Filling the X-Files void

As a teenager, I was introduced to, and loved watching, The X-Files. Sunday appointment viewing and when it jumped to the big screen, it was one of only two movies I made a point to see opening day.

Then David Duchovny quit and the Agent Mulder disappeared and Robert Patrick joined and became the new Agent Scully and the old Agent Scully turned into the new Agent Mulder and it sucked and then The X-Files went away for good.

Then I was introduced to Fringe. It hit the same sweet spot that The X-files had.

But now that Fringe is getting closer to death, I need a replacement.

So what’s it take for a show to hit that same geeky place in my heart? I think these are the elements:

  • Suspenseful science fiction
  • Set on present day planet Earth
  • Normal people investigating some grand unknown (black oil of The X-files or the other dimension of Fringe)
  • But not too much focus on “mythology” over “monster of the week” episodes
  • Focus on a few key relationships (Mulder and Scully. Peter and Olivia. Dr. Bishop and Peter.)
  • Great dialog with deadpan humor

A couple weeks ago I put the question to fellow Fringe and X-file lover Jordan Running on Twitter:


@swirlee Random question: As a lover of “The X-files” and “Fringe,” what other shows or movies hit the same sweet spot for you?
@bergus
Nick Bergus

He came up with a couple:


@bergus Perhaps Criminal Minds (and its short-lived contemporary The Inside) and The 4400 (though flawed). Fringe’s the first to come close.
@swirlee
Jordan Running

I also asked on Aardvark and got a few suggestions:

  • The Lost Room
  • Lost
  • Carnivale
  • Surface
  • Primeval
  • The Adventures of Sarah Jane
  • The Middleman

And here’s my thought: Torchwood. Let’s see if it hits my necessary elements:

  • Suspenseful science fiction ✔
  • Set on present day planet Earth ✔
  • Normal people investigating some grand unknown ✔ except Captain Jack Harkness
  • But not too much focus on “mythology” over “monster of the week” episodes ✔
  • Focus on a few key relationships ✔ only a few more characters
  • Great dialog with deadpan humor ✔

Am I missing some important elements? Are there other heirs to The X-Files throne?

UPDATE:

Another suggestion


2 thoughts on “Filling the X-Files void

  1. I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer has all these — though admittedly it’s also the series I’ve been searching for a replacement for, so I’m biased in recommending it here. The only thing for me that has come close to Buffy is Dollhouse.

    The “normal people” part is drifty, though… Buffy and Angel and Torchwood all deal in phlebotinum to some degree.

    Carnivale violates nearly all your rules, but it’s great fun. It’s not present-day (which isn’t a requirement for me — just that it’s a believable recent past or imaginable future); the people are carnies — they *are* the unknown, they’re not investigating it. And it’s very very heavy on the overall arc and ultimate confrontation between hero and Big Bad. But it’s not dominated by the mythology, maybe that’s what you mean.

    I’m not sure it’s quite the same sweet spot as X-Files, but what about Lost?

  2. I enjoyed Lost, and it’s another J.J. Abrams show, but I think as these series get closer to providing answers, the less I like them.

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