There is an unmistakable chemistry between the two lead characters—even romantic, as many the many “shippers” in the fandom insisted; something series creator Chris Carter resisted for years. There would never be anything romantic between them. Full stop. But, as Carter learned, characters often take on lives of their own, and eventually the chemistry became full-blown “unresolved sexual tension,” better known in the X-Files fandom as “UST.” And of course there were the “no-romos” as well among the fandom, just as insistent that Mulder and Scully’s relationship was and always should be strictly Platonic—if that.
In many ways, Mulder’s journey follows a classic hero’s tale—the quest to understand not only what happened to Samantha, but also to be proven right about the existence of the extraterrestrial-human conspiracy. The series tries to walk a fine line between two genres, one, establishing a series “mytharc,” which follows Mulder’s ongoing investigation into the conspiracy. But the series also showcases “stand-alone” episodes between the mytharc entries as Mulder and Scully (affectionately known in the fan community as “Moose and Squirrel”) hunted ghosts, demons, banshees, and monsters—supernatural and all-too-human.
Along the way, both Mulder and Scully experience enough of the world’s (and other-worldly) weirdness to satisfy the most ardent paranormalist. But Mulder’s quest comes at a high cost. Family members are assassinated; Mulder nearly commits suicide midway through the series run; Scully is abducted and contracts cancer as a result.
The shadowy conspiracy is often represented The Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM), creepily played by William B. Davis. But, like most of Mulder’s antagonists along the way, he (and we) were never quite sure whether he is friend or foe. Other antagonists appear and disappear along the way, from the ruthless Alex Krychek to The Well-Mannered Man. And let’s not forget the alien bounty hunter.
The pair are aided on this very twisty maze of a journey by everyone from their boss, FBI Director Skinner and a trio of proto-geek/conspiracy nerds, The Lone Gunmen. Many of their allies start out as possible enemies, and supposed friends are not, adding to the intensity of the story.