26. THE X-FILES 

Created by Chris Carter  

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Aired: FOX, 1993-2002

Fox’s signature drama for most of the ’90s, The X-Files, created by Chris Carter, was one of primetime television’s all-time great hit science-fiction series, although to call it sci-fi is requires qualifying that it delved into the paranormal and the conspiratorial. Those tones were leavened by the relationship between FBI partners Scully and Mulder, he the dreamer and she the left-brain skeptic; their dynamic gave the show a human, big-tent appeal. “As early as the third or fourth season,” recalled Frank Spotnitz, the show’s exec producer and Carter’s frequent collaborator, to the WGAW Web site, “we started to realize that there were some audiences that knew every detail of the ongoing alien mythology storyline and were waiting for very specific questions to be answered and then there was a much larger audience that was vaguely aware of it and would be lost if you tried to answer these very specific questions. That was a balancing act we were engaged in for most of the life of the series.”

Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz on their creative process and the longevity of The X-Files 

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