This Sunday and Monday will mark the first new episodes of The X-Files in over a decade. Sure, we had a feature film about seven years ago, but that is not the best medium for Mulder and Scully to investigate the supernatural and paranormal. Despite only being six episodes long, this new event series could open the door for multiple new years of one of the best television series of all time. There are only a couple of days until the show premieres, so here is our list of the top 10 episodes you should watch before the event series starts. Okay, so we cheated a little bit because there are 202 episodes of the show, so these are more double features you have to watch. Some are two-parters and others are just good stories to pair together. If you think we missed any, let us know in the talk backs below.
Season 1 - Pilot/Deep Throat
Starting at the beginning, you cannot binge The X-Files without the very first episode which introduces Mulder and Scully and outlines the entire reason for their partnership. Things would dramatically change through the series run, but with this first hour we were given the format and style that would become the show's trademark. The second episode introduces us to Mulder's first secret contact, code named Deep Throat. It is here that the international conspiracy really begins to take shape.
Season 1 - Squeeze/Tooms
After assuming that the series would be all about aliens and conspiracy theories, Mulder and Scully encountered their first monster villain in the early first season episode "Squeeze". Eugene Tooms, able to stretch his body to bizarre lengths in a hunt for human organs, was one of the creepiest creations of all time and came back for a second episode towards the end of the first season, something that almost never happened again on the series' run. Definitely a great pair of episodes to keep you up at night.
Season 2 - The Host/Die Hand Die Verletzt
Another stellar pair of standaline episodes. "The Host" features one of the scariest monsters the show has ever had in the Flukeman while "Die Hand Die Verletzt" delves into the world of witchcraft. Both are outstanding accomplishments in writing and could have come straight out of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. The first episode came from creator Chris Carter while the second came from the pen of long-time writers Glen Morgan and James Wong.
Season 2 - Duane Barry/Ascension
To accommodate Gillian Anderson's pregnancy, this two part episode wrote her maternity leave as part of Agent Scully being abducted by aliens. This would have major ramifications for the rest of the series and begin Scully's transformation from scientist to true believer. Inspired by the true story of Phineas Gage, these episodes garnered critical acclaim for writer/director Chris Carter and guest star Steve Railsback as the titular character.
Season 3 - Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose/Jose Chung's From Outer Space
In the third season, The X-Files began to find a sense of humor thanks to writer Darin Morgan. Morgan is a contributor to the upcoming event series which bodes well for fans of the show. These two episodes are highlights of the entire series for very different reasons. Peter Boyle was stellar as the psychic Clyde Bruckman whose visions hold major repercussions for Scully. Jose Chung is one of the funniest characters the show has produced and would reappear in a similar episode of companion series Millennium.
Season 3 - Piper Maru/Apocrypha
Another big mythology two-parter, this story introduced the Black Oil. Another step in the evolution of the alien menace on the series, the Black Oil would become a major factor for the rest of the show. This episode also saw the return of the duplicitious Alex Krycek. We learn more about the villainous Syndicate and see Walter Skinner begin to sway more from being an FBI straight shooter to confidant to Mulder and Scully.
Season 4/5 - Home/Bad Blood
While the fourth and fifth seasons are full of great episodes, these two are standouts. The disturbing "Home" was never broadcast by FOX again due to the truly grotesque special effects and controversial storyline. It ranks as one of the best hours of The X-Files of all time. "Bad Blood" is a great comedic episode that twists the vampire myth while allowing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson to explore the lighter sides of Mulder and Scully.
Season 5/6 - The End/The Beginning
It was between seasons five and six that The X-Files feature film, FIGHT THE FUTURE, debuted. The titles represent major changes for the mythology of the series as well as the change of production locations from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Both episodes bookend the film nicely while a visible difference can be seen in the production values of the show as the sixth year begins.
Season 8 - Within/Without
At the conclusion of the seventh season, Agent Mulder was abducted by aliens. While this was a way to write David Duchovny off the series to explore other projects, it afforded a partial reboot for the series. Gillian Anderson's Scully would become the believer and new character John Doggett (Robert Patrick) would serve as the skeptic. While many fans didn't take to Doggett at first, he began to grow as the series continued. Still, Mulder would be missed, but this would only deepen the mythology of the show.
Season 9 - Nothing Important Happened Today/The Truth
Season nine was disappointing for many, but with the end of the show in sight, Chris Carter began to wrap things up as best he could. Featuring the introduction of Cary Elwes as Brad Follmer and the return of Lucy Lawless as a female super soldier/alien hybrid, this was where things began to get crazy. We learn a lot about Mulder and Scully's baby William whose existence would impact the series forever. The series finale saw the return of David Duchovny as the story came to a close. The finale offered closure but also teased the impending alien invasion that would happen in December 2012. Well, that never happened, but what does that mean for the new series? We will find out on January 24th.
Honorable Mention: FIGHT THE FUTURE/I WANT TO BELIEVE
If you really wanted to get lazy, you could just watch the two feature films in the franchise. FIGHT THE FUTURE was produced right in the middle of the series run and gives a Cliff's Notes version of the mythology while I WANT TO BELIEVE shows us where Mulder and Scully end up between the end of the show's run and today. Together, they represent the two halves of the show: mythology and standalone stories.