If the names Mulder and Scully mean nothing to you, then your whole life has been a lie . . . But don’t worry, "the truth is out there," and The X-Files are still open for anyone who wants to believe.
In 1993, Fox was a fledgling network and actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson got their start playing FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating paranormal activity for The X-Files every week. In a post Cold War, pre-NSA world, fans of this television show imagined that the United States government was more concerned with home-planet security than homeland security.
One such fan was a young boy in Karachi, Pakistan, who “started to see the world as a much bigger and weirder place,” thanks to Mulder and Scully. He would later move to the United States and share his unique perspectives on media as a comedian.
Today, Kumail Nanjiani is known for his role on HBO’s Silicon Valley and for producing the video game podcast, The Indoor Kids, with his wife, Emily V. Gordon. But he returns to the roots of his geekdom as the host of Kumail Nanjiani's The X-Files Files, a podcast that examines The X-Files episode by episode.
These MP3s serve as a bridge between original X-Files fans who caught the first broadcast and new fans discovering the show through Netflix streaming. Nanjiani has released over 20 episodes of the podcast since June of this year, covering the first and second seasons of The X-Files. Some Millennials, however, have already complained that Nanjiani has not produced enough commentary to keep up with their binge-watching habits.
Waiting for Nanjiani to release a new podcast is just a small taste of the anticipation original fans felt as they waited for reruns, printed series guides or limited release VHS tapes of The X-Files. And if Millennials can’t handle this protracted time frame, perhaps they should reflect on the fact that the competent Agents Mulder and Scully are in their twenties in the first season, and reevaluate their life choices -- I did.
While it may be hard for younger listeners to imagine a time before Internet streaming and widescreen televisions, when 20-year-olds could realistically get high-security-clearance jobs and afford full-sized apartments -- Nanjiani has done his own investigative work to put these generational divides in focus. By excavating posts from old Internet message boards and other primary source materials, and interviewing X-Files fans and contributors, Nanjiani transports listeners back to the early '90s, when government agents in their twenties could take on the government one X-File at a time . . . Clearly I’m not over it.
With 203 episodes, an X-Files marathon is no easy undertaking, however unlike modern televisions shows, you do not have to watch every episode to understand what’s going on. In fact, Nanjiani refuses to watch certain episodes again and actively discourages newcomers from getting off on the wrong foot. Sadly, true X-Files fans have learned to shield themselves from the inevitable disappointment that is the series’ conclusion.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to revive X-Files fans who have lain dormant for twenty years, or to spawn new ones, as the e-mails featured in episode six prove. Even Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny seem happy to revisit and discuss their old roles. Nanjiani’s ultimate goal is to have these two on the podcast and a recent Twitter exchange involving Anderson shows that he may be closer than ever.
In some episodes of The X-Files Files, Nanjiani jokingly refers to Mulder and Scully by their first names. Maybe if you watched The X-Files four times through and produced a podcast about your fifth viewing, you too could be on a first-name basis with Fox and Dana -- if not David and Gillian.
If you do not plan to embark on a long-term X-Files marathon but want to get a taste of The X-Files Files, start with episode ten in which Nanjiani interviews Mark Snow, the composer of the iconic X-Files theme song.