'Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?'

Title: "Pilot"
Season: One (1993)
Duration: 46m
Written by: Chris Carter
Directed by: Robert Mandel
Rating: ****

It's fair to say that The X-Files hasn't aged amazingly well, or become that well regarded since it finished airing. The fact that it actually reached its natural lifespan during its run didn't help, going on for at least three years past its sell-by date. Until 2016, the last that had been heard of the series was a second movie in 2008 with Billy Connolly as a child molester - it bombed at the box office, struggling to make back its $30m production costs. And look back through these earlier episodes and its so very 90s - Mulder has shoulder pads bigger than the cast of Dynasty and he communicates with Scully on a mobile phone the size of a house brick.

Yet the pilot episode of The X-Files brings us back to a time when the series was actually good. The first season is the season for purists, a low-key series of investigations that are generally anchored in some form of realism. And although David Duchovny could never be accused of overplaying in his lead role, there's a playfulness about him here, and a nice line in sexual tension between his character and Scully's that doesn't feel overdone. Perhaps most importantly, the conspiracy theories introduced here and in the equally good second episode Deep Throat aren't tied up in labyrinthine knots as they would be after nine years on air. A great start to a fine first season.

Select A Track
1 Rocks Off: Never Again

2 Rip This Joint: Redrum

3 Shake Your Hips:
The Post-Modern Prometheus

4 Casino Boogie:
The Goldberg Variation

5 Tumbling Dice: Improbable

6 Sweet Virginia: Small Potatoes

7 Torn and Frayed: Home

8 Sweet Black Angel: One Breath

9 Loving Cup: E.B.E.

10 Happy:
Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man

11 Turd On The Run: Tooms

12 Ventilator Blues: Anasazi

13 I Just Want To See His Face:
Clyde Bruckman's Finale Repose

14 Let It Loose: Humbug

15 All Down The Line: X-Cops

16 Stop Breaking Down:
Jose Chung's From Outer Space

17 Shine A Light: The Pilot

18 Soul Survivor: Beyond The Sea

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