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"Pilot," "Deep Throat," "Fallen Angel," "E.B.E.," "The Erlenmeyer Flask," "Little Green Men," "Duane Barry," "Ascension," "One Breath," "Red Museum," "Colony," "End Game," "Anasazi," "The Blessing Way," "Paper Clip"
by Walter Chaw I used to, like every other dork I know, love "The X Files"--used to look forward to its mythology episodes as though series creator Chris Carter actually had something up his sleeve in terms of a long-term plan for his show, never suspecting until the middle seasons that the emperor was nude. (Desperate, too.) See, "The X Files" is guilty of giving the public what it wanted, forgetting that the public never really knows what it wants (would it have asked for a show about two platonic FBI agents investigating UFOs in the first place?) and that once it gets what it thinks it wants, it tends to stop waiting around for it. "The X Files"' slogan "The Truth is Out There" became something of an early-Nineties pop-cultural mantra akin to "Keep On Truckin'" of the mid-'60s to mid-'70s and "Shit Happens" of Reagan-era id suppression (the biggest surprise of "The X Files" may be how creaky and antiquated it is a mere twelve years out of the can)--and like other shorthands for real thinking, it has a bumper-sticker hookiness to it but not a lot of meat upon closer examination. That kind of lack of substance dooms it to cultural specificity, with camp immortality and flea-market coffee mugs its only eternal footmen. In retrospect, "The X Files" couldn't have had a better tagline.