The Top 27 X-Files Episodes to Watch If You Or Someone You Know Has Never Seen The X-Files

November 25, 2012 § 5 Comments

Guess what nerds, winter is coming! Soon it will be too cold and disgusting to go outside, which means it’s time to start thinking about your television situation, i.e. the shows you’ve always wanted to watch but never had the time to slog through because “it was nice outside” or “you had better things to do.” Congratulations, because your moment has arrived. There is nothing better to do in the winter!

The following is a guide for those of you who have never seen the X-Files, or who have seen the X-Files and want to introduce a friend to the X-Files, but don’t know where to start. Because the thing is, the X-Files is an involved and involving show, with a vast and twisty and sometimes deeply annoying mythology. You’ve got your shadowy government conspiracies, your mysterious black oil, your smallpox vaccinations, your cloned-ass sisters, your human-alien hybrids, your bees literally fucking everywhere! If you want to watch that particular drama unfold, you really should begin with the beginning; this list will be of no use to you. But if you want to watch the best—the funniest, the scariest, the WTFingest— stand-alone episodes, because it is so cold outside, look no further!

LOL 90s

Pilot

There’s this spooky FBI agent, see? He’s so smart he can work on anything he wants, and what he wants to work on is ALIENS! And then a lady FBI agent is sent to spy on him, and the rest is television history!

Memorable quote:

Mulder: We leave for the very plausible state of Ory-gon at 8am.

Ice

Mulder and Scully and a crack team of quirky scientists get sent up to the Arctic where this other crack team of ice-drillers murdered the shit out of each other, for no apparent reason! Turns out there is a reason though, namely an ammonia-guzzling RAGE WORM from outer space! The scientists turn on each other almost immediately, and then everyone has to poop in a jar!

Ghost in the Machine

There is an evil AI loose in this one office building, and the building starts killing all those who would seek to destroy it. It even goes after its own creator, who has a “scruffy mind” and lives in what looks like the lobby of a Red Lion Inn, but is supposed to be some kind of billionaire fortress!

Monster of the Week

Squeeze/Tooms

Mulder and Scully attempt to track down Courney Stodden’s husband Doug Hutchison, who ironically enough plays a 100 year-old liver-eating mutant named Eugene Victor Tooms. The jokes practically write themselves!

Eve

These two men get murderized at the exact same time in the exact same way on opposite sides of the country. Each man has an 8 year-old daughter, who at first seem really sad about their dead daddies, but as it turns out are actually homicidal, telepathic clones whose progenitors (EVE, GET IT) were originally part of some top secret Cold War-era genetics research project!

Memorable quote:

8 year-old murder clone: He was exsanguinated.

Jose Chung’s From Outer Space

A series of bizarre, UFO-related events inspire a wheezy old queen named Jose Chung to write what he describes as a “the first non fiction fiction book,” because of MONAY. Scully is eager to weave her version of the yarn, but Mulder is just cranky! “You’re making abductees look weird!” he tells Jose Chung. And Jose Chung’s like “pfft I’ve got deadlines to keep!”

Humbug 

A town populated by circus folk is terrorized by what Mulder suspects is a little bit of Barnum and Bailey humbug (that is Olde Tyme for “bullshit”) known as the Fiji Mermaid. The agents are aided by local lawman Jim-Jim the Dog Faced Boy, and berated by Twin Peaks‘ Man from Another Place.

Small Potatoes

The voice actor who played Chuckie (the Nickelodeon cartoon, not the murder doll) gets impregnated by a person she thinks is Luke Skywalker but is actually just some loser who can shapeshift into whoever. And then oops turns out the baby has a tail, and the doctor is like, “dang not another one,” and the good townsfolk are incensed because what is going on??? Meanwhile Scully almost does it with Mulder, at least who she thinks is Mulder, to great comedic effect!

El Mundo Gira 

El Chupacabra is gonna getcha! Specifically, El Chupacabra is gonna sneeze on all your shit and spread toxic green mold wherever he goes. Brother will be pitted against brother, and your cashew nuts will be ruined, and you are going to LIKE it.

Home

The Peacock family is just like any other small town American family, except for the part about how the three Peacock sons make birth-defected babies with their mother, who doesn’t have any limbs and lives under a bed, on a roll-out cot.

