Essay–The X-Files “Best” Episodes

The human mind is an oddity. It’s little more than a neural net with billions of connections that store our memories, interpret sensory input, and somehow contains what makes us “human.” But where it differs from the computer I work on every day is the ability to see a single line of text and then make us long for something we’ve seen or experienced in the past.

FOX is evidently considering a “reboot” of one of my all-time favorite shows: The X-Files. It was a series I followed as much as I could during college and several years afterward. Until, of course, it jumped the goddamned shark. I really loathe Chris Carter for what he did to this series as well as the utter failure that became of Millenium. Those two shows were the best programs on TV. Until they weren’t.

But a headline about bringing back the characters of Mulder and Scully made me long to watch the series again. Front to back. And I guess that’s the soundtrack I’ve had for a while.

It’s funny. I know which episodes I detested, and which I loved. I skip over the shitty ones (the ones about black oil [irony, i know] and the super soldier disaster) that bind together two less than well-written arcs. Instead, I absolutely devour the single-shot episodes investigating monsters, serial killers, and strange phenomenon. Those episodes MADE the series for me. They kindled my imagination and left me wanting to create something that affected people in the same way those tales affected me.

As I meander through the series, I see the titles and know I have to watch those specific episodes. Since the entire series is currently on Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime, I figured I’d make a list of my faves. Why? Because I’m taking a break from the second installment of “The Black.” In other words: I’m procrastinating. But if you want to waste some time watching great TV, you should give these a look. In no particular order, except by category, here they are.

Serial Killers and Crazy People:

  • Grotesque
  • Oubliette
  • Eve
  • Fire
  • Beyond the Sea
  • Irresistible
  • Our Town
  • Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
  • Pusher
  • Mind’s Eye
  • Orison
  • Home

Monsters:

  • Squeeze
  • Tooms
  • Ice
  • The Host
  • Firewalker
  • Die Hand Die Verletzt
  • Humbug
  • 2Shy
  • Leonard Betts
  • Chinga
  • Folie à Deux
  • Arcadia
  • Alpha
  • Darkness Falls
  • Hungry
  • Agua Mala
  • Terms of Endearment

Aliens:

  • Fallen Angel
  • Jose Chung’s From Outer Space

Just Plain Strange Shit:

  • Szygy
  • Ghost In The Machine
  • Miracle Man
  • Roland
  • Blood
  • Sleepless
  • Død Kalm
  • F. Emasculata
  • Soft Light
  • War of the Coprophages
  • Kill Switch
  • The Pine Bluff Variant
  • Field Trip
  • The Goldberg Variation
  • Brand X
  • Tithonus
6 comments on “Essay–The X-Files “Best” Episodes
  1. Chris Bowsman says:

    Was Humbug the episode with Jim Rose and the Enigma? That’s my favorite. I learned to do the Human Blockhead stunt after watching that.

  2. Neil says:

    This has just made me buy the box set 🙂

  3. Jonathan Herrera says:

    Home is one of the most disturbing episodes to me. The whole idea people like this exist near rational or “normal people” is part of the horror and because I have lived in isolated places before that it hits home to me, which make feel more realistic to me. inbreeding, regression in behavior, and genetic mutations have always held my fascination.

    I feel your pain when it comes to Millennium in my opinion the best series out the two. Chris Carter had other writers work on the second season and most of the third season. just sounds like an excuse. Though I do like the dialogue between the daughter and frank right at the end of the final episode.

    • Paul Cooley says:

      “Home” is definitely one of the seminal episodes because of the issues it deals with head on. Millenium is one of those shows that had so much potential, but seemed doomed because Carter didn’t really have a long-term vision for it. I understand wanting to use long args through series. Hell, I do the same thing. But the arcs were so ill-defined and put together that none of it really went anywhere.

  4. Nathaniel Rich says:

    A reboot of X-Files? I thought that’s what Fringe was.

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