The X-Files

The X-Files

Raise your hand if you used "trustno1" as a password!

 

This is one of those classics of 90s television. These days, geek culture IS the mainstream. But in the 1990s if you were a science fiction geek, you had few options when it came to mass market entertainment. When The X-Files debuted, it was a show designed just for us, and we went nuts for it.
 
Smart, sassy, contemporary, and always based firmly in the real world, The X-Files was a science fiction show of a very different sort. It's hard to remember now how revolutionary it was. Just the idea of a long-form television show with such a wide-ranging mythos was amazing. And a science fiction show? Wow!

 
I was hooked the first time I saw an ad for the pilot episode. Watching that episode now, I'm surprised I ever ended up watching the show, it's so terrible! The acting is wooden, the chemistry so weak. But at the time, it blew my mind. I told all of my friends about it the next day, and soon we all had blocked off an hour-long chunk of every Friday (later Sunday) night to watch the show.
 
The show itself handily spans the 90s. It premiered in 1993, and although it limped along through 2002, David Duchovny left the show in 1999. In many fans' minds (myself included) he took the show along with him. In its later years I'm afraid the show disappeared up its own backside, spending pages and pages of script time talking about Salvation and Redemption and Rebirth and a lot of other such airy, capitalized terms.
 
But while it was good, oh it was very good. The soundtrack, both symphonic and "songs inspired by," became big hits. The color "acid green" became canonical, a color that started appearing everywhere - eventually finding its home in The Matrix. 
 
How many Geocities webpages used that combination of acid green and splotchy, mock-typewriter fonts? Almost all of them at one point, I'm sure of it. How many young women daydreamed of wearing a pair of chunky heels with a boxy jacket and Indian Summer lipstick? 
 
And finally, although the X-Files didn't pioneer interest in the paranormal (which was clearly there already), it certainly propagated it to the mainstream. I dare say today's crop of shows like Ghost Hunters, Monsterquest, and Destination Truth would never have existed if there hadn't been an X-Files.
 
It really is too bad that the show collapsed under its own weight at the end. I wonder how many people regret having gotten an X-Files tattoo. I toyed with the idea myself for a little while, at the beginning. Not having gotten that tattoo is probably one of the best life decisions I ever made!