An X-Files Primer

This is an absolute bare-bones summary of the series. Using any search engine on the planet will yield dozens, if not hundreds, of websites you can visit for more information.

The X-Files debuted on the Fox network in 1992 and is (at the time I wrote this) still on the air. The series is about two FBI agents investigating the paranormal. The two are frequently opposed by agents of a shadowy conspiracy that controls the world.

David Duchovny as Special Agent Fox Mulder

Fox Mulder [David Duchovny] is a misanthropic genius of sorts, with a photographic memory and an in-depth knowledge of human psychology. These talents started his career in the FBI as a profiler, but once he had recovered the memories of his sister's abduction by aliens, he resurrected the X-Files division in an attempt to find out The Truth (Mulder speaks in capitals a lot).

Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully

Dana Scully [Gillian Anderson] was assigned by sinister agents to stop Mulder's mission by debunking it. Her specialty is post-mortem examinations. She has a very ordered scientific mind, and at least in the first few seasons of the show, she was constantly challenging Mulder's bizarre explanations for every unexplained phenomenon they came across. This is helped by the fact that they are always separated when the really-weird stuff happens (this is the reason for the almost-constant cell-phone use, especially in the theatrical movie that was made after Season 4). In one episode she revealed that she had written a paper on the theoretical possibilities of time travel (something I briefly use in my story).

Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Skinner

Assistant Director Walter Skinner [Mitch Pileggi] is Mulder and Scully's immediate superior. He is a hard man who is hard to judge. He appears to be under the control of the Conspiracy at times, but at others he has risked his life to defend the two agents.

William B. Davis as The Cigarette-Smoking Man

The true name of Mulder and Scully's nemesis is unknown, but they call him the Cigarette-Smoking Man, for obvious reasons. The CSM takes his orders from equally anonymous men, such as the "Well-Manicured Man" [John Neville]. He has agents, some of which appear to be of extraterrestrial origin (like the shape-changing Bounty Hunter [Brian Thompson]). Like any really good villain, even his apparent defeats serve to advance his insidious plans. Some of his agents (such as "Deep Throat" [Jerry Hardin] and "X" [Steven Williams]) have attempted to help Mulder or Scully, with deadly consequences (for them, not for Mulder or Scully). The double-agent currently at large is Alex Krycek [Nicholas Lea], who appears to make a living out of betrayal and revenge.

Tom Braidwood as Frohike Dean Haglund as Langly Bruce Harwood as Byers

Mulder is frequently assisted by a trio of men who call themselves "The Lone Gunmen". Melvin Frohike [Tom Braidwood] is the dirty old man, a surveillance expert with an eye for Scully. Ringo Langley [Dean Haglund] is the grungy hacker and easily the most paranoid of the bunch. Finally, John Fitzgerald Byers [Bruce Harwood] is the calmest of the three and the expert on a whole array of technical subjects.

My interest in the show lasted until the fourth season. Up to that time, most of the episodes were unrelated and Scully remained the doubter, but by the fourth season she had begun to believe and the show came to focus on the vast conspiracy. I got tired with all of the false leads and the extremely-slow revelations, so I gave up. I was especially sorry to see Mulder lose his dry sense of humor.

My experience with X-Files fan-fiction is restricted to Web Site Number 9, an internet collection of bad fanfiction and spam that got the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. From these fanfics, it appeared that a lot of writers were frustrated with the fact that this was the only popular show on television with two likeable characters of the opposite sex who were not in love with each other (I thought this was one of the best parts of the show, personally). In story after story, the two are forced into the sack by bad writing and horrible characterizations. My renditions of Mulder and Scully in "The Knight and the Jester" are a reaction to this trend.

All pictures taken from The X-Files Alphabet, a small static site that gave capsule summaries of key X-Files concepts and characters in the guise of a cute alphabet book.

This page maintained by McPoodle43 @t Page last updated March 23, 2003.