No show in the 90s has had as much influence on television like the X-Files has. When mastermind and creator Chris Carter pitched the idea of the show to Fox back in the early 90s, it was initially rejected. Carter was persistent, however, and when the second time came around, Fox gave the ‘ok’ for a pilot episode. Since then, audiences around the world have enjoyed the electric dynamic of the shows two leads, FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) through 218 X-Files episodes.
The show follows the two as they investigate weird, unsolved, and inexplainable cases surrounding the paranormal, aka X-Files. Agent Scully, a medical doctor, is motivated by science and logic to help solve the cases, while her counter, Agent Mulder is fascinated by extraterrestrials, the paranormal, and is motivated to unveil the truth of government conspiracies. This stark contrast of beliefs and personalities makes the two a dynamic duo and a significant reason why the show so irresistible to watch.
Since the pilot aired in 1993, the show has been hailed by some critics as one of the best series on American television in the 1990s. The X-Files has not only received critical acclaim by critics but its also garnered an overwhelmingly positive attitude among audiences, creating a large and loyal fanbase. Throughout its 11 seasons, the show has had an astonishing 62 Emmy nominations, winning a total of 16. Along with obtaining favorable reviews from critics and fans alike, the X-Files has also helped to pave the way throughout the ‘golden age of television’ for popular shows like Lost and Supernatural, having a significant legacy in the world of television.
Because there are so many episodes, every fan can argue which ones should be considered as the best, but here are what I consider the most memorable, the ones I can rewatch a million times over and never get tired of them.
X-Files Best Episodes – Triangle (Season 6, Episode 3)
Inspired by the filming style of renown filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock in Rope, Triangle is an excellent example of what makes the X-Files so fantastic. The episode follows Mulder who is lost in the Bermuda Triangle aboard a luxury passenger liner. The catch? He realizes he’s time traveled all the way back to the start of World World II in 1939. Throughout the episode, Mulder is trying to avoid conflict with Nazis who invaded the ship to obtain “Thors Hammer”, an item that would ensure a future victory for them. The parallels between Mulder being ‘trapped’ back in time and Scully’s search for her missing partner makes this episode one of the best.
X-Files Best Episodes – X-Cops (Season 7, Episode 12)
While some episodes of the series are dark and serious, there are others, like X-Cops that are more lighthearted and fun. Written by the brilliant Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), X-Cops is a crossover between the popular reality TV show Cops and the X-Files. The entire episode is shot on videotape, making it seem like you’re watching everything happen in real time. In this episode, Scully and Mulder travel alongside cops to investigate a ‘monster’ that is terrorizing people in a crime-ridden area of Los Angeles. You can’t resist this episode, I mean it even begins with a ‘Bad Boys’ montage at the beginning, just like Cops does!
X-Files Best Episodes – Ice (Season 1, Episode 8)
The first season of the X-Files has so many memorable and great episodes, but none is better than Ice. The audience follows Scully and Mulder as they investigate the mysterious deaths of a research team in Alaska. Along with a team of doctors that accompany the two, Scully and Mulder slowly start to become paranoid of their isolated surroundings and those who’ve accompanied them on the trip. The team starts to turn on each other, driving everyone insane trying to uncover who or what is mysteriously killing people. Filled with twists, turns and paranoia, this episode will keep you on your toes.
Home (Season 4, Episode 2)
Perhaps one of the most twisted, if not the most twisted, episode in the series is in season four as Scully and Mulder investigate the mysterious death of a baby and travel to the rural town of Home, Pennsylvania. Upon arriving, the two meet the Peacocks, an inbred deformed family of farmers who never leave their home. When Mulder and Scully investigate further, they discover that the family are killers that have spent years engaging in incest with their own mother, a paraplegic. It doesn’t get more demented than that, which is why Fox has never aired the episode again. However, due to the fact that it disturbs you this much, it is an iconic episode.
Bad Blood (Season 5, Episode 12)
In contrast to the twisted and sick nature of Home, Bad Blood is comedic and representative of everything great between Scully and Mulder. The episode centers around a dilemma Mulder got himself into – killing a teenager who he believed to be a vampire. With individual and differing accounts given by both Scully and Mulder as to what happened and how it happened, the two come to the realization that they have conflicting recollections of the event. An episode that you can (and will most likely) watch over and over again.