The ‘Pilot’ episode set the scene and was the most iconic, as it was the only episode to feature a disclaimer, that the episode was “inspired by actual documented accounts.” The agents discuss, at length, a conspiracy within the government – an overarching theme which arises time and again throughout the course of the series – which the viewer has knowledge of by the end of the episode, as the man smoking a cigarette (William B. Davis) at the start of the episode, appears to be hiding evidence at The Pentagon in the episode’s final scene.
The most common misconception about The X Files, is that the series is all about aliens. Wrong. Mulder’s interest in the paranormal and unexplained phenomena, far transcends that of just aliens. Any cases which are unexplained or unsolved are deemed ‘X Files.’ The cases in the episodes are akin to that of such programmes like Unsolved Mysteries (1987 – 2010).
Although only five episodes are to do with the alien conspiracy theory, the other nineteen episodes feature strange and bizarre cases, which makes for a better show because there’s only so much you could write about aliens. The show wouldn’t have survived if every episode was about aliens, and the show would have become stale rather quickly.
Soon thereafter, we’re introduced to another integral character, the mysterious Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin), whose namesake was involved with the Watergate scandal. He acts as an informant for Mulder – for the duration of the first season until he’s killed off – while working for the military. He says he wants to expose the truth and the lies of the government while occasionally deceiving Mulder.
Another character in the show, who’s introduced in one episode towards the end of season one, is Mulder and Scully’s superior agent, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). From his induction into the show he seems to want to help, but there’s something about him you just don’t know if you can trust.
Other secondary characters within season one are Scully’s parents – although her father dies fairly early on, and Mulder’s sci-fi friends, who share in Mulders theories about a government conspiracy. They are dubbed by fans as ‘the lone gunman’ and even went as far as to have a spin-off series of the same name, before it was cancelled after the first season.
In short, the cases that make up the first season consist of an alien/government conspiracy, mutant people, ghosts (the supernatural), clones, evil children, possession, spiritualism and reincarnation. The first season is about introducing characters and learning who to trust and who not to trust. However, this changes as the series progresses, as characters tend to switch sides or flip-flop between friend and foe, sometimes posing as both.
My favourite episode from this season is the final episode, ‘The Erlanmeyer Flask.’ It was really well acted and provided a cliffhanger despite being a stand-alone episode. It was also the episode where one of my favourite characters was killed off. What I liked most about the first season, is that some of the smaller characters went on to feature in later seasons as various other roles, or one or two extra roles.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first segment as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it (and watching season one again for nostalgic and purely entertainment reasons). The next instalment will be an overview of season two, keep your eyes peeled for that because it’ll be with you shortly.