The X-Files: Pilot

Zuzu's Petals

Pilot: Season 1 Episode 1
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Robert Mandel
First aired September 10, 1993

 

Most pilots are a homogenized swirl of introductions, clunky expositions, and a vague please-please-like-me desperation. This pilot is so successful by contrast because it serves as showrunner Chris Carter’s thesis statement. Despite occasional elements that don’t quite jive with the rest of the series, there is an extraordinary amount of X-Files ethos already in place. There are even a few details which are near and dear to my heart already there, such as Scully’s cross and Mulder’s sunflower seeds.

What I love about these early episodes is that they’re so much more about evoking a sense of the uncanny than about the aliens themselves. As far as aliens go, you’ve got some people with what looks like melanoma disappearing in swirl of leaves for no apparent reason and then later turning…

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