More than ten years after the last episode of The X-Files wrapped, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are reuniting to reprise the roles that put them on the map. As agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the pair’s return to the small screen (Jan. 24, 2016 on Fox) is sure to feature some chilling paranormal activity.
Over the course of its nine-series run, The X-Files introduced fans to a host of creatures and suspicious characters, utilizing two go-to plot styles – mythology episodes moved character and government conspiracy plots forward, while monster-of-the-week installments were purely about the thrill factor.
Since the final episode aired in 2001, David and Gillian have found great success in film and television, most recently on Aquarius and The Fall, respectively. Gillian is mother to 20-year-old Piper (with whom she took just 10 days of maternity leave while filming the original X-Files!) Oscar, 8 and Felix, 6. David has two children: 15-year-old West and 12-year-old Miller.
To celebrate the series’ impending six-episode release and honour the birthdays of the two stars that made it all possible – David turns 55 on Aug. 7 and Gillian turns 48 on Aug. 9 – we’re taking a look back at the weirdest and wackiest cases tackled by this much-loved duo.
1. SEASON 5, EPISODE 10 - "CHINGA"
This spooky collaboration between horror writer Stephen King and series creator Chris Carter puts an X-Files spin on the classic Chucky story, introducing “Chinga,” a doll who drives people to bizarre and brutal suicide against their will. Add in a family history of witchcraft and Scully’s quick thinking and you’ve got one of the series’ best episodes.
2. SEASON 1, EPISODE 21 - "TOOMS"
This follow-up to the third-ever episode sees a villain reappear on the show for the very first time. Following a court hearing that does not resolve in Mulder and Scully’s favour, Eugene Tooms is released back into society, leading the paranormal investigators to look deeper into his case, going back as far as an unsolved murder in 1933. This episode also marks the first dialogue spoken by series regular The Smoking Man.
3. SEASON 2, EPISODE 5 - "DUANE BARRY"
Mulder encounters another believer while acting as a hostage negotiator for former FBI agent Duane Barry. The ex-cop believes he was abducted eight years before and says his body contains tracking devices, which the agents later remove. Scully is also kidnapped by Barry during this episode, a plot point designed to temporarily remove her from the show as Gillian Anderson was pregnant with Piper at the time.
4. SEASON 4, EPISODE 2 - "HOME"
Possibly the most controversial 44 minutes of the entire series, this episode received a lot of attention due to its unprecedented focus on incest and a murdered child in a small American town. Gruesome right from the get-go, it simultaneously captivates and terrifies viewers in a way no mythical monster ever could.
5. SEASON 1, EPISODE 8 - "ICE"
Feelings of isolation – check. A creepy parasite that makes you squirm – check. Mulder and Scully at their mystery-solving best – check! This early episode is a real triumph, and a well-orchestrated nod to sci-fi horror film The Thing. Following a mass murder-suicide among a team of scientists, Mulder and Scully head to Alaska and discover that a species of extra-terrestrial worms are possessing humans and animals, causing them to kill each other and themselves.
6. SEASON 5, EPISODE 19 - "FOLIE A DEUX"
It’s not uncommon to hear people complain about their bosses, but when they have the ability to transform into a monster that can turn you into a zombie, that takes things to a whole new level. When a terrified telemarketing employee reports such sightings, Mulder and Scully hit Chicago to get to the bottom of things. To up the fear factor in this episode Mulder can see the monster but Scully can’t. The beast also makes truly terrifying sounds, guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
7. SEASON 2, EPISODE 2 - "THE HOST"
Possibly the most disgusting creature to ever make an appearance on The X-Files, the “flukeman” is sure to put you off your lunch. Part human and part fluke, this alarming being resides in sewers, using them to stalk his victims before delivering a lethal bite that leaves a killer flukeworm in their systems.
8. SEASON 5, EPISODE 12 - "BAD BLOOD"
Though it shares absolutely no connection with the popular Taylor Swift song of the same name, this episode does have ties to another celebrity – Luke Wilson. Guest starring as a Texas sheriff, this flashback episode sees Mulder and Scully struggle to get their stories straight after encountering a possible vampire. Warning: this episode may turn you off pizza for life.
9. SEASON 6, EPISODE 2 - "DRIVE"
Before Bryan Cranston shot to fame on Breaking Bad, he had a one-episode spot on The X-Files. This role, which gave his career a huge boost, saw him as a man strangely afflicted by high-pressure head pain, which can cause the victim’s head to explode unless it’s eased by the one and only weird solution – driving west at a rapid speed.
10. SEASON 2, EPISODE 15 - "IRRESISTIBLE"
This episode proves that The X-Files doesn’t need paranormal activity to give its viewers a good scare. Donnie Pfaster is a serial killer who collects women’s hair and fingernails, eventually kidnapping Scully. Both haunting and horrifying this, episode is oddly similar to Gillian Anderson’s present-day role in British drama The Fall.
11. SEASON 6, EPISODE 14 - "MONDAY"
Feeling very much like Groundhog Day this episode follows a ‘rinse and repeat’ formula as Mulder continuously relives the same bank hostage situation, gaining an extra piece of the puzzle each time. While everyone is oblivious to the continuous loop of their lives, the gunman’s girlfriend, Pam, has an uncanny awareness and works to prevent the hold-up that’s seemingly destined to lead to Mulder’s death.
12. SEASON 7, EPISODE 13 - "FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
In an ode to every teenage boy’s dream, Mulder enters a video game, First Person Shooter, in an attempt to save his friends, colleagues and series regulars, The Lone Gunmen, who are trapped inside with targets on their backs. Scully continues gathering information in the physical world, eventually entering the game alongside Mulder to help save the day. In the episode’s eerie conclusion it’s revealed that an avatar of the killer survives and now resembles Scully.