X-Files

X Files was a science fiction television series which was first broadcast on September 10, 1993, on Fox Network. The series was created by Chris Carter and was on air for nine years, with the last episode broadcast on May 19, 2002. It starred David Duchonvy as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully. The series gained popular critical acclaim and received 26 awards, with 102 nominations in total. It was broadcast in more than 70 countries on six continents.

In the program, the X Files was a special department of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which worked on cases that have inexplicable or paranormal elements. It was established in 1946 by J. Edgar Hoover, who wanted to have a series of mysterious murders investigated away from the spotlight. One particular suspect was half-human, half-animal and Hoover thought it inappropriate to engage regular FBI agents in the case. Therefore, he started a new division, which soon began investigating cases of UFOs and alien abduction.

There was no one who was interested in working on the X Files, until Special Agent Mulder requested a transfer to the division. Mulder used to work on serial-killer cases but he had always been interested in the paranormal because as a child he saw his own sister being abducted. Mulder had the firm conviction that the government was conspiring to hide all facts and data on UFOs from the public. Another agent was assigned as his partner, scientist Dana Scully, who was given the task of keeping an eye on Mulder. Together they made a perfect team because Agent Mulder was a genuine believer in everything supernatural, whereas Agent Scully was a skeptic. Scully soon changed sides, because while investigating various cases and gathering evidence, she started to believe in Mulder's theory.

In the program, it turned out that there was a conspiracy as the government had been working with alien life forms in order to take control of the planet. They had been abducting people to perform various tests on them, modifying their DNA with alien genetic material and cross-breeding humans with aliens. The government was also planning to control humans through a substance, called the Black Oil, which turned people into obedient slaves.

The Black Oil was transmitted through bees, which infected humans by stinging them. There was also a rebel alien faction, which tried to protect the humans and to stop the invasion of Earth. The aliens cloned themselves in the form of already abducted humans and worked hard to prevent more abductions and to make humans resistant to the Black Oil. They were hunted down by alien bounty hunters and mercenaries, working for the government. Agents Mulder and Scully found out about the conspiracy by gradually gathering evidence with each paranormal case they investigated.

David Duchovny left the show in season seven, although the reason for his decision was not announced. There have been suggestions that he either wanted more money, or he had got tired of playing Agent Mulder and wanted to act in different films. Duchovny was replaced by Robert Patrick as Agent John Doggett, who becomes Agent Scully's partner for the remaining two seasons. In the series, Agent Mulder was abducted by aliens, just like his sister years before.

The X Files proved to be a highly successful series. A whole new fan culture emerged from it, triggering a wave of conspiracy theories, putting forward far-fetched explanations of real life incidents and historical facts, relating them to aliens. Long before the X Files, there were various urban legends about the FBI secret depository, where alien bodies, flying saucers and other extra-terrestrial artifacts were reportedly kept. The X Files slogans The Truth Is Out There, Trust No One and I Want to Believe engaged the already suspicious public and enhanced the pre-existing mistrust of the government.

The X Files appealed to a large television audience, even to people who were not normally science fiction fans. A wide array of franchise products followed after the first few seasons, including comic books, magazine, T-shirts, video and computer games. In 1998, a motion picture was released under the title The X-Files: Fight the Future. It was received well by critics although it gained more success internationally than it did in the United States. The television series had regular viewing figures of 10 million people in the United Kingdom.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Re-Reading the X-Files: The Trickster in Contemporary Conspiracy Myth
Dorsey, Leroy G.
Western Journal of Communication, Vol. 66, No. 4, Fall 2002
Creating a Pocket Universe: "Shippers," Fan Fiction, and the X-Files Online
Scodari, Christine; Felder, Jenna L.
Communication Studies, Vol. 51, No. 3, Fall 2000
Fan Cultures
Matt Hills.
Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Alt.tv.X-Files: The Serialisation of the Audience" begins on p. 172
The Post-Subcultures Reader
David Muggleton; Rupert Weinzierl.
Berg, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "'The X-Files,' Online Fan Culture, and the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades"
We All Love X. but Why? A Beginner's Guide to the Phenomenon of 'The X-Files.' (TV Show)
Justice, Emma.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 125, No. 4298, August 23, 1996
Strange TV: Innovative Television Series from the Twilight Zone to the X-Files
M. Keith Booker.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "It's the Libidinal Economy, Stupid: The X-Files and the Politics of Postmodern Desire"
Immortal Monster: The Mythological Evolution of the Fantastic Beast in Modern Fiction and Film
Joseph D. Andriano.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Queequeg in the Quagmire: Cryptozoology in The X-Files" begins on p. 122
"Have I Got a Monster for You!": Some Thoughts on the Golem, the X-Files and the Jewish Horror Movie
Koven, Mikel J.
Folklore, Vol. 111, No. 2, October 2000
Should You Read Shakespeare? Literature, Popular Culture & Morality
Anne Waldron Neumann.
University of New South Wales Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The X-Files and the Longing for Belief"
Science Fiction Television: A History
M. Keith Booker.
Praeger, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of The X-Files begins on p. 140
Spy Television
Wesley Britton.
Praeger, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "The Return of Fantasy and the Dark Nights of Spies: The X-Files, La Femme Nikita, and the New Millennium"
Two Kinds of Paranoia: 'The Truman Show' and 'The X-Files.' (Motion Pictures)
Alleva, Richard.
Commonweal, Vol. 125, No. 14, August 14, 1998
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