For many X-Files fans, a first taste of this strange, compelling show has led to addiction. Always scary, often creepy and sometimes just plain mysterious, The X-Files has grown since its 1993 debut from a cult favorite into a mainstream phenomenon. The series was Fox’s top-rated program the week of its Sept. 22 premiere, kicking off a third season with its largest audience yet (30 million). Like Star Trek, X-Files has spawned novels, comic books, T-shirts (emblazoned with the show’s motto, The Truth Is Out There), coffee mugs, conventions and Internet bulletin boards. (Online fans call themselves X-Philes.) Though the script isn’t finished, there’s an X-Files film planned. Good bets to attend the premiere: avid fans Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg.
While the show’s bizarre plots reflect Carter’s entertainingly paranoid vision–inspired, he has said, by the ’70s occult series Kolchak: The Night Stalker –much of The X-Files’ appeal, and edge, comes from the onscreen chemistry between the stars. Fox Mulder, played by Duchovny, is an FBI agent obsessed with Things Beyond the Pale ever since his kid sister was whisked away by aliens. His FBI superiors, concerned that he has gathered too many moonbeams in his jar, have teamed him with Dana Scully, a forensic physician and professional skeptic played by Anderson. They become allies, but never lovers. (About the names: Fox, as any X-Phile knows, was a boyhood friend of Carter’s; Mulder was the maiden name of Carter’s mother; and Scully comes from Dodgers announcer Vin Scully.)
Series creator Carter couldn’t be happier with his cast. Anderson, he says, “has an intensity that makes her perfect as Scully.” And Duchovny? “A clear, quick mind, an intelligence beyond book smarts,” says Carter. “And a tremendous amount of personal magnetism.”