One of our favorite TV Shows of ALL TIME is back to the small screen 14 years after the last episode aired. IS THIS REAL LIFE?
It is with a mix of emotions that range from uncontrollable excitement to deep dread that we await for The X-files miniseries to air tomorrow, Sunday January 24 on Fox.
To get ready ourselves for this LIFE CHANGING event, we are going down memory lane and looking back to our relationship with The X-Files, to our favorite moments and episodes of the original run, and our hopes and dreams for Mulder and Scully 2.0.
When preparing for this post, I found this: back when the last movie came out in 2008, we had a long weekend of X-Files fun in which we talked about how we came to appreciate the show and listed our favorite episodes.
Back then, I had literally just watched the entire show for the first time: I came to The X-Files via the recommendation of BFFs Thea and The Greek and binge watched the entire show in a few weeks, then watched the movies and fell hard for all of it. Since then, I have re-watched only a few favorite episodes (Bad Blood, Monday and The Unnatural Forevah).
Now, 1) I can’t believe it’s been 8 years already since I watched the whole thing (time for a Netflix binge?) and 2) I have very different top episodes. I find that my strongest – and fondest – memories of the show regard the funny episodes and the romantic episodes.
My revised top 10 are:
1. Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’ (Episode 3×20): a comical take on The X-Files itself with a self-aware episode that mocks. But with Lurve.
2. Quagmire (Episode 3×22): This is where I started shipping Mulder and Scully for reals after the Conversation on the Rock. Queequeg
3. Bad Blood (episode 5×12): Vampires. She Said-He Said. Luke Wilson.
4. The Post-Modern Prometheus (episode 5×06): Beautiful B&W cinematography. Frankenstein.
5. Triangle (episode 6×03): Time Travel. THE KISS. Double Mulder and Scully.
6. Dreamland parts I and II (episodes 6×04 and 6×05): Gutwrenching and hilarious. The only non-monster of the week episode you will find here. Mind-switch.
7. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (episodes 6×06): Lily Tomlin. Ghosts. Scary yet adorable couple shenanigans.
8. Monday (episodes 6×14): Groundhog Day, X-Files style.
9. Arcadia (episode 6×15): Mulder and Scully play married couple undercover. This is catnip trope to me.
10. The Unnatural (episode 6×19): THAT waist grab. Baseball and aliens. And the best back and forth banter to ever grace the X-Files.
I came to The X-Files by way of my family. When I was in third grade, my uncle told me about this awesome television show he was watching that had just started. He presented me with two boxed VHS sets of episodes, including: Pilot / Deep Throat, Beyond the Sea / E.B.E., Conduit / Ice, Squeeze / Tooms, and Darkness Falls / The Erlenmeyer Flask.
This was my gateway to The X-Files–a show that terrified and delighted me, that I fell utterly in love with from episode 1, that I watched over and over and over as a kid, a teen, and even now as an adult. I subscribed to The X-Files Magazine, I read the tie-in novels, I collected the VHS box sets and eventually splurged on the amazing all-inclusive DVD chest/box set. For a long time I wanted to become a forensic pathologist and work for the FBI because Scully is just THAT DAMN COOL.
Suffice it to say, my connection with The X-Files is long, and deep, and intensely personal. It’s a show that I rewatch on the regular–not from beginning to end, but by selecting my favorite episodes and going in for a rewatch on at least a monthly basis.
This list is based on this yardstick–the rewatch test, and how many times I’ve rewatched each episode over the years. Take that as you will!
After the conclusion of Broken Bad, I actually went on a mini-X-Files kick because I needed some Vince Gilligan in my life. Fun fact: Vince Gilligan actually wrote and/or directed a TON of my favorite episodes. This particular duo of episodes, “Pusher” (season 3, episode 17) and “Kitsunegari” (season 5, episode 8) follow the same terrifying monster–a killer named Robert “Pusher” Modell who has the ability to bend others to his will (a precursor to the terrifying Killgrave in last year’s astounding Jessica Jones). This duo of episodes, like a few others over the course of the show’s lifetime (like “Irresistible” and “Orison”) views the supernatural through the guise of a good old fashioned sociopathic murderer. Scary stuff. Especially as Pusher focuses on a fixation with Mulder, whereas Irresistible/Orison’s Donnie fixates on Scully.
