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Twenty years ago, the television landscape was forever changed when Fox aired the first episode of "The X-Files." Chris Carter's little show had big aspirations and no one really thought it would ever take off the way it did; no one predicted that the show would, twenty years later, continue to hold the record of longest-running science fiction series in U.S. television history. The set-up was straight forward: a pragmatic scientist named Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is paired up with an apparently nutjob agent named Fox Mulder who spent his days at the agency investigating X-Files, marginalized, unsolved cases with hints of the paranormal. Mulder believed in UFOs, the paranormal, conspiracy theories and Scully's job was to counteract his wacko hypothesis with hard science.




For the next nine years we met all sorts of crazy characters, strange situations, saw monsters and yes, we even had close encounters with aliens. There were stand alone episodes tucked into longer story arcs, some better than others. Mulder eventually left and though the show trucked along without him for a while, it just wasn't the same and eventually, the show came to an end in 2002.



The internet was in its infancy in the early 90s but didn't stop fans from connecting. I remember mIRC channels, bulletin boards, screen caps and even fan fiction making the rounds before DVDs, computers and the internet were a common thing. Can you imagine the amount of work required for getting TV screen shots without a PVR or computer? Yup, we did that. What started off as a cult show eventually found its way into the mainstream, a shift which would later have a major impact on what networks would and wouldn't greenlight. Sci-fi was no longer relegated to specialty networks and all sorts of shows with fantastical elements began appearing.

But really, we didn't care about the cultural impact of "The X-Files." The show was just cool. I could always rely on my Friday night fix and Carter and his team of writers always delivered. I was sometimes scared, sometimes amused but always left satisfied. Today, on the 20th anniversary of the airing of the pilot, I think I'll take some time to revisit the basement where it all started and perhaps "Squeeze." How will you be celebrating?

Happy 20th! And remember...


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Digger (4 years ago) Reply

I could never watch X-Files as the girl I'd just broken up with could have been the clone of Scully.

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chuc k (4 years ago) Reply

Digger- I have the same problem with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
As for X Files- the Peacock Family still haunts my nightmares! I liked the stand alone episodes more than the alien abduction story arc. I also loved the Lone Gunmen characters. The spin off was cool but it crossed over into real life and got cancelled.


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