In this aliens-among-us mystery, sci-fi writer and surfer Chris Carter melded ’60s don’t-trust-the-Man paranoia with ’90s black-helicopter paranoia. FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was his own biggest x-file, pursuing a conspiracy that involved the alien abduction of his sister. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) was his rational foil, doubting his outlandish theories even after she experienced a disappearance-and-implantation episode herself. Mulder and Scully also solved standalone paranormal cases, but the the big draw of the show was its baroque mystery—as well as its comic relief and Mulder and Scully’s nerdy sexual tension—and the show petered out after Duchovny jumped ship. But for years this conspiracist gem drilled into our reserves of horror and mistrust, and struck black oil.
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