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I’ll confess that I’m more than late to The X-Files party. After all, I wasn’t even born when the show began airing and by the time the show finished I was still too young to be interested. But recently after seeing that the show has been renewed, I though that I should check out the show from the start. To say that I was gripped would be an understatement and I can now see why the show is still so popular due to its inventive nature and atmosphere. So now I will review the debut season of the television phenomenon and relive the first series of adventures and mysteries of Mulder and Scully. Be warned, spoilers will follow in my review.

We begin with FBI Agent Dana Scully(Gillian Anderson), who has a background in the medical field, being assigned to work with Agent Fox Mulder(David Duchovny). She is to provide field reports on Mulder’s cases known as The X-Files, due to their unusual nature that charts alleged paranormal phenomena. Mulder is somewhat ostracized from everyone else because of his ideas his not by the book attitude. The witty Mulder himself is a firm believer in things that can’t be explained, whereas Scully bases her observations on rational ideas and science. The X Files Season 1 PosterAlthough she is sent at first to debunk his theories, Scully develops a close friendly relationship with Mulder as they investigate cases. We also discover that Mulder is so determined on these cases because as a child his sister was taken by what he believes to be aliens and never seen again. To say the cases they cover are out of this world and unusual is a big understatement as they delve into areas of the paranormal and unexplained, including alien abductions and encounters with morphed creatures. Yet while Mulder is always open to ideas of something out there, Scully is still hesitant but very curious to see how things turn out. Mulder and Scully Season 1As their working relationship grows stronger we watch them unearth possible cover ups by the government over corruption, conspiracy and alien activity. The presence of a mysterious man, only referred to as The Smoking Man(William B. Davis), a helpful yet cryptic informant for Mulder known only as Deep Throat(Jerry Hardin) that drops hints about corruption and the various times in which the duo is denied access to either records of such activity or visits, only heightens the determination to unearth what is really going on. Unusual occurrences and terrifying fun is to be found with the gripping first season of The X-Files.

From the very opening of the pilot episode, you know that The X-Files is going to be something special. There’s so much unusual stuff afoot and the spectre of conspiracy is a major plot point. Smoking ManWhile The X-Files is a show rooted in the paranormal, it does have a level of plausibility with its paranoid theme of cover ups within the government. I can see why the show became so much more than a show and into a cultural phenomenon. With memorable slogans and dialogue like ‘The Truth Is Out There” and that haunting theme tune, it was bound to stick in the minds of those who viewed the show in droves. And the chemistry between Mulder and Scully is a real highlight, as we witness their opposing views that lead to repartee and a close rapport with each other that evolves over the course of the season. It all neatly balances out throughout Season 1 and draws you into the growing mythology of the show. The running thread of conspiracy is gripping in every sense of the word, but I liked how this debut season also incorporated other stories into the mix that became known as Monster of the Week. Some of the standout episodes come courtesy of this formula due to their inventive stories and creepy happenings. ToomsThe creepy masterpiece of ‘Squeeze’ introduces audiences to the chilling Eugene Victor Tooms, a mutant who can stretch his body to alarming proportions and uses the ability to invade the homes of innocent people and murder them, in order to extract their livers every thirty years for sustenance. The claustrophobic ‘Ice’ taps into the fear of being trapped and not being able to trust anyone, as a parasitic life form latches on to people’s anger and turns them against each other in an isolated Arctic research centre. The haunting darkness of ‘Beyond the Sea’ as Scully deals with grief for her dead father and becomes convinced that a psychopath on Death Row who claims to have psychic visions can channel her deceased dad. That episode is notable for showing how the usually unshakable Scully has her resolve and belief in logic tested for the first time and she for the first time thinks of herself as a believer in things that can’t be explained. And not forgetting the riveting finale episode that opens up many more possibilities for the show. These episodes and many more bring so much to the table and keep you glued to the screen. Yes not every episode is sterling in the first season, but the vast majority on are on a higher level of storytelling and enjoyment than some of the television I’ve seen recently.

At the centre of this season and the show are the wonderful performances from David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as the dynamic duo Mulder and Scully. You simply couldn’t have asked for better actors to play their roles, that’s how good they are. As the determined, completely not by the book, impassioned risk taker Mulder, David Duchovny essays a likable charm, fierce belief and desire that really draws you in to sympathise with him and want him to uncover whatever truth lies hidden. There is also a sarcastic wit to be found in his work, and a cheeky smile that he uses whenever in danger. Mulder and ScullyIn other words, Mulder is a well-crafted character who shares a great chemistry with Scully. Matching Duchovny every step of the way with an effective turn is Gillian Anderson as the initially skeptical Scully. Showing us a tough exterior and need to verify things through logic, Anderson lets us also glimpse a deep-seated vulnerability within the character that allows her to gradually as the season progresses, open up and see that there may well be things that science and medicine can’t explain away. Anderson imbues her with a strength and cool head that are tested by what she sees, but allows her to be resilient in the face of terror. The rapport Anderson shares with Duchovny is wonderful to watch as their clashing view points create tension but also kinship as they realise the only people they can trust are each other as they unearth cover ups and conspiracy. Mulder and Scully deservedly take their places as one of the best duos put on television due to their personalities and chemistry. The rest of the supporting roles are filled out very well, with Jerry Hardin very effective as the informant Deep Throat who ultimately meets his end while helping Mulder and Scully and William B. Davis as The Smoking Man, who exudes menace without barely saying a word. I’m also interested in the character of Assistant Director Walter Skinner(Mitch Pileggi), who I hope will appear more in the future.

  1. Pilot – A
  2. Deep Throat – B+
  3. Squeeze – A+
  4. Conduit – C
  5. The Jersey Devil – D-
  6. Shadows – C
  7. Ghost in the Machine – B+
  8. Ice – A+
  9. Space – D-
  10. Fallen Angel – C
  11. Eve – B+
  12. Fire – B
  13. Beyond the Sea – A+
  14. Gender Bender – B-
  15. Lazarus – B
  16. Young at Heart – B+
  17. E.B.E – A
  18. Miracle Man – D
  19. Shapes – C
  20. Darkness Falls – A
  21. Tooms – A
  22. Born Again – C-
  23. Roland – C
  24. The Erlenmeyer Flask – A+

Gripping, intriguing from the start and filled with memorable creepy and bizarre moments, the first season of The X-Files is a major triumph that has me excited for Season 2.