From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The X-Files is an American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter, which originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox. The program spanned nine seasons, included 202 episodes, and a feature film of the same name. Later in 2008, a second film was made and preceded a tenth season revival, which consisted of six episodes, in 2016. The revival premiered on January 24, 2016. In April 2017, Fox officially announced that The X-Files would be returning for an eleventh season of ten episodes, which would air in the 2017–18 television season.
The series revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a medical doctor and a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries to debunk his 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 and a very few select people. The agents also discover an agenda of the government to keep the existence of extraterrestrial life a secret. They develop a close relationship which begins as a platonic friendship, but becomes a romance by the end of the series. In addition to the series-spanning story arc, "Monster-of-the-Week" episodes form roughly two-thirds of all episodes.
The X-Files was inspired by earlier television series which featured elements of suspense and speculative fiction, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Darkside, and especially Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
The X-Files was a hit for the Fox network and received largely positive reviews, although its long-term story arc was criticized near the conclusion. Initially considered a cult series, it turned into a pop culture touchstone that tapped into public mistrust of governments and large institutions and embraced conspiracy theories and spirituality. Both the series itself and lead actors Duchovny and Anderson received multiple awards and nominations, and by the end it was the longest-running science fiction series in U.S. television history. The series also spawned a franchise which includes The Lone Gunmen spin-off, two theatrical films and accompanying merchandise.
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 strong believer in the supernatural. 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 Mulder" 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. She is partnered with Mulder initially so that she can debunk Mulder's nonconforming theories, often 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. After Mulder's abduction at the hands of aliens in the seventh season finale "Requiem", Scully becomes a "reluctant believer" who manages to explain the paranormal with science.
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 invasion and colonization of Earth. He is found guilty, but he escapes punishment with the help of the other agents and he and Scully become fugitives.