The Best X-Files. A huge debate for fans, but even tougher for those who aren’t. You’ve been trying to convince one of your close friends, or significant other/others (no judging here!) to give The X-Files a try. It’s not working. You’re too close to the problem. Showing them revelations about the CSM, or Samantha, or Scully’s abduction segment isn’t having the effect you intended.
The problem is that you were stunned and awed by those events after watching years’ worth of episodes. Then you try to sum up that feeling with a sentence like, “Well Mulder’s sister was kidnapped when he was a boy.” You need to start with self-contained episodes that don’t require previous viewer knowledge. Episodes where the viewer can intuit some of the relationships between the characters from their reactions, instead of drawing on show history.
Another problem that long time X-Files viewers have is their resentment of David Duchovny’s reduced involvement starting with season eight. They’ve not made room for how good some of the Doggett episodes are.
In search of the best x-files episodes to show your friends, here are some loglines to get them interested:
4-D (Season 9). A man with the power to travel between dimensions uses his power to exist as an unstoppable serial killer.
Dæmonicus (Season 9) Strange murders in an insane asylum seem to point toward a doctor.
Field Trip (Season 6). Scully and Mulder suspect they are trapped in virtual reality. This episode debuted around the same time as The Matrix.
First Person Shooter (Season 7). Somehow, a man is killed from within VR, by a mysterious, beautiful, sword wielding assassin.
Folie à Deux (Season 5). A man holding Mulder hostage in an office building suspects his boss of being a monster.
Home (Season 4). Mulder and Scully are led to a family with genetic defects so severe, that they could have only come from generations of inbreeding. This episode appears on everyone’s favorites list. It is deliciously disgusting. You are forewarned.
Hungry (Season 7). Someone is killing people and removing their brains. Mulder suspects those brains are being eaten.
Je Souhaite (Season 7). The agents discover a genie, who is granting special guest Will Sasso three wishes. When Mulder’s turn comes, what will he wish for?
Kill Switch (Season 5). Although I have listed these episodes in alphabetical, rather than qualitative order, I consider Kill Switch to be the best episode of the X-Files. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if William Gibson got to write a screenplay… he wrote this one.
Monday (Season 6). The X-files meet Groundhog Day as Mulder is forced to relive a botched bank robbery over and over. Funny, dark, and clever, this is one of the absolute best episodes.
Redrum (Season 8). When the wife of Doggett’s friend is murdered, the friend is arrested, but he has no memory of any of it. In fact he doesn’t remember the last several weeks. He claims to be living backward in time.
Roadrunners (Season 8). Scully is trapped in an off-the-grid town whose residents are involved in a religious cult, and protecting a secret.
Rush (Season 7). The agents track a killer who can move so fast that he can’t be seen by the human eye.
The Amazing Maleeni (Season 7) After turning his head around 360 degrees, a magician is found alongside his dismembered head. Did his rival magician commit the deed? A brilliant caper ensues.
X-Cops (Season 7). On a full moon, and during the filming of an episode of COPS , strange murders occur. Mulder suspects a werewolf may be responsible.
Wait… I can’t let you go without talking about the Ronin Duology. So we’re bumping these fifteen episodes to seventeen.
Pusher And Kitsunegari (Seasons 3 and 5, respectively). A man living by the code of bushido, gains the power to force his will on others through speech. Nuff said.
(END SLIGHT SPOILERS)
You may not have bought the entire DVD set, like I did. X Files is on Netflix now. What are you waiting for? Go. Convert your friends! Tonight!
Everyone has their own best X-Files episodes, and almost no two reviewers can agree on what those are. Here are a few more opinions: