Skip to comments.Twenty Years On: The X-Files Premier September 10, 1993
Posted on 09/10/2013 3:02:23 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack
Twenty years ago tonight, I sat down on the couch in my little apartment in Ogden, KS, and flipped on the TV to watch the debut of a new show. The promotion blitz for the show had been dark and mysterious, and apart from some vague references to UFOs and the FBI, gave little idea as to what the show was actually going to be about. It had piqued my interest, as it was no doubt intended to do, and I figured with much of my life still ahead of me, I could spare an hour to check it out. At the end of that hour, as the eerie theme whistled the credits away, I sat there. Hooked.
The premiere of the show could not have been timed more perfectly. About a year before the show premiered, there had been a bloody standoff at Ruby Ridge, and that very spring, the siege at Waco. Institutions and organizations that had long been highly regarded by most Americans had shown a darker, seamier side, and now there was a show that pitted two young, idealistic agents working from inside the system, taking a stand against internal conspiracies and unknown forces. On the entertainment scene, the quirky Twin Peaks, had established a niche with most Gen Xers a few years earlier, and nothing had come to fill the vacuum left when it went off the air. The X-Files stood perfectly poised to become something of an enigma if the writers and actors could deliver, and they did.
During the next nine years, faithful followers (X-philes) followed the exploits of Scully and Mulder as they investigated fluke men, aliens, conspiracies dating back to the cold war, and the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man. The pairing of Scully and Mulder was an act of genius. While most people at a gut level tend to regard the notions of faith and science as competing interests, Mulder and Scully demonstrated ultimately, the inseparable nature of the two, and how they complement one another. The show did not shy from objective morality and pointed out that sometimes evil just is. It cannot be understood, reasoned with or de-escalated, only dealt with head on. The show was not without humor, and the protagonists were at times all too human and vulnerable to the forces around them.
Many critics came down hard on the show in its later years. Admittedly, one of the strengths of earlier seasons was that in spite of the fantastic plot lines, they seemed all too real. In the last few years, some episodes pushed the bounds of credibility, but having said that, some of the very best episodes were in the final few seasons. Upon David Duchovnys departure, it was a little hard to get used to Special Agent John Doggett. Nonetheless, Robert Patrick, no doubt aware of the shoes he was going to have to fill, rose to the challenge, and became an incredibly sympathetic character.
As a conservative, I often wondered why the show appealed to me so much - it seemed ideologically neutral, but in fact, it had its subtle conservative and libertarian messages. In 2008, at the release of the second X-Files feature film, I found the following article which smartly articulates the show's appeal to the right:
The last season was terrible
Thanks Perdogg. Any idea who has the “Sci-Fi” Ping list?
"America is being run by an undocumented gangster for al Qaeda."
Me, do you want to help out? I am looking for someone who can do cool graphics.
My brother’s best friend in HS was Nick Peleggi (Skinner) - they graduated from George C. Marshall HS in Ankara Turkey in 1970. His mother was one of my mother’s best friends. Great family!
Shot in my sh*tty hometown of Vancouver BC. I’m not complaining as my uncle worked on every season it was there on set.
Cool...Excellent character. It takes a long time in the series to find out if he’s a good guy and which side he’s really on.
I was not a fan of “X Files” but would watch it when nothing else was on.
There were some good episodes but normally I thought it was just so-so. I sort of understood it’s popularity as those type shows seem to always appeal to a certain audience.
Time and channel?
I’m sure it will be more entertaining and truthful than Obama’s speech.
Oops, never mind. I just say the date of the premier and that this is the anniversary.
That long, huh?
1993 was such a blur — my singlehood days in DC were in full swing.....
Clyde Bruckmann’s Final Repose — one of my very favorites of this series.
LOL...I graduated from college in ‘91 and was stationed at Ft. Riley. Quality programming was a God send.
Mr. Mulder, “THEY” have been here for a long, long time. I absolutely love this show, still today!
