The Complete X-Files on The X-Files

The long-awaited X-Files sequel (as yet unnamed) will be in theaters this summer, and even though it'll have been six years since X-Files fans have seen anything new, there's already a lot of excitement buzzing around this movie. Will they find the truth? Will they make a believer out of skeptics? Will they finally just shed their clothes and do it so all the "Shippers" (fans who think that Mulder and Scully should be in a relationship) can finally get their deepest desires? We don't know yet, but we have put together an exhaustive list of what we do know about the show below . . . where your questions will never be answered unless you want to believe.

  • Show creator Chris Carter hadn't had much success in television writing, having written mostly comedies and worked for The Disney Channel, before he was offered a chance to create shows for Fox.
  • Carter was inspired to delve into the mysterious world of The X-Files by both the Watergate scandal, the old television show Kolchack: The Night Stalker, and a report that was circulating around 1992 that said 3.7 Americans "may have been abducted by aliens."
  • Originally, Fox executives wanted someone blonder with big boobs instead of Gillian Anderson. Thankfully they didn't win that fight.
  • The company Carter formed to run the production was called Ten Thirteen Productions, after his October 13th birthday. Sound Designer Thierry Couturier's son says the "I made this" over the company logo.
  • Fox left Carter and his production team alone for the most part during the first season because they were putting a lot of time and effort into The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Now, as a Bruce Campbell fan, I have to say I loved that show, and I'm glad it was able to take some heat off of The X-Files.
  • The writing staff didn't want to follow Carter's all-alien abduction storylines, especially since the UFO show Sightings was airing on Fox. As a result, the show "Squeeze" with the creepy guy who ate livers, hibernated for 30 years and had Plastic Man like stretching abilities became a template for the "freak of the week" style the show eventually adopted.
  • Besides the pilot episode, Carter also wrote "Space" during the first season, which was about a ghost in the Space Shuttle program. It was extremely expensive to make, and Carter calls it "one of the worst hours ever produced for the show."
  • The show often fought for its life during the first season, having low ratings and a Friday night timeslot. Despite finishing 102nd out of the 118 programs in the Nielsens that year, it was picked up for a second season. This is why the season one finale "The Erlenmeyer Flask" has the X-Files being shut down, and Mulder and Scully being reassigned.
  • The X-Files' opening sequence was nominated for an Emmy, and the theme song was remixed and became a hit in dance clubs in the UK, Australia, and France.
  • The legendary writing team of Morgan and Wong, who were also co-executive producers, wrote many of the best episodes in the first season, although they left in season two to produce their own show Space: Above and Beyond. Sadly it tanked after one season, although Morgan and Wong didn't return to The X-Files until season four.
  • The show didn't actually show an alien until the "Little Green Men" episode in season two.
  • Gillian Anderson was pregnant throughout season two, and the producers decided to hide the fact by having her behind a desk or a medical exam table most of the time. It helped that she'd been transferred to Quantico to teach.
  • By the end of season two, the show had climbed to 64th out of 141, although it was gaining cult status and spreading fast by word of mouth. The show had also spread beyond the U.S. borders, and was one of the most popular TV shows in the world, outside of the country.
  • The show was also named the best show on TV by Entertainment Weekly that year, and also won a Golden Globe for best drama.
  • However, the show was still so budget strapped that they couldn't afford location filming, and in the episode "Ascension," a rock quarry had to be painted to look like the desert of the American Southwest.
  • Season three brought on a cavalcade of comedy, and a slew of guest stars including Alex Trebek, Jesse Ventura, Giovanni Ribisi, J.T. Charles Nelson Reilly, Walsh, R. Lee Ermey and Jack Black.
  • Guest star Peter Boyle won an Emmy for his portrayal of a man who could predict death in the episode Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, and the show also won for best writing.
  • The show went on to win five Emmys that year, and Gillian Anderson won a Screen Actors Guild Award. By now The X-Files was here to stay.
  • Season four premiered to their highest ratings ever, and Carter's new show Millenium (set in the X-Files universe) was put on Friday nights, so they moved The X-Files to Sunday night.
  • By the fall of 1996, it was the most popular show on Fox, and Fox got the rights to broadcast the Superbowl. So, they decided to feature an episode right after the game, and "Leonard Betts" (about the guy who could regrow his body) received the highest ratings ever for an X-Files episode. More awards and kudos followed.
  • Season Five opened to even bigger ratings, and the show was supposed to end there and become a series of feature films. However, Fox desperately wanted to keep the show, and worked out a new contract with Carter.
  • Carter had been planning a feature film versin of the show ever since season two, and security was so tight that they were sending the script around on red paper, which would make it unable to be photocopied.
  • They filmed the X-Files movie, X-Files: Fight the Future, inbetween seasons four and five, although it ended up pushing the start date for season five back, and as a result that season was two episode shorter, with only 20 instead of 22. It was code named "Blackwood" after Algernon Blackwood, a British writer of ghost stories.
  • By season five, the two main stars were also becoming popular, and as a result many episodes featured either Scully or Mulder, and not usually both of them together. This was to allow them time to concentrate on other projects.
  • Season five also featured episodes written by guest writers, including Stephen King and William Gibson.
  • By the end of season five, both Anderson and Duchovny wanted the show to move from Vancouver to Los Angeles (where it was originally supposed to be shot), and so the sets were struck and production moved at the end of the season.
  • X-Files: Fight the Future opened in 1998, although it wasn't a smash success. The movie grossed around $189 million worldwide, which recouped their reported $126 million dollar budget (with advertising figured in), but not by much.
  • The movie takes place right inbetween seasons five and six, and season six picks up right where the movie left off.
  • At the end of season five, the X-Files were once again closed, but then reopened in season six. However, new agents Spender and Fowley were assigned to them, and Mulder and Scully were given a new boss.
  • Season six was seen as the "beginning of the end" for several reasons. There were several episodes which hardcore fans considered too comedic, like the gated community episode "Arcadia" or the two-part body hopping episode starring Michael McKean as Morris Fletcher. Also the move from Vancouver to L.A. seemed to alienate fans as well.
  • However, the show was Fox's most popular again that year, and pulled in more awards. But, the wheels had been set in motion.
  • David Duchovny left the show after season in part due to contract problems and feeling the need to "move on." Scully's role was dialed back as a result, and new agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) were introduced.
  • Doggett and Reyes had some good episodes, but the show had lost a lot of it's hardcore fans and was turning into a sinking stone.
  • For the season nine episode "The Truth," most of the cast returned and ended the season, and the show, on a cliffhanger. Sadly, they finished third in their timeslot, pulling in less viewers than their original pilot episode.
  • In 2001 Fox introduced The Lone Gunmen spinoff show (which I must admit I am a huge fan of), although it only ran one season. The first episode had the unfortunate plot of hijackers trying to fly planes into the World Trade Centers, although it was filmed before 9/11. They were eventually (supposedly, I hope) killed off in season nine of The X-Files.
  • The X-Files has a long-lasting legacy, having inspired shows like Smallville, Torchwood, and even Alias. You can buy the entire mammoth nine season set with the Fight the Future movie (but sadly, no Lone Gunmen disc) for just about $150 bucks right now. As a fan, I'll tell you up front that the packaging sucks on this set, but the contents are more than worth it.