How the Ghosts Stole Christmas

One dark and stormy Christmas Eve, Scully follows Mulder into a cockamamie murder-suicide ghost hunt somewhat reluctantly because Mulder steals her car keys, and also because deep down she wouldn’t want to spend the holidays with anyone else. Then because they’re dicks, the ghosts -played by Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin- try to convince the two not-quite-lovebirds to kill each other, and it almost works!

Bad Blood

Luke Wilson is a vampire Scully would like to have sex with! But Mulder is like “lol Scully did you see his overbite!” And Scully is like “wtf NO.” So the two agents engage in a game of dueling narrative banjos, the primary focus of which is that one time Mulder killed a pizza delivery kid with a stake, like a lunatic!

The Post-Modern Prometheus 

Mr. Peterman is a mad scientist who doesn’t give a RIP about your code of ethics! He’s gonna make all the fly-mutants he wants, because he can! And then a human mutant, whose name is Mutato, gets Peterman’s wife pregnor to the soothing sounds of Cher, and sickly sweet stench of fumigation pesticides. And Mulder and Scully are like haha, who’s eating all the peanut butter, before coming to the touching realization that mutants are people too, even if they technically are rapists!

Arcadia

This episode was filmed near my hometown of beautiful Valencia, California. The funny thing is, the real life Valencia is also built on top of a mountain of toxic poop, and is also populated by trash monsters summoned by the CEO of Pier 1 Imports who murder you if you don’t follow your homeowner’s association guidelines. I mean it is just UNCANNY.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder (to Scully): Woman, get back in here and make me a sandwich!

Various and Sundry

Unusual Suspects

This is a flashback episode, making it the INCEPTION of 90s nostalgia. It is especially fun because it serves as the origin story for the Lone Gunman, the recurring triad of lovable haxxor1z whose job it is to breathe sweet nothings of paranoia into Mulder’s ear.

The Field Where I Died

Mulder and Scully investigate some crazy suicide cult, and meet a whistleblower cult member suffering from what Scully thinks is multiple personality disorder. Mulder begs to differ because of course he does, and suggests that her split personalities might actually be her past lives peeking through, because of course he does! In fact he’s pretty sure that many lives ago the whistleblower was his lover. But then the Civil War tore them apart, what a bummer!

Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

Cancer Man has lead a pretty interesting life you guys, although you wouldn’t know it by looking into his sad, sad eyes! All he really wants is to be a writer, and in between assassinating various threats to the Alien Clone Bees Fucking Everywhere Project, has been working on a detective novel, which keeps getting rejected because he sucks!

Super Serial (killers)

Irresistible

Just as Scully is recovering from her alien-induced nose cancer (it is a long story!), she and Mulder take a case about a terrible horrible no good very bad death fetishist named Donnie Pfaster who rips out the fingernails of the ladies he kills! He’s decorates his apartment to look like a funeral parlor, he likes his corpses cold (if you know what I mean), and he has a thing for red hair. Watch out, Scully!!!

2Shy

A translator of obscure Italian poetry has an extreme lipid deficiency and as a result is forced to seduce and then slurp the delicious, life-giving fatty tissue right out of the women he meets in BBW chatrooms, because it was the 90s and that was how people killed each other back then!

Grotesque 

In one of the spooky-scarier episodes of the series, Mulder, Scully and That 70’s Show’s Red Foreman hunt a serial killer who insists he’s been possessed by some sort of kill-demon. The more intense scenes are weakened somewhat by the expectation that Red will get mad and start calling people dumbass.

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose

Due to the Big Bopper dying in a plane crash (just go with it), a melancholy insurance salesman named Clyde Bruckman developed the ability able to foresee how and when someone will die just by looking at them. Simultaneously there is a serial killer on the loose who targets various prognosticators, from psychics to tasseographists. You can imagine the interest the serial killer shows in Clyde Bruckman!

Memorable quote:

Clyde Bruckman: [looking at Mulder’s badge] I’m supposed to believe that’s a real name?

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Terms of Endearment

All Bruce Campbell wants is to have a child, a normal healthy human child who isn’t part demon like him. God it is just so exhausting, constantly having to murder all the newborns that are born with horns, and having to juggle like two wives at a time because one uterus is never enough when you’ve got devil sperm!