9. The Rain King
I love it when this show gets silly, and “The Rain King” (season 6, episode 7) is undeniably, awesomely silly. A man claims that he can make the rain come down, and charges the good people of his town and surrounding county for his services in the middle of a hard drought. Turns out, the Rain King isn’t responsible for the drought or the rain–but Mulder and Scully have to work through some serious romantic entanglements surrounding the issue in order to bring stability to the weather systems in the region.
8. Unusual Suspects
I loved the Lone Gunmen, and this episode (season 5, episode 3) (again, penned by Vince Gilligan) shows us a hilarious and insightful look at the men before they banded together to form their organization and publication–and just how they met Mulder. YES.
7. Dreamland I & II
Oh, Dreamland! These episodes (season 6, episodes 4 and 5) show us Area 51, and have Mulder switching bodies with a Man in Black, and the shenanigans that ensue. This one shows us the military DOES have UFO technology (duh), and gives us an inside look at Area 51.
6. The Erlenmeyer Flask
This was the first of the great government conspiracy episodes that I got into in earnest–the experiments on fetuses, the role of Deep Throat (and the loss of Deep Throat)! As a general rule, I’m more of a Monster of the Week episode kind of girl–but this episode, and the next two on my list are definitive turning points and really powerful building blocks in the overall X-Files mythology arc.
5. Colony/End Game
Oh, the heartbreak! Mulder’s entire person has been shaped by the disappearance–no, abduction, of his sister, Samantha. In Colony and End Game (season 2, episodes 16 and 17), Mulder is reunited with his sister–or so he thinks. It’s heartbreaking, but really insightful towards the overall plans of the alien colonists and the government that Mulder has so desperately been pursuing.
4. Darkness Falls
The little green bugs and cabin in the woods episode! When I was a kid, this was the episode I watched the second-most. It’s scary–bugs turn people into petrified, cocooned mummies! BEWARE THE DARK. And being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with jerks.
The Fiji Mermaid! The traveling circus and the amazing people who devote their lives to it! I love the examination of what constitutes “normal” and personal choice, just as much as I love the monster and the sad story at the heart of this episode. I LOVE THIS EPISODE (season 2, episode 20) SO HARD.
2. Bad Blood
Probably the episode that I have watched and rewatched the most over the course of my life, Bad Blood (season 5, episode 12) is a hilarious “he said, she said” version of the show. Mulder and Scully go to Texas to examine a series of bovine exanguinations and a Bella Lugosi wannabe who has made the jump from cows to humans. Hilarity ensues.
Las but not least, my favorite episodes of all time are Squeeze (season 1, episode 2) and Tooms (season 1, episode 20). Eugene Victor Tooms is a rare creature with the ability to contort his body into small, impossible spaces–and he has a hunger for human livers. Ever 30 years, he feeds and hibernates… and Mulder and Scully are on the case. This is the SCARIEST villain, in my opinion, and it totally stands the test of time. You want to be creeped out? Watch these two episodes. Bonus points: Mulder and Scully are still trying to get the hang of their work relationship in these episodes and you see Scully grapple with her skepticism over Mulder’s zany theories. It’s awesome.
Now, I’ve given a top 10, but there are a TON of episodes that I love and don’t know how I could make a list without calling them out. So, in no particular order, the other episodes I love and rewatch all the time:
- How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
- The Host
- Small Potatoes
- Terms of Endearment
- Die Hand Die Verlezt
- The Post-Modern Prometheus
- Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
- The Amazing Maleeni
Our Hopes and Dreams:
We hope it doesn’t suck.
We hope Mulder and Scully still have the on-screen chemistry we both love.
We hope it’s funny, and fun and maybe a little scary.
We hope we get both monster-of-the-week episodes AND an overarching mythology thread.
We hope to get at least one smoldering scene between them.
We want to believe.
We want the truth to still be out there.
Welcome back, X-Files, we MISSED you.