Running time: 45 minutes (per series episode), 121 minutes (Fight the Future), 104 minutes (I Want to Believe)
Certificate: 18 (series), 15 (Fight the Future, I Want to Believe)
Creator (series): Chris Carter
Screenplay: Frank Spotnitz (I Want to Believe), Chris Carter (Fight the Future, I Want to Believe)
Director: Rob Bowman (Fight the Future), Chris Carter (I Want to Believe)
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, Dean Haglund, Nicholas Lea, John Neville, Martin Landau, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit
|Mulder and Scully, clearly investigating something very serious.|
It didn’t take long for the show to develop a beating heart, in Mulder’s search for his lost sister Samantha. He is convinced she was abducted by aliens when they were both children and has devoted his life and his career to finding her. He is based in the basement of the FBI headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover building, where he investigates the Bureau's X-Files; unsolved cases featuring weird or unexplained phenomena. Believing he is pissing a promising career up the wall, his superiors assign him Scully as a partner. Scully is to report back on Mulder's work, the intended result being Scully's reports would prove Mulder's continued work on the X-Files is untenable, essentially debunking his life's work. What actually happens is the two develop a mutual respect for each other and evolve a strong partnership as they investigate freaky shenanigans over the course of nine seasons and two feature films.
|Mulder with fellow conspiracy theorists The Lone Gunmen.|
A central strand to their partnership, being the idea of the believer versus the sceptic was also something that was an interesting element to the show. Mulder would tend to leap to fantastic possibilities to explain the events they were investigating, while Scully would attempt to stay as rigidly scientific as the strange nature of the cases would allow. There were occasional episodes where this would be flipped on its head and Scully's religious belief, not shared by Mulder would come to the surface and make for really nicely played juxtapositions. Although Mulder usually turned out to be right, the writers were very careful not to make Scully sound ridiculous; in fact, even though she’s wrong most of the time, she still comes across as the sane one.
|A nasty extra-terrestrial secret is discovered underground in Texas.|
|Mulder and Scully fight the future in a cornfield.|
Bridging seasons five and six, the movie X-Files: Fight the Future is more of the same, but on a bigger scale. Questions are (finally) answered, but in true X-Files fashion, the answers only lead to more questions. The film is kind of unique in that it is a big budget summer movie that is nothing more than a bridge between seasons of an ongoing TV show. The goal was for it to play well with those new to The X-Files but also be something the long time viewers would enjoy. Surprisingly the film walked this delicate balancing act pretty damn successfully, bringing the hugely popular show to an even wider audience. During the mid to late 90s, Mulder and Scully owned the TV world, and with Fight the Future they also took a big chunk out of 1998's cinematic haul. There was a little nagging feeling by now however that Carter and co didn't know exactly where the mythology was heading and what had been astonishingly tight for five years began to show a few signs of frayed edges. Considering the complexity, it is pretty incredible that it took this long to start falling apart - Lost didn't make it to the third season before it was clear the writers had no clue where the show was going. The mythology did get progressively more difficult to follow as the later seasons went on and went from being the reason viewers were hooked to the least popular part of the show. Despite this the writers persevered and, credit where it is due, when the whole thing is compressed into two episodes in the season nine finale The Truth, it does hold together from beginning to end. It just didn't feel like it at times when it was parceled out over nine years.
|The last-act heroic rescue of the first X-Files movie.|
|Boo! Long-standing antagonist C.G.B. Spender, or, as he's|
affectionately known, 'Cancer Man'.
|Agents Doggett and Reyes try to pick up the pieces|
following Mulder's departure.
Six years after we left Mulder and Scully on the run with the certain knowledge of an apocalyptic alien invasion on the way in 2012, Chris Carter and Fox finally managed to sort through the red tape to bring us another X-Files movie. It’s common knowledge that The X-Files: I Want to Believe was critically battered (with the heartening exception of Roger Ebert) and that it under-performed, probably scuppering the chances of us ever seeing the mythology truly tied up in a 2012-set third film (although both Duchovny and Anderson continue to express eagerness to return to Mulder and Scully even now, but it is Fox they must convince). This is a shame, because it isn't the total loss it appears to have been written off as.
|Assistant Director Walter Skinner: Boss, antagonist,|
saviour, enigma, balding.
|Mulder and Scully try to figure out what happened to their|
audience in I Want to Believe.
As a fan, then, I found it enjoyable, but it just seems too small scale to be anything other than an episode of the show that found its way onto the big screen.
Season 1: 8/10
Season 2: 8/10
Season 3: 8/10
Season 4: 9/10
Season 5: 7/10
The X-Files: Fight the Future: 8/10
Season 6: 9/10
Season 7: 7/10
Season 8: 8/10
Season 9: 8/10
The X-Files: I Want to Believe: 7/10
I fully and readily acknowledge that I probably rate The X-Files more highly that it deserves, having been an obsessive fan back in the 90s. This is borne out by Sam's review of the show. Fight the Future generally does better; see this review by Garth. Roger Ebert is sadly in the minority with I Want to Believe, however; this review from Nathan is par for the course.