“The X-Files” season 1 was momentous. When the landmark television series hit airwaves in 1993, it solidified itself as one TV’s finest movements, and evolved from a show into a universe. Culminating in a nine-season run, “The X-Files” was bolstered by two feature films, two spin-off mini-series, comics, video games, card games, and more.
It was truly a revolution, borrowing from sci-fi and horror classics, but taking the genre in a new direction. Episodes ranged from alien lore to horror, blending humor, intrigue, and science fiction to perfection. Even the format of the show was groundbreaking, mixing standalone “Monster of the Week” episodes with overarching mythology storyarcs.
The early 90’s was a time of paranoia and mistrust, and “The X-Files” tapped into that vibe masterfully. Whether an ongoing plotline or one-off story, there was usually some conspiracy, with figures shrouded in mystery and sometimes Morley cigarette smoke like series antagonist Smoking Man (William B. Davis). Packed with paranormal lore, fantastic acting, and well-grounded characters, “The X-Files” forever changed the face of sci-fi, solidifying its spot in the science fiction hall of fame.
Notably, several recurring guest stars first appeared in the inaugural season. The sinister Smoking Man became known as the embodiment of government cover up, and later in the series blossomed into an integral figure. Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) relays his backstory, and his sister Samantha’s abduction, the primary driving force behind the dedicated FBI agent. Special Agent Dana Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) family is introduced, including her mother Margaret (Shelia Larken) and father William (Don S. Davis). FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) first appears in this season, and fan favorites The Lone Gumnen are introduced as well.
Ask any X-Phile their favorite episodes, and likely several will hail from season one. Highlights include “The X-Files” staples like “Squeeze,” “Tooms,” “Beyond the Sea,” and “The Erlenmeyer Flask.” While the whole series displayed influences from previous films and TV shows ranging from “The Silence of the Lambs” to “The Twilight Zone,” some episodes more than others featured more overt references. “Ice” is a delightful homage to horror guru John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” and “Ghost in the Machine” pays tribute to Hal from visionary director Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Several familiar faces pepper the first season. Seth Green plays a stoner in “Deep Throat.” Felicity Huffman lends her talents to “Ice.” The voice behind Chucky in the “Child’s Play” franchise, Brad Dourif, portrays monster of the week villain Luther Lee Bogs in “Beyond the Sea.” “Darkness Falls” guest stars Jason Beghe, who headlined in cult classic “Monkey Shines,” and now leads the cast of “Chicago P.D.” Jerry Hardin, portraying Mulder’s informant Deep Throat, featured roles in several beloved movies and shows, from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” to “Big Trouble in Little China,” and “Cujo.”
There’s a lot to love about “The X-Files” season one. The inaugural series entry set a lofty precedent which was met, and often exceeded, later in the franchise. Many memorable episodes and moments derive from season one, from the iconic phrase “I want to believe,” to the cliffhanger season finale “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”
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