Best Episode... Ever!

Some series get better the further they progress and others tend to lose their way. The X-Files was more than a series – it was a late Nineties phenomenon. Every week, two FBI Agents, one a sceptic and the other a believer, investigated the strange, the supernatural and cases that defied scientific explanation. What made it special and gave it the cultural oomph to translate from genrevision to the mainstream was largely achieved in the early series – the first primarily. It wasn’t David Duchovny or Gillian Anderson, although they were both excellent. It was the writing. Audiences couldn’t get enough of the original concept – which in turn traces its origins from Seventies shows like Kolchak the Nightstalker. Even now, shows that fairly unashamedly advertise themselves as X-Files wannabes vie for our televisual attentions. On top of the obvious appeal of the concept, audiences were treated to weekly 40 minute instalments of weird, investigative delight layered on top of a character-driven ‘will-they-won’t-they’ romantic sub-plot akin to the dynamics in Moonlighting. Alas, despite having all of this going for it, The X-Files did end up losing its way and was never better than its first season. The reasons for this are debateable. I was always a fan of the ‘monster-of-the-week’ episodes and felt that a sub-story involving a specific group of alien creatures – what some called a ‘mytharc’- came to unreasonably dominate. These episodes always struck me a less interesting and possibly lazier.

I know what I think is the Best Episode from Season 1 of The X-Files. It would be interesting to know what other people think, however. The following classic ‘monster-of-the-week’ episodes appear on a poll on the side bar. Feel free to click on the names, check out the twenty second trailers for the episodes and vote for the one you remember most fondly. Better than that, watch Season 1 again!

Ep.2 Deepthroat

Ep.5 The Jersey Devil

Ep.8 Ice

Ep.14 Gender Bender

Ep.17 E.B.E.

Ep.19 Shapes

Ep.20 Darkness Falls

Ep.21 Tooms

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We tramped through Seasons 1-3 back as an undergrad, it was tremendous fun. Afterwards things started to get a bit shaky, but I think S1-3 really held up (the early mytharc episodes were fairly compelling, even on re-watching [helped if you've forgotten some/most of the details]) over time.

Being somewhat inclined to go with the flow, I think "Tooms" is the one for me of season 1, certainly it's perhaps the most memorable.

Having said that, of the series as a whole, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is perhaps one of my favourites. Good acting, quirky plot in an almost parody of the series itself, yet it lends itself as one of the more serious or, at least, plausible episodes of the whole show (that still embraces the supernatural element).

I think I'll dig out some of my X-Files DVDs, now that you've brought it up!