Just as with Star Trek, the X Files films fit into the TV chronology.
Just as with Star Trek, it's the movies, rather than the TV episodes, that I find myself rewatching again and again.
Well, this is the third time that I've viewed this one anyway.
Upon its original release, on 29th August 1998 I took a deep breath and went to see it at the cinema with Brian. I say 'took a deep breath' because the BBC were determined to remain a silly amount of seasons behind in their airing of the TV series, and I knew that this movie would likely give away future developments that I would not get to see on the telly for maybe another year or so.
In the event I felt the filmmakers got away with it though. Despite the overwhelming amount of characters and concepts from the TV show, this is nonetheless an original self-contained episode of it. But that didn't stop it from giving away that all of the characters featured would survive all threats made on their lives in the series until I had watched up to this point. Even if they got killed, they would come back to life again. Much less excitement there.
A couple of years later I duly watched this film a second time on VHS when my family, including Dad, got up to this point in the broader TV story. The result for me was that it fitted into the ongoing saga fine, but was now no big deal.
For the rest of the show's nine-year run, I wondered whether there would ever be another big screen outing for this universe. There wasn't, well, not until the show had been long since discontinued anyway. In the event, the long-awaited second film turned out to really be much more of an epilogue.
Years later, in the early hours of this morning, I put this first film on yet again to watch a third time. Culturally, a decade hasn't really changed it, although again my own personal perception has shifted. Now it's the perfect representative example of the world of The X Files. The conspiracy, the characters, the FBI, the aliens, the Lone Gunmen…
If you want to watch only one episode of the TV series The X Files to get an idea of what it was all about, then make sure you make it this one.
1. The X Files (TV series)
2. The X Files (1998 film)
3. The Lone Gunmen (TV series)
4. The X Files: I Want To Believe (2008 film)