I (Still) Want to Believe: The X-Files, 21 Years Later
It's A Conspiracy
The overarching mythos of The X-Files seems almost quaint to jaded, 21st century observers. Sinister government cabals working in concert with alien nemeses; alien bounty hunters; parasitic oil(?). The shit started getting out of hand circa Season 5, and never reached what could be described as a satisfactory conclusion, in spite of two uneven movies. I attribute my disillusionment to the fact Carter seemed like he was throwing anything he could at the Plot Development Wall to a) see what stuck, and b) make sure his show got renewed.
It's also a big reason why the show couldn't survive in a post-9/11 world: the truth that was really out there was more depressing and sinister than anything Carter and company could come up with.
The Samantha Mulder Cop-Out
The disappearance of his little sister was the catalyst that set Fox Mulder on the path to his eventual career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And yet, so many red herrings were thrown out in the early seasons (see above) it was nigh impossible to generate much enthusiasm for the half-assed "What Ifs" resolution. In other words, I wasn't a fan.
A New Millennium
When the show aired on Friday nights, we used to be all, "Woo hoo! The X-Files is on! Weekend's just getting started!" Then, for Season 4, they moved the show to Sundays and we were like, "Oh man, X-Files is on. Guess the weekend's over" (this was before Sunday night became the hip night for TV drama).
And its replacement in the Friday time slot -- Millennium -- was such an unrelenting downer it really didn't generate the same enthusiasm. Used to be you'd watch The X-Files, then head to the bar to discuss it with your friends. After watching Frank Black mope his way through another series of ritual murders, you just wanted to stay home and suck on an exhaust pipe.