The Truth is Out There...A look back at The X-Files

By Rodger Moss

Karen Swenson running from an unseen assailant through the woods. Looking back to see what ground she had gained she falls. A dark figure stands over her looming with doom, a bright light engulfs them both. The next morning Swenson's body is found in the woods two small marks on her back. 

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    Television history was made on September 10th 1993 when The X-files began it's nine year run on Fox. A simple idea put a believer with a skeptic and see what happens when faced with the unknown. Fox Mulder a brilliant psychological pro-filer and a believer in supernatural and Dana Scully  a medical doctor with a bachelor of science degree took us on unforgettable adventures into the dark night. While the show is known for the Alien conspiracy and “monster of the week” episodes most forget about the character development that happened over the course of seven years.

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    Season one started off with a bang in the first episode we discover Mulder's driving force the abduction of his sister Samantha when he was twelve. A memory given back to him with the aid of hypnosis. Scully in the first season just seemed to be along for the ride pointing out that the answers are with science. At first Scully comes off like a villain debunking the cases that the two work, but by the end of the first season it's clear that she just wants the truth what ever that may be. The first season starts the ground work for the mythology of the show but stays away from the bigger conspiracy. Focusing more on the fact that the government knows that extraterrestrials exist and less on colonization.

    Season two had the x-files shut down after the death of Deep Throat, we also see I different Mulder and Scully. No longer trying to uncover the lies but just trying to survive. These characters are no longer doing a job but have started to take up the quest for the truth and uncover it where ever it may lay. Oddly enough the biggest event that would forever mold the future of the show was never planned, that being Scully's abduction. Gillain Anderson was pregnant and needed time off the show. Not only did this event set up the shows main story line but it also gave us the viewers a real sense of danger. The main actors were not safe, this was groundbreaking remember this is almost 20 years before Game of Thrones and Walking Dead main characters just don't die. This was the season when the bigger picture would start to come into play including the shape shifting alien bounty hunter.

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    Seasons three until five just kept adding more to the conspiracy but also giving some of the best stand alone episodes much like most shows season three is where it all comes together. The characters grow and the stories become deeper. We as an audience are now invested in the lives of two FBI agents and the ride for the ever elusive truth. Season four gave us Scully's cancer and Home the only episode banned from the re-run rotation. Season five was going to be the last season of the show the plan was to move the property to feature films. It was also the first season planned out to work with the movie coming out in the summer. Season five is also the last season from the first run to be filmed in Canada moving the rest of the show to Los Angeles. The seasons finale was titled “The End” and featured the death of the syndicate and what looked to be the whole Conspiracy. 

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    Season six and seven just kept running the show began to have more fun with episodes, one filmed in the style of COPS and another dealing with baseball. Some fans and critics where not happy with the change in tone I felt it was a warm change, and we got one of my all time favorite episodes from it “The Unnatural” Season seven would be David's last full season playing Fox Mulder and would have Scully take of the X-files. The mythology changed in these two seasons hitting closer to home than before, no longer where Mulder and Scully looking for the truth they had become it. 

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    Seasons eight and nine were all over the place it seemed like the show did not know where to go. Eight was caught in the past of what the X-files was and not what it is introducing us to Dogget and Reyes two characters if given the chance to evolve would have taken the show to a new level. Scully has a baby named William later given up for adoption after fearing for his life. While the show gave us great stand alone episodes the main mythology moved to super soldiers and less about aliens. Season nine started to take a better shape of what the show could be without Mulder and focus on the future of the franchise. Dogget and Reyes start to come into their own as main leads, unfortunately this would be the shows last season. After nine years the truth was finally going to be let free.  December 22, 2012 aliens will begin the colonization of Earth and nothing will stop it. 

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    Nine years of my life was spent watching this show. From the first episode in 1993 in the back room of my Grandmothers house to the final episode on Sunday May 19th 2002. I was one of those fans that was angry over Duchonvy leaving the show at the time. Anderson was my first crush for other boys it was the pink ranger for me it was a nerdy red head. Every week I tuned in and I also felt the the show losing steam while I watched. I re watch the show every couple of years and I find new things each time I do. First I see a tight overarching story years ahead of it's time. The mythology holds up with a binge not so much with a nine year schedule. The second is how deep and complex the main characters are Mulder is not just a believer he wants proof. Scully while being a scientist has faith in God, by the end of the show she is the one who sounds spooky. Dogget and Reyes never got the chance to tell the tales they had ready for them. That is our fault as fans at the time we wanted Mulder and Scully the heart of the show to be front and center. Re watch seasons eight and nine you can see some of the greatness that might have come. The second movie a stand alone type episode was a great way to see where the characters have been and what has become of them. I sat in the theater opening night with ten other fans I think I was the only one happy at the end. If there was no more X-files after I want to believe I would have been happy. 

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    Eight years after that movie we got our first “event series” Mulder and Scully were back! As a fan I love seeing new episodes of this great show, but this series fell flat for me. What was once a slow and dark show became action intense and quick to wrap up. I often was wondering with three minutes left how can they finish this episode. While the characters are great the cases felt rushed and dull. “Mulder and Scully meet the Were-Monster” was the best this season had to offer out of the six episodes. William became the central point of the season needing his stem cells to save Mulder. The show ends during an epidemic with Scully standing on a bridge looking up at a UFO.

    Wednesday March 21st 2018 season 11 of The X-files comes to an end. While I still feel that the episodes are rushed this season has given us more “X-files” type of episodes with amazing banter and philosophical questions. I do not know what the future holds for this amazing franchise I only hope it ends on a high note. For some of us the truth will always be out there...

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Photos owned by 20th century Fox.