I was familiar with all the conspiracy and secret government stuff from being a follower of the HPAV underground bulletin board scene in the bay area when I got out here and I was hooked right off the bat.
About season 2 or 3 I had been pestering my parents to watch the show for quite a while, and they finally tuned in and their first episode was the one with the inbred family with mom on the rollout cart under the bed. I remember watching that and thinking “this might be a bit over the top for mom and dad”, and the next day they called and were all “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???, OMG, IS IT ALWAYS LIKE THAT!?!?!”
That was truly one of the gnarliest episodes of prime time ever... :-)
It makes me sad as to how much time has gone by.
This show was such a huge part of my teen years. It was also the official start to the weekend. After X-files, where I lived, Deep Space 9 came on right after. Then if it was a clear night, I went right outside with my telescope until the early morning. So much fun!
It may be time to fire up the first episode this Friday to live that time again.
I believe you are correct.
Yep. 20 years have gone by quickly...
Sure, rub it in. We’re getting old.
Ooops. My #25 was meant to be a reply to you...
I own all 9 seasons on dvd. It's my favorite show ever...which I know doesn't make it the "best show ever," but I think a good case can be made for putting it in the tope five or ten.
Should have known this was you;-)
Dana sure made it easy to watch....meow ;)
Running out of plot lines caught up with it however, kind of what happened to "24" also.
I agree with the overall story arc, and yet some of the very best singular episodes were in the final seasons. The episode with Burt Reynolds as God was a near perfect X-Files episode, and the show where Doggett gets closure on his son's death was especially powerful.
She’s something else...man oh man.
Cigarette Smoking Man, classic villain at his best, the grand manipulator.
Thanks for the ping. I recently checked out “The Lone Gunmen” series from the library. It was good even better than most Xfiles episodes.
I also checked out the entire Xfiles series and only watched the x-files ‘mythology’ episodes. That made it watchable, whereas the stupid monster-of-the-week episodes were what made me NOT watch it originally...
Yes...the cigarette smoking man was one of the best TV Villains ever.
I might have to watch the series. It will be a lot given that I’ve never watched a single episode.
Start at the beginning and don’t jump around. It’s that tightly written, and the characters grow and develop so it will seem disjointed if you watch episodes out of sequence.
Haha, That’s ‘Home, Pa” or something like that.
I know someone who got a job delivering phonebooks while they were in a nearby college, one of placed they had to go was ‘Home’ Pa. They said it was pretty rough.
I grew up 8 miles south of Home, PA. Loved Sheriff Andy Griffith in that episode :-)
“Frbble smmf geagle, Scully. Bramuffle zizllepah.”
They had to deliver the phonebooks soon after that episode came out. I can’t believe they used a real little town like that. Wiki says they actually shot it in B.C.
Yep. Home PA is located on US Route 119. In the episode somebody mentions, “the 119,” which is a very west coast way of identifying a roadway. Nobody in PA would say, “The 119.”
My fave episode was the one about the black baseball player.
I think I watch some shows more for the emotional impact they have on me and not for the sci-fi angle itself.
My fave Star Trek is Voyager and I loved Janeway. Somebody here was bashing that character the other day but I loved her. Socialism aside, I do like to see good in all people even though it is not always present in all. I also have a sense of fairness and ST encompasses that for me.
But, when the SHTF, I am also not averse to kicking butt if need be. So those are my two fave shows...Voyager (and any other version except DS9) and the X-Files...the best TV shows ever!!
Thanks for posting, Joe.
Thanks for the ping.
“That was truly one of the gnarliest episodes of prime time ever... :-)”
And the one about the elephant boy who loved Cher was too.
Anyone watch The Lone Gunmen? Loved these guys too!
I recently checked out Ehrenfeld Pa because I was in the area and wanted to see where Charles Bronson was born. It was pretty rough, at least from what I saw.
It’s been a while since I saw the Home episode, years. Now I want to watch it!
I’m with you...one of the best shows ever!