20th anniversaries only come around once and I’m making a big fuss for one of my favorite shows, The X-Files–IMHO, one of the best TV shows ever.
So in the spirit of tradition, here are some of my votes for best and worst of The X-Files. Previously, I did best and worst episodes. Now let’s get down to the really important stuff.
Best Gruesome Deaths
15. Drowned in liquid nitrogen. Roland
14. Stung to death by virus-carrying bees. Zero Sum
13. Eaten by a giant python. Die Hand Die Verletzt
12. Stabbed in the stomach with an oil can spout. Blood
11. Cocooned alive by thousands of glowing insects. Darkness Falls
10. Dying from the effects of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease after consuming a man with the disease. Our Town
9. Sucked dry by a spider/alien thingie that crawled out of a fake-human’s mouth. Travelers
8. Being beaten to death by the inbred Peacock brothers, who were just gross. Home
7. Ex-sanguinated by 8-year-old daughter. Eve
6. Brain-sucked by giant invisible insect. Folie a Deux
5. Live, carnivorous liver extraction by Eugene Victor Tooms. Squeeze, Tooms
4. Lipids Hoover’ed from body by fat-sucking vampire. 2Shy
3. Consumed alive by creature who regurgitated remains in order to rid victim of illness. (Technically, they were resurrected, but … ew.) The Gift
2. Eaten from within by giant fluke. The Host
And, in my humble opinion, the most disgusting death ever on The X-Files comes from the grossest episode ever:
1. Contracting a fatal illness after being infected by bugs that exploded from undulating pustules in a guy’s face. F. Emasculata
On a related note:
Greatest Chalk Outline Ev.er
The remains of the scientist whose head was frozen in liquid nitrogen and then shattered. Roland
Best Guest Actors
- Peter Boyle as Clyde Bruckman, the psychic insurance salesman. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
- Giovanni Ribisi, the first time most of us saw him, as homicidal lightning-strike survivor Darin Peter Oswald. DPO
- Tracey Ellis as damaged abuse survivor Lucy Householder. Oubliette
- Charles Nelson Reilly, being Charles Nelson Reilly and awesome. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
- Joe Spano as a conscientious crash investigator whose world gets spun. Tempus Fugit/Max
- Kristin Lehman as uber-gothchick Esther Nairn. Killswitch
- Hard-boiled blind girl Marty Glenn, as embodied by the frequent girlcrush goddess Lili Taylor. Mind’s Eye
- Crusty old dude Geoffrey Lewis playing crusty really-old-dude Alfred Fellig, the photographer with a nose for death. Tithonus
- Carrie Hamilton (Carol Burnett’s daughter who died of cancer three years after this episode) gives a quivering mess of a performance as a haunted woman trapped in a deadly time-loop. Monday
- Jesse L. Martin is simply transcendant in his portrayal of a misfit alien who just wants to live to love baseball. The Unnatural
- CCH Pounder came to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she was all out of bubblegum, as Agent Kazdin, totally in charge of Duane Barry’s hostage negotiation team. Duane Barry/Ascension
Scully: “… you’re like Ahab. You’re so… consumed by your personal vengeance against life, whether it be its inherent cruelties or its mysteries, that everything takes on a warped significance to your megalomaniacal cosmology.”
Mulder: “Scully, are you coming onto me?”
Only The X-Files could get away with this level of nerdy, wordy flirting, all while our heroes are searching for the equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. I even laughed when Scully’s dog Queegqueg was eaten, and I love dogs.
Pitch-perfect parody of Cops, only with more werewolves.
10. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
“Paramasturbatory?” With more gore and chills than most serial killer movies, this Christmas carol from the creators of The X-Files has a twinkle in its bloodied eye, mostly thanks to Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner as the playfully homicidal ghosts.
Mulder and Scully’s foray into suburban married life, complete with Dick Van Dyke show references and deals with arcane killer gods. Good times.
Let’s face it, Darin Morgan was funny. All four of his scripts appear in this list and he helped on some of the others. This one is non-stop fun. One of many favorite lines:
Lanny, the man with the partial twin sticking from his side: “Mr. Nut, the kind-hearted manager here, convinced me that to make a living by publicly displaying my deformity lacked dignity. So… now I carry other people’s luggage.”
7. Post-Modern Prometheus
Not as funny a Frankenstein parody as Young Frankenstein, but then again, what is? The townspeople who look suspectly like animals in the genetic-freakazoid town are great, as is J. Peterman himself (John O’Hurley) as the mad scientist. “Because I can!”
6. Dreamland I and II
Self-indulgent, yes, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hoot as Mulder plays domestic while Scully has to put up with a butt-slapping, smoking, ass-kissing Mulder.
5. Bad Blood
The vampire episode played for laughs. Well-played.
4. Unusual Suspects
The origin story of the best comic sidekicks on the show would have to be funny as The Lone Gunmen discover Mulder and the conspiracy. Frohike to Langley, in jail: “You know, with that long, blond hair, you’ll be the first one in here that gets traded for cigarettes.”
3. Small Potatoes
Writer Darin Morgan is funny as an actor, too, as he plays the loser who transforms himself into Mulder to get some play with Scully. (This one was written by also-funny writer Vince Gilligan.)
Scully: “I don’t imagine you need to be told this, Mulder, but you’re not a loser.”
Mulder: “Yeah, but I’m not Eddie van Blundht either, am I?”
2. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
Darin Morgan’s genius was such that one of the best, most poignant and most popular episodes was also one of the funniest. Guest star Peter Boyle out-deadpanned even Mulder.
Bruckman (looking at Mulder’s badge): “I’m supposed to believe that’s a real name?”
1. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
Darin Morgan, are you surprised? Nobody parodied The X-Files, the seriousness, the muddled alien/government/military connections, better than the show itself.
Jose Chung: “I don’t know which was more disturbing, his description of the inner core reincarnated souls’ sex orgy, or the fact that the whole thing was written in screenplay format.”
(An abductee, explaining how Mulder and Scully were really Men In Black): “One of them was disguised as a woman, but wasn’t pulling it off. Like, her hair was red, but it was a little too red, y’know?”
Scully: “That was Detective Manners. He said they just found your bleeping UFO.”
Okay, that’s enough for now. Whew. I Loved this show.