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The 90s and early 00s were a magical time for the sci-fi genre. While the genre itself had already been popular for years by then, the 90s saw the release of several TV shows that contributed a lot to the shift in how people perceive sci-fi now. 

These days, with everyone and their dog completely in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would mock you for being an unapologetic, sci-fi loving nerd. And if you do find them, please pass on a message and tell them that they suck.

X-Files TV Show Flashback
Tell it right to their green, scaly faces…

One might argue that it was in the 90s that sci-fi truly became mainstream, but it’s hard to really say. Truth is, with titles such as Star Trek in the late 60s and then Star Wars in the 70s, we have been acquainted with science-fiction for many years. (Or our parents have been. Or grandparents. Or grand-grandparents if you were born ten minutes ago.)  

Regardless of how mainstream the genre used to be compared to what it is now, the 90s saw people who weren’t normally into it suddenly change their mind when they watched an episode of The X-Files. 

Started in 1993, The X-Files are almost a genre of their own by this point – or at least the iconic theme song deserves to be.The X-Files are almost a genre of their own by this point – or at least the iconic theme song deserves to be.

Dana Scully: “For the last time the theme song is notGirls Just Want To Have Fun!”

If you’re a fan, you probably don’t miss this show as much as some of the other gems we’ve featured in a flashback article. The X-Files was still around pretty recently: it received two extra seasons after the original series concluded in 2002, and there’s also a standalone film released in 2008. But as much as those were successful continuations, you know you miss the feeling of watching The X-Files on one of those big, fat, grainy televisions, never knowing what to expect.

In case you’ve lived your whole life under a rock, here’s a quick recap. The show follows a pair of FBI special agents, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they investigate X-Files: hopeless cases that involve supernatural phenomena. Mulder believed in nearly everything being paranormal, but Scully wasn’t easily convinced – a fun twist on the usual “rational man/irrational woman” trope found in similar shows.

The series often had a monster of the week format, but there was a long story arc as well – one that not everyone agreed with by the end of the show. Whether you liked the ending or not, you can’t deny that watching Mulder and Scully solve cases against all odds was the 90s equivalent of binging shows on Netflix – addictive.

And all that God damn sexual tension… ugh.

The X-Files inspired loads of other shows, some of which are now classics too – such as Supernatural or Gravity Falls. The accessible format, interesting mysteries, amazing chemistry between the two main characters, and the underlying distrust of the government were great back in the day, and they still hold up. After all, who trusts the government these days? 

TL;DR: No, you don’t need to sleep tonight. Or this week. Go rewatch this gem instead.

Monica White