”Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted,” a young Fox Mulder warns fellow agent Dana Scully only a few minutes into the pilot episode of The X-Files. As the cameras follow Scully into Mulder’s cluttered and dimly lit office we see, on a poster featuring a UFO, the words that will define the show’s guiding philosophy: I want to believe.
With that episode — which aired on Friday, September 10th, 1993 — series creator Chris Carter abducted viewers on a nine-season journey to an expansive world of misty forests, faceless small towns, mysterious lights in the sky, and one Cigarette Smoking Man. It wasn’t that long before fans of the paranormally-focused show were dissecting episodes in cafeterias and around water coolers each following Monday morning
In hindsight, the fact that 20 years have gone by since The X-Files premiered on Fox isn’t too hard to believe. (C’mon, look at Gillian Anderson’s hair, or David Duchovny’s suits.) What’s jarring is that it’s been 11 years since the show was taken off the air. In our post-9/11 chaos of Wikileaks, drone warfare, and, um, Honey Boo Boo, it’s a shame we aren’t laughing at Mulder’s philosophical witticisms or shrugging off Scully’s scientific reasoning.
That’s why, instead, we’re rewinding back to a time when mystery dwelled behind our small screens, and the answers weren’t a click away on Google. To celebrate, here’s a rundown on the best of The X-Files — from the scariest episode to its most ghastly villain. Consider it a handy guide before you crack open the proverbial filing cabinet of 202 episodes.
The truth is…on the next slide.
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