In 1993 television audiences who tuned into the Fox network got their first chilling taste of what would become a cultural phenomenon. The X-Files centered around the exploration of the paranormal and UFO phenomena. Created by Chris Carter, the show made its debut in Friday night’s prime-time slot. Its dark atmosphere and ability to mix a serious tone with occasional comic relief and strong characterizations struck a chord with viewers of all ages.
The title of the show referred to a supposed group of files sitting in the basement at FBI headquarters that dealt with unexplained events. Dutifully slogging his way
through these strange and unusual cases was Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny), a brilliant former criminal profiler. As a child he witnessed his sister Samantha’s apparent abduction by aliens. This fueled his work on the X-Files and he become obsessed with what he termed his quest for the truth. Due to this obsession he became known throughout the agency as "Spooky" Mulder. Drawing too much attention of the weird and unusual variety to him and the bureau, the FBI assigned Dr. Dana Scully (played by Gillian Anderson) as Mulder’s new partner to keep tabs on Mulder as well as debunk his investigations. The agency was counting on Scully’s keen scientific mind to keep his flights for mystical fancy grounded, but what the FBI didn’t foresee was the strong bond that would form between the two fiercely intelligent individuals. Audiences were for the first time presented with a male and female team who operated on a level of mutual respect instead of instantly falling into the power of dynamic of a romantic relationship.
The X-Files spanned 9 seasons and was the longest running science-fiction program in the history of television. During its run it managed to create an entire mythology focused around a government conspiracy to keep citizens in the dark about the existence of extra-terrestrials, and it also fed into the fantasies of ghost hunters and UFO-buffs around the world. Mulder and Scully would star in two movies together and eventually become intimately involved, but the show couldn’t survive the absence of Duchovny, whose appearance on the show became sporadic in the final few seasons. The cultural impact of the program is still going strong today, living on past the 1990’s in the form of fan conventions and popular fiction.
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