 soundtrack Songs in the Key of X.
  • Much of the season 3 finale, "Talitha Cumi" was inspired by The Grand Inquisitor, including the Cigarette Smoking Man's line "Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him."
  • As has become commonplace with dramatic TV series in recent years, actual episode titles were never displayed on screen. This was one of the first TV series whose fans disseminated information such as episode titles strictly via the Internet.
  • From season 2 on, the firearm of choice for most characters is the Sig Sauer P228.
  • The controversial and violent episode "Home", which featured a story about a family that has been inbred to almost proto-human levels of development, was kept out of syndication for three years after its initial airing.
  • The town known as Gibsonton, Florida in the circus freak centric episode Humbug is a real town that really is populated with former circus performers.
  • The season 5 episode "Bad Blood" contains a number of clever references and homages to classic vampire and horror films, one of the most memorable yet subtle being the name of the town the episode takes place in. Known as Chaney, Texas, the name is most likely a reference to famous 1940's monster movie actor Lon Chaney. Whether it is Lon Chaney Sr. or Jr. is unclear, but both father and son were known for their parts in classic monster movies.
  • Creator Chris Carter's birthday is October 13, thus the frequent references to the number 1013 on the show and the reason Fox Mulder's birthday is also October 13. It is also the name of Carter's production company, Ten Thirteen Productions.
  • The season 4 episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" was inspired by a Superman comic book story titled Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography.
  • Chris Carter is obsessed with eating sunflower seeds, hence Mulder's appetite for them on the show. However, David Duchovny hated it.
  • Scully was named after sportscaster Vin Scully.
  • Scully's telephone number is 555-3564 and (202) 555-6431 (at home). Mulder's number is 555-0199.
  • Mulder's address is #42, 2630 Hegal Place, Alexandria, VA 23242.
  • The number of Scully's files (stolen by Duane Barry) is 73317.
  • Mulder has been shot 3 times (once in "Beyond the Sea", once in "Anasazi," and once in the film). Scully has been shot only twice (in "Young At Heart" and "Tithonus"). Skinner was only shot once (in "Piper Maru").
  • Mulder used his gun 16 times, Scully 13 times.
  • While Mulder believes in extraterrestrial life, and Scully doesn't (until season 6), the opposite is true of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (i.e. Duchovny doesn't believe in ETs, and Anderson does).
  • The season 5 episode "Unusual Suspects", which tells the origin of the Lone Gunmen, features a cameo by Detective Munch, from the popular crime dramas Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • In the movie Men in Black, Will Smith makes a reference to Alex Trebek and Jeopardy!. Alex Trebek actually makes a cameo appearence as a Man in Black in the season 3 episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space".
  • The Fight the Future movie was originally intended to make its network broadcast premiere on Fox the Sunday after 9/11, but was immediately pulled from the line-up.
  • In the season 8 episode "Salvage" Robert Patrick remarks "You only see metal men in movies." In the movie Terminator 2, Robert Patrick played a metal man.
  • In the season 7 episode "Closure", one of the characters is watching Harsh Realm -- another series by X-Files creator Chris Carter -- on his TV. He remarks, "I don't know what this is but it's fantastic." In another of Chris Carter's shows, Millennium, you can hear someone watch The X-Files on their TV.


Fox Mulder in his basement office, now on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum

The phrase "The Truth is Out There" is usually shown on screen at the end of the opening credits sequence. However, over the course of the series, this phrase would occasionally be replaced with something else.

  • Trust No One - "The Erlenmeyer Flask"
  • Deny Everything - "Ascension"
  • 'éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é' - "Anasazi" ("The truth is far from here" in Navajo)
  • Apology is Policy - "731"
  • Everything Dies - "Herrenvolk" ("Master race" in German)
  • Deceive Inveigle Obfuscate - "Teliko"
  • E pur si muove - "Terma" ("And still it moves" in Italian)
  • Believe the Lie - "Gethsemane"
  • All Lies Lead to the Truth - "Redux"
  • Resist or Serve - "The Red and the Black"
  • The End - "The End"
  • Die Wahrheit ist irgendwo da draußen - "Triangle" ("The truth is out there somewhere" in German)
  • In the Big Inning - "The Unnatural"
  • Amor Fati - "Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati" ("Love of fate" in Latin)
  • Believe to Understand - "Closure"
  • Nothing Important Happened Today - "Nothing Important Happened Today II"
  • erehT tuO si hturT ehT - "4D"
  • They're Watching - "Trust No One"
  • Dio t'ama - "Improbable" ("God loves you" in Italian)
  • I Want to Believe - "The Truth"

Main cast

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully on The X-Files

Format: Actor's real name - Character name (Years on show)

Regular guest cast

Fan terminology

  • ABH - Alien Bounty Hunter (the shapeshifting alien.), aka MMBH - Mighty Morphin' Bounty Hunter (a play on the title of the children's series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers).
  • CSM - Cigarette Smoking Man
  • Dipper: a Shipper who thinks that Doggett is the Big One
  • MIM - Mulder It's Me
  • MoW or MOTW - Monster-of-the-week
  • NoRomo (no romance): a fan who doesn't want romance between Mulder and Scully.
  • OBSSE- The Order of the Blessed Saint Scully, The Enigmatic (a group of fans of Scully who have their own group on the Internet)
  • Ratboy - Alex Krycek
  • Shipper (relationshipper): a fan who wants Mulder and Scully to come together.
  • SIJ - Scully in Jeopardy
  • Skinman - Skinner
  • SMAK - Scully/Mulder Almost Kiss
  • SRE - Scully Rational Explanations
  • SWLD: Shipper who likes Doggett
  • TLG - The Lone Gunmen
  • UST - Unresolved Sexual Tension
  • WMM - Well-Manicured Man

Fan faire

The X-Files television series has been known to have inspired entrepreneuers Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila to create a company called Alienware revolving around the X-Files theme with such references to Area 51 and the infamous MJ-12 when naming their products. They go as far as promoting the company and its products with vague references to Alien Invasion when present at industry conventions along with their own "Men In Black" as a security detail for the company's CEO.

See also

External links


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