The most watchable sci-fi shows of all time

A historical sci-fi drama, “The X-Files” went from quirky procedural to cultural touchstone, and made David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson true superstars. A twist on the buddy cop format, Duchovny played veteran FBI agent Fox Mulder, a conspiracy-obsessed believer in all things extraterrestrial and supernatural, while Anderson was Agent Dana Scully, the skeptical rookie at the fresh face joined him in the bowels of the agency. Together, the mismatched pair have been tasked with investigating the so-called X-Files: cases involving the possible paranormal or otherwise extraordinary. Featuring alien abductions, mutant experiments, werewolves, and vampires, the series was a crowd-pleasing mix of sci-fi, horror, and crime drama. Although the series had its darkest moments, it rarely took itself too seriously, which added to its considerable charm.

Ran for nine initial seasons between 1993 and 2002, it was revived for two more in 2016, and even had two theatrical movies, one of which was released between its fifth and sixth seasons. The series had a few ongoing subplots, but was mostly episodic in nature, with a new case and threat almost every week. A delight to watch again for more than engaging stories, it’s also fun to look back and see all the future stars who passed through its doors, including Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool” ), Lucy Liu (“Elementary”), and Michael Emerson (“Lost”).

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