Die Hand Die Verletzt

Some dumbass teenagers get drunk and decide to summon the devil in the deep dark woods, because that’s a pretty cool first date! This ends up being pretty awkward for their devil-worshiping parents, who are fair-weather SINOs (Satanists in Name Only). I guess they’d better start holding Black Mass on more days than just Easter and Christmas!

Chinga

Goddamn Scully needs a vacation! So she takes a trip down the Oregon New England coast and ends up stumbling upon this case involving a bunch of murders and a possessed-ass doll straight out of a Stephen King novel. No literally, Stephen King wrote the episode. Meanwhile Mulder is sooooo bored without Scully he can hardly stand it, and keeps calling to check in on the case, and every time he does Scully is like “no it’s fine I’m on vacation nothing to report,” even if she’s watching the doll stab everyone in town because JESUS MULDER CAN’T YOU SEE SHE NEEDS SOME SPACE.

Memorable quote:

Evil doll:  “I want to play.”

Syzygy

The stars and Venus align perfectly and end up imbuing two teenage girls with all the power in the universe. Because they are teenagers they are already assholes, but thanks to the stars and Venus they start killing everyone who so much as looks at them sideways! Everyone in town is feeling the weird rageish sexy effects of the alignment, even Mulder and Scully, but not as bad as the two girls, who eventually go hide in a closet and hug it out.

Memorable quote:

Possessed teenage girl: Hate him hate him, wouldn’t want to date him

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§ 5 Responses to The Top 27 X-Files Episodes to Watch If You Or Someone You Know Has Never Seen The X-Files

  • Karen says:

    My, what a lot of X-Files related tags!

    I wanted to relive some of my fond teenage memories of the X-Files recently, so we borrowed the first series off Brian’s colleague, and quickly discovered that watching Fringe spoils the X-Files forever. We kept watching episodes to see if it would improve, but no joy, and now he whines when I suggest going back to it. Even the smuldering (see what I did there) sexual tension doesn’t compensate for the fact that there is no reason for the Bureau not to have fired Mulder ages ago, and also “Ice” totally stole its plot from The Thing. (Although it did feature more jar-pooping, as you rightly pointed out.)

    I didn’t realise the liver-eating dude was Courtney Stodden’s husband! So, wait… he’s also a Lone Gunman… why would they subsequently reintroduce him as a different character? I’ve seen the BBC do that, but I didn’t think there was any shortage of actors in the US?

    • LOL X-FILES THROWDOWN. But yeah I know I know, the writers weren’t exactly concerned with what would happen in the actual human world, to actual humans (it was the 90s!). But dammit, that shit is my CHILDHOOD — I literally grew up watching the series on slow but steady repeat. I have not watched Fringe, however, and have heard from a number of people I should. Maybe I should add that to the winter doldrums queue?

      As for Mr. Courtney Stodden, the only character he ever plays is Eugene Tooms — the Lone Gunmen are a completely different thing, and aren’t introduced in the series till later. It would have been weird if they doubled-up on actors (all of whom were Canadian, btw, until season 6 everything was shot in Vancouver).

      Also I owe you an email —- I simply cannot get my shit together this term.

      • Karen says:

        Oh dear… I should’ve IMDB’d that. Also I fail at North America. Apologies! Yeah, I’ve enjoyed Fringe a lot, although it takes a while to get into, and has gone through a lot of confusing permutations (at present I’m not sure if I know who’s good or evil or who shot who the what now anymore). But it’s probably worth a look!

        I know that with long-running or multi-series shows, it’s not that unusual to occasionally get actors on twice to play small roles. Various Star Trek cast members have done more than one gig on the different series, for example (Michael Dorn, Diana Muldaur and Majel Barrett come to mind). There’s also a show in the UK called Midsummer Murders which is about a tiny, bucolic and affluent village with about fifty people living in it, and has been going on for fifteen seasons (during which time about 600 murders must have occurred, which must make it the most dangerous fictional place in Europe), and I know several actors have been called upon to play Corpse No. 2 more than once.

        But I digress. No worries about the email, am also rushing to finish stuff! Catch up with you whenever you’re free!

      • Oh man I wish there was a way to tele-conference TV shows! MAYBE IN THE FUTURE. We do need to schedule a Skype thing like soooon. It’s been too long!! You n me n Brucce must plan a plan.

  • […] to what I call chicken soup shows. For the last eight years, my go-to chicken soup shows have been The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; given how many times I’ve watched both series through, I am now […]

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