X-Files Season 1: Watch and Learn

I’m taking the risk of polluting my childhood memories forever by re-watching the entire run of The X-Files twenty years after it originally aired. (Yes, it’s really been TWENTY YEARS.)

Background: I loved The X-Files as a kid. LOVED it. I built my schedule around new episodes. I read Internet message boards. I owned the overpriced VHS tapes that only had two episodes on them. I got into an epic fight with my mother when she made me miss the beginning of Jose Chung’s From Outer Space. I dyed my hair red.

I was that girl.

Of course, that was a long time ago and now I’m (mostly) a grown-up. Re-watching season 1, I learned some things:

Sad Adult Realization #1: Mulder is Not as Cool as You Remember

He’s just not.

Being Cool: The Mulder Way
Step 1: Borrow Jerry Seinfeld’s jeans


Step 2: Mumble with as little inflection as possible
Step 3: Run away (seriously, he runs away from something in like every episode)

Sad Adult Realization #2: The Title Sequence is Unfortunate

Primarily because it’s made up entirely of grainy public domain graphics with overlaid text.

Proof:

Sad Adult Realization #3: Some Episodes are Really Bad

As a young fangirl, I would’ve defended every episode to the death because OMG TEH CANON. Now that I’m older I can admit that a few of them are pretty wretched. Highlights include:

FIRE
Basically the worst thing ever. I guess they thought giving Mulder a phobia would add depth to his character or something? (Hint to writers: Mulder does not need any more neuroses. He believes in aliens – that’s enough.)

Best-worst moment is a three-way tie between Mulder explaining that his phobia developed after guarding a burned house against looters as a child (?), our hero crawling AWAY from innocent children trapped in a burning building, and the climactic house fire scene where the fire only burns on the paintings for some reason.

Why?

SPACE
Come at me with pitchforks and torches if you must, Internet, but this is NOT the worst episode of the X-Files (that honor belongs to Fire). Still pretty bad, though.

SHAPES
The Native American werewolf episode. Definitely worse than Space and reminds me a lot of that first-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that was kind of racist.

SHADOWS
“I’ve got a great idea – it’s about an office ghost…”
STOP RIGHT THERE.

Of course, if’s a lot more fun to watch some of these episodes with a drink in your hand. Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

The Season 1 Drinking Game

Go ahead and have a swig every time:

1) Mulder runs away
2) There’s a scene in a divey local bar
3) The camera focuses on an inanimate object in the foreground while someone is eaten or attacked in the background
4) Anyone in the room with you laughs at a special effect that’s supposed to be scary
5) David Duchovny lists a bunch of conspiracy theories in a row as “dialogue”
6) Scully’s suit pants have visible pleats

I only kid because I love. Despite the duds, the first season DOES have a few gems — including one of my all-time favorites, Beyond The Sea. I was pleased to find out that one still holds up after all these years.

Stay tuned for reflections (and snark) on Season 2!

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8 comments
  1. (btw, I thought we were supposed to be drinking steadily throughout “Fire” but I do appreciate the checklist)

  2. Yeah, for Fire you should probably start drinking an hour before. Like when you’re scheduled for oral surgery and they have you take the sedatives before you get there.

    Also, can we talk about Mulder’s hair? So. Much. Hairspray.

  3. This is awesome. Coincidentally, despite the fact that the X-files have been on Netflix for years, just a few weeks ago I also started re-watching. I’ve been sticking to remembered favorites or title/description combos that catch my interest, though, not the full-on rewatch.

    You watch MST3K, right? When I was watching Shapes, all I could think was, “Wow, the people who made “Werewolf” completely ripped off this episode.”

    You are so right about everything, though. Dude. The title sequence. Even for the 90’s that had to be bad. Although apparently the music was good enough to be on that “Pure Moods” CD with the theme from Twin Peaks.

    Also thanks for the heads up on “Fire”… I would be way more into watching that ep if the premise was related to all that hairspray on DD.

    • I love MST so I will definitely rewatch that one.
      Yeah, the opening is sort of shockingly bad. Apparently it won an Emmy? Who knew.
      Ha – pure moods. I crack Mr. Max up by doing air quotes whenever “music” by Mark Snow appears on the credits.

  4. xland said:

    I actually didn’t watch X-files as a kid, just never got it into it. Now thanks to Netflix I’m watching it for the first time (starting with season 1) as a grown-up, without the awesome-colored lenses of childhood on but it’s still great fun and wow what a 90s flashback.

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