X-Files is an American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter, and it is one of the best television shows of the last thirty years. The 1990s had a lot of great, innovative shows but one stood out from the rest, and the success it got even after it got revived again, only shows how much this show means to everyone.
The TV series follows FBI special agents Fox Mulder, and Dana Scully who investigate X-Files – unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder and Scully became a staple of how good and dynamic partnerships are supposed to be in TV crime shows and were inducted into the popular culture’s one of the most iconic fictional duos of all time. The show had eleven seasons and two featured movies, and one spin-off series.
In this article, we will include them all, from movies to tv series and spin-offs, how they overlap and what is the timeline of these seasons and movies. If you are interested in the watch order of one of the best tv shows of all time, stay with us until the end of the article! We will not spoil anything, only provide you with basic synopsis and a few little details of the show seasons and movies.
How Many X-Files Movies and Shows Are Out There?
X-Files has quite an interesting history – the original tv series that was aired on Fox Channel from 1993 to 2002, had nine seasons, and one featured movie between the fifth and sixth seasons. After development hell, and struggles to finally finish the show, the movie called The X-Files: I Want to Believe from 2008, was released which was not received very well, and finally in 2016, a revival of the show occurred.
The short season ten had only six episodes but had largely positive reviews which prompted Chris Carter and Fox to create another season. Finally, season eleven aired in 2018, and once again, gained positive reviews from the critics.
It was a rollercoaster, but even decades later, X-Files proved how relevant the show still is.
X-Files Series and Movies in Order (At Glance)
As we already mentioned, X-Files became part of the popular culture and prompted many of its descendants to take over the show’s niche. Some succeeded some didn’t, and even the show’s creators managed to fail in some X-Files projects. However, what makes X-Files so good is the way the timeline and lore of the show were interpreted and presented to the audiences.
This is our list of X-Files series and movies in order:
- X-Files Seasons 1-5 (1993-1998)
- X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)
- X-Files Season 6 (1998–99)
- X-Files Season 7 (1999-2000) – Millenium Crossover episode
- X-Files Season 8 (2000-2001)
- The Lone Gunman (2001)
- X-Files Season 9 (2001-2002)
- X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)
- X-Files Seasons 10-11 (2016-2018)
As you can see this is the chronological order of the X-Files series and movies. If anything the specific episode is overlapping with a show or movie, we will definitely mention it.
What Is the Best Way To Watch X-Files Series?
For better understanding and immersion, we recommend trying the chronological order of the watch order. X-Files “shipped out” many projects and content that are connected to the main lore, and sometimes a viewer needs to have more information to understand the plot and premise of the show. In comparison to the shows, which mainly had tv show spin-offs, X-Files projects are 99 percent connected to the main lore.
This is why you should definitely consider watching the X-Files series in chronological order.
X-Files Series and Movies in Order (Fully Explained)
1. X-Files Seasons 1-5 (1993-1998)
Season one of the show starts with Dana Scully being paired up with Fox Mulder, and together, even though they differ in their approach to the cases – Scully is pragmatic and relies on solid evidence while Mulder believes that the paranormal can explain most of the cases.
The pair discover a lot of shady works of the government that involves alien life and shocking revelations occur at the end of the season.
Season two sees the pair realizing that X-Files is necessary for uncovering more extraterrestrial activity and dangers to the population. The pair deal with the first true antagonist of the show, and boy are they good. Mulder races with time to unfold the truth to millions of people.
Season three starts directly after the previous season, and expands on the X-Files Mythology, which stems all the way back to WWII. While Mulder and Scully are trying to solve cases, they also uncover so many things that have been hidden for decades.
Season four sees Scully go through hell, Mulder uncovers more conspiracies, and the mythology arc gets even more extended. The development of the first X-Files movies started at this point in time.
Season five was a bit shorter because of the movie but still brought shocking reveals and actions. Scully once again is in danger and Mulder tries his best to help his colleague.
2. X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)
The first feature movie on this list and the X-Files franchise was released in 1998 between season five and season six of the original TV series. Once more, the plot follows Mulder and Scully, who after being removed from the X-Files is trying to investigate the bombing of a building and a government conspiracy to hide the truth behind alien colonization of the Earth.
The plot thickens the dynamic duo is closer and closer to uncovering the truth about alien life on the planet Earth. The movie got mixed reviews from the critics but commercially was very successful. According to showrunner, Chris Carter, he wanted to do something different with the X-Files and attract non-fans of the series to come and watch the movie. At least, he succeeded in that.
3. X-Files Season 6 (1998–99)
After the movie, season six of X-Files was highly expected and fans could not wait for the new season to be released. The season starts with the direct continuation of the movie and sees Mulder reporting what he saw in Antarctica. Both Mulder and Scully are denied of coming back to the X-Files division, and the pair once again stumble upon an old foe.
Mulder discovers an ancient relic and suffers consequences while Scully is trying to figure out what is going on. The plot literally thickens for the X-Files show and its fans.
There is not that much to say but that the ratings of the show slowly started to decrease, which was the first time that happened. Maybe because the tone of the show got slightly different – the crew moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles to film the show and some critics and fans felt alienated. Regardless, season six was a success and hinted at exciting happenings in the future.
