X-Files

Why we must (re) watch X-Files, THE cult sci-fi series of the 90s

You must have heard of this show that haunted The Saturday Trilogy on our screens. The X-Files is rightly considered one of the best series of the nineties, and its influence on television and pop culture, in general, is almost unparalleled.

 

Because it’s an iconic series about conspiratorial America

If the adventures of two FBI agents who investigate the paranormal and extraterrestrials may seem a little removed from the concerns of our time, it must be understood that X Files was born in a very particular context, that of the United States post-cold war and pre-9/11. Broadcast between 1993 and 2002, the first nine seasons are inseparable from the paranoia of American society vis-à-vis the government, and its more than pronounced taste for conspiracies, two inclinations largely fueled by the Cold War which has just s ‘finish.

The episodes that draw on this imagination are part of what is called the mythology of the series and represent a third of the total. We find there in particular a mysterious character who has become as mythical as the two heroes Mulder and Scully: the man with the cigarette. But ultimately, X Files remains above all a science fiction show with a timeless recipe. And its success paved the way for dozens of genre series.

 

Because the Mulder-Scully duo has a unique chemistry

Whether you like science fiction or not, X Files deserves a look just to appreciate the duo formed on screen by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Playing FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully respectively, they rose to fame around the world and became pop culture icons and even universally known sex symbols. Even today, the incredible bond of this duo in the series remains the best reason to watch it, thanks to the permanent tension between these two characters who reverse gender stereotypes: the scientist Scully embodies the skeptic, while Mulder believes gladly to the paranormal.

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This tension is also sexual, and it will have kept fans on their toes for years. role model par excellence, Dana Scully also gave her name to a phenomenon called the “Scully Effect”, according to which it has inspired many women to embark on scientific careers usually dominated by men. In short, it is not surprising that from the moment the duo became rarer (seasons 8 and 9), the series lost almost all its interest. Fox has understood this well, since Mulder and Scully are reunited in the new seasons 10 and 11 released recently.

 

Because it’s a really scary series, but also funny

The feeling of fear inspired by X Files is perhaps a little toned down today, but you only have to launch an episode in the dark and find yourself facing the credits and its characteristic music to be immersed in the very scary atmosphere of the series. On the sidelines of the main scenario, two thirds of the episodes are reserved for what are called “monsters of the week”, and there are countless those who have kept viewers up at night. Many fans consider these episodes the best, and they have the added benefit of being able to be viewed individually, if you don’t have the time and/or inclination to gobble up 218 episodes.

And thanks to the almost perfect remastering of the series, the special effects have not aged too much and the bestiary retains all its horrific dimension. But we too often forget that X Files is also a very funny series that does not take itself too seriously, thanks once again to the exchanges between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. And we mustn’t forget either that it counted among its screenwriters a certain Vince Gilligan, future creator of breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. We did worse as a benchmark for black humor and the absurd.

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