It may have been 14 years since The X-Files originally went off the air, but for TV fans, the show has never truly gone away.
Through the years, The X-Files influence has been felt on many popular shows like The CW’s Supernatural and ABC’s Castle (the two shows have even shared key behind-the-scenes people with the Fox drama); CBS’ Person of Interest; and even a few Fox shows (the network which X-Files originated), like Sleepy Hollow and Fringe (which counted X-Files’ Darin Morgan as a consulting producer in its freshman year). Even Bones, another Fox show, has done its own tribute to the series and has an upcoming serial arc partially inspired by one of X-Files’ best-known episodes; plus, the personality traits of the two leads and the relationship between them parallel Mulder and Scully.
“We did a lot of things, and the thing I’m proudest of with the show is that we did a lot of episodes well,” creator Chris Carter says. “The show wasn’t just one thing. It could change radically in tone, and then come right back to the original concept. It could tell a thriller, it could tell a horror story, it could tell a monster story, it could continue the saga, it was a romance of sorts and then a romance that grew and blossomed into something else.”
Carter even acknowledges that he's heard from scribes who were inspired by the show. “Sometimes writers—and even people who are not writers—come up and say, I’m doing what I’m doing because of The X-Files,” he says. “But I could say that about Apocalypse Now for me. Or Indiana Jones. That’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing.”
The revival has proven to be a big hit for Fox, and Carter got a taste of fans’ excitement in the weeks leading up to the premiere when he participated in a live podcast, hosted by X-Files guest star Kumail Nanjiani, where fans asked the showrunner some questions. Plus, Fox unveiled a UFO crash site in a Los Angeles mall, where Carter also mingled with fans. “I’m constantly amazed. This relationship with the fans has always been very close," he says of the fan devotion. “I see the same faces over the years. I hug some of these people, because they’re such superfans. It’s a special thing. They’re the reason that we’re back. We want as big an audience as possible, but we wrote with the hardcore fans in mind.”
Still, despite The X-Files leaving its mark on various shows and Season 10 putting the franchise back into the pop culture conversation, Carter downplays the show's impact. “Everything builds on what comes before it,” he notes. “We built on what came before us, and all the good things that inspired us. And so, we’re apt to inspire what comes after us.” Which means setting up a new generation that still believes the truth is out there.