4. X-Files Season 7 (1999-2000) – Millenium Crossover Episode
Now, at first, it would seem that the Millenium was the spin-off of the original X-Files show, but that was not the case at all. Chris Carter decided to create and develop another television series, but this time the series followed the investigations of ex-FBI agent Frank Black, now a consultant, with the ability to see inside the minds of the criminals, working for a mysterious organization known as the Millenium Group.
Now, even though the X-Files were credited as a sci-fi slash horror slash thriller tv show, the Millenium was much harsher in those aspects. The show was consequently canceled, and Carter needed to find a way how to properly close out the show.
He decided that the crossover with the X-Files was imminent which confirmed these two show being in the same universe. The crossover episode follows Mulder and Scully discovering the mysterious group Millenium who are resurrecting the dead to prepare for the apocalypse that will happen, according to their belief, in 2000. This is where Black comes in, and helps Mulder and Scully to resolve this case.
The episode had mixed reviews but was praised for its performance.
5. The Lone Gunman (2001)
Before the ninth season, a spin-off of the original X-Files show was developed and released, this time following around the titular characters and popular trio: Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers, and Richard Langly, who are now the private investigators who run the conspiracy theory magazine. They are also notable for helping Mulder a lot in X-Files.
The show was canceled after only thirteen seasons, even though it had positive reviews.
6. X-Files Season 8 (2000-2001)
The two last seasons of the notable X-Files series are slowly but surely coming to the end. The eighth season sees the new characters of Doggett and Reyes coming into the show, and Mulder and Scully slowly but surely start to have less and less cameo time. Scully is pregnant and the team needs to find out if the child has something to do with the mysterious aliens impregnating women.
Alex Krycek wants the baby dead, Skinner opposes to that and Mulder is doing his best to uncover this conspiracy off-screen.
7. X-Files Season 9 (2001-2002)
Season nine of the show puts Doggett and Reyes as the main characters and investigators, while Scully is dealing with everything that happened in the season eight finale. Mulder is gone for most of the season and when the team finds out where Mulder is and what is going on, decide to help him.
In the end, Mulder and Scully find themselves in New Mexico where they recall the early situations of their partnership. Season nine ended, and Chris Carter hoped for the new season on Fox. However, the a bad response from the fans, who wanted more of Mulder besides only the last two episodes of the season. Critical reviews were not better as well, and Fox decided to cancel one of the most iconic series of all time.
8. X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)
It’s 2007, and Chris Carter finally got green-lit to create an X-Files movie that follows the conclusion of the ninth season of the TV series. The movie premiered in 2008, and its story once again followed Mulder and Scully, who are no longer part of the FBI. Mulder is living in the isolation, and Scully is a doctor in the Catholic school where she bonds with a critically sick child. The events include the mysterious kidnapping of the FBI agent and the Catholic priest accused of pedophilia who claims to be experiencing visions of the missing agent, prompting Mulder to come back to the FBI for the last case.
Scully tries her best to stay out of it but ultimately fails. The movie received negative reviews – on the other hand praised Anderson and Duchovny’s chemistry after so many years.
The film is not connected to the Mythical Alien arc but was a standalone thriller story like the show had during its run – the monster-of-the-week episode type.
9. X-Files Seasons 10-11 (2016-2018)
Probably the best X-Files released since the seventh season of the tv series, the revival of the original show proved to be successful. Fourteen years after the original show ended, Scully and Mulder are back with the FBI, and once again working with X-Files. Scully once again reaches for Mulder to investigate the activity of a conspiracy theorist who claims he has an alien abductee.
The duo struggle with hiding their son William from the world in order to protect him, and vow that nothing will happen to him. The revival was well received until it came to the Mythical Alien arc episodes – both fans and critics slammed the show for inconsistencies, but overall thought that the show revival was a success.
Season eleven follows directly after the end of the tenth season. Mulder and Scully are trying to find their son William. Standalone episodes in this ten-episode season were received positively but the Mythical Alien arc episodes were not that much. Regardless, the show revival was a success, and the story was concluded. Or was it?
Where To Watch X-Files Series and Movies?
Since the Fox studios were famously acquired by Disney a few years ago, every Fox project is available on Disney +, outside and inside Europe. This means that all movies, tv shows, and spin-offs are available currently on Disney+.
Do You Need To Watch X-Files Series and Movies in Order?
After discussing with other people if the chronological order of the X-Files is a must, most of the fans confirmed that yes, if a new viewer is indulging in the ocean of X-Files content, need to have an order to watch the whole series, including the movies and spin-off. So yes, definitely watch X-Files in chronological order.
Are X-Files Movies, Spin-offs, and TV Shows Connected?
What is great about this franchise is that even if some projects were a failure, they are still part of the X-Files story and mythos, which can definitely attract more new fans to the show today. All of the X-Files projects are connected to its main story.
Will There Be More X-Files Series and Movies?
Now, when Carter was asked this question after the tenth season, he believed that the X-Files will continue if Fox Channel let them. After the 11th season which was more successful than the previous one, Chris Carter said that he believes that the X-Files franchise can continue even without Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, hence why he tried to implement new characters in seasons eight and nine of the original series.
However, we do not know for sure, and there was no news regarding the franchise’s future. We did get an open ending at the end of the 11th season, and that fact, with the creator’s enthusiasm and motivation, can spring the continuation of this notable tv series.