Vintage The X-Files T-shirt, The X-Files was an American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter. The series revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. The original television series aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002, on Fox. In addition to the television series, two feature films have been released: The 1998 film The X-Files which took place as part of the TV series continuity, and the stand-alone film The X-Files: I Want to Believe, released in 2008, six years after the original television run had ended.
At the start of their investigations, Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a medical doctor and a skeptic, is assigned to scientifically analyze Mulder's discoveries, offer alternate rational theories to his work, and thus return him to mainstream cases. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger conflict and come to trust only each other and a few select people. The agents also discover an agenda of the government to keep secret the existence of extraterrestrial life. They develop a close relationship which begins as a platonic friendship, but becomes a romance by the end of the series.
The X-Files was a hit for the Fox network, although its long-term story arc was criticized near the conclusion. Initially considered a cult series, it turned into a pop culture touchstone that tapped into public mistrust of governments and large institutions and embraced conspiracy theories and spirituality. Both the series itself and lead actors Duchovny and Anderson received multiple awards and nominations, and by its conclusion the show was the longest-running science fiction series in U.S. television history.