X-Files Quick Catch-Up: What Are the Most Important Episodes?

After over 12 years off the air, The X-Files is finally returning for a six-episode miniseries this weekend.

There are nine seasons and two movies to catch up on though, which is a pretty daunting amount of material to go through, even for the most dedicated fans. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how much of that is really essential for appreciating the larger story.

Unfortunately, I’m no expert on The X-Files, and it’s been nearly a decade since I last watched an episode. So we turned to fans on the show’s subreddit to see what we absolutely needed to watch before jumping back in. If you need a refresher, or you’re a new fan that needs some context, here are their recommendations for what to watch:

Ones with a * are not essential mythology episodes, but connect to the mythology. Ones with ** are the best episodes of the series, but not part of the mythology.

Season One

  • Pilot
  • Deep Throat
  • *Squeeze
  • *Conduit
  • *Fallen Angel
  • *Eve
  • **Beyond The Sea
  • E.B.E.
  • *Tooms
  • The Erlenmeyer Flask

Season Two

  • Little Green Men
  • The Host
  • Sleepless
  • Duane Berry
  • Ascension
  • One Breath
  • **Irresistible
  • **Die Hand Die Verletzt
  • Colony
  • End Game
  • **Humbug
  • Anasazi

Season Three

  • The Blessing Way
  • Paper Clip
  • **D.P.O.
  • **Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
  • Nisei
  • 731
  • **War of the Coprophages
  • **Syzygy
  • Piper Maru
  • Apocrypha
  • **Pusher
  • **Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
  • Talitha Cumi

Season Four

  • Herrenvolk
  • Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
  • Tunguska
  • Terma
  • **Never Again
  • *Leonard Betts
  • Momento Mori
  • *Tempus Fugit
  • *Max
  • Zero Sum
  • Gethsemane

Season Five

  • Redux
  • Redux II
  • *Unusual Suspects
  • **Post-Modern Prometheus
  • Christmas Carol
  • Emily
  • **Chinga (Stephen King’s episode)
  • **Bad Blood
  • Patient X
  • The Red and the Black
  • *Travelers (The origins of The X-Files)
  • The End


The first X-Files movie takes place between seasons 5 and 6. It is considered essential viewing.


Season Six

  • The Beginning
  • **Triangle
  • **Dreamland
  • **Dreamland II
  • S.R. 819
  • Two Fathers
  • One Son
  • **Arcadia
  • **Milagro (Not a favorite but a lot of people love it)
  • **The Unnatural
  • *Three of a Kind
  • Biogenesis

Season Seven

  • The Sixth Extinction
  • Amor Fati
  • **Orison
  • Sein und Zeit
  • Closure
  • **X-Cops
  • *En Ami
  • Requiem

Season Eight

  • Within
  • Without
  • Per Manum
  • This is Not Happening
  • Dead Alive
  • Three Words
  • Vienen
  • Essence
  • Existence

Season Nine

  • Nothing Important Happened Today
  • Nothing Important Happened Today II
  • Trust No 1
  • Provenance
  • Providence
  • *Jump The Shark
  • William
  • Release
  • The Truth
  • The Truth II


The second movie, I Want To Believe, takes place after the series finale, and before this upcoming miniseries.

The X-Files will return on January 24, 2016 on Fox.

One Comment

  1. Needs “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” for Season 6 It’s a MOTW episode that, while not part of the mythology, is highly entertaining and furthers the relationship between Mulder and Scully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button