WITH CONSPIRACIES, monsters, weirdos, and sexual tension all wrapped into one long storyline, it's hard to put The X-Files in a box. Here's our attempt at narrowing down a decade of the bizarre to the binge-able best.
"Pilot" (season one, episode one)—Witness the glorious meeting of a badass female FBI agent-slash-scientist and some guy in a basement who may have a porn addiction. (Seriously though, what's with Mulder's porn addiction?)
"Squeeze" (season one, episode three)— The first of the show's glorious monster-of-the-week episodes, "Squeeze" introduces a recurring killer who never ages, creeps through narrow passages, and lives in a nest made of bile. Fun!
"Jersey Devil" (season one, episode five)—This is The X-Files at peak camp. Come for the laughably horrible eyewitness drawing; stay for a peek at New Jersey's sad version of Bigfoot.
"The Host" (season two, episode two)—A soup of radioactive leftovers from Chernobyl creates the Flukeman—half-man, half-parasite who's unsurprisingly disgusting and kind of an asshole.
"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (season three, episode four)—An old man who can see the future helps crack a case. "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" ends on a surprisingly emotional note—reminding viewers that Scully has feelings, and that the dad from Everybody Loves Raymond is actually a pretty good actor.
"Pusher" (season three, episode 17)—A man who can make people do whatever he wants pushes Mulder to the edge. Classic party-pooper Scully decides the guy just has a brain tumor.
"Jose Chung's From Outer Space" (season three, episode 20)—A slew of characters retell an alien abduction story to a science-fiction author, each putting their own twist on the tale. This episode features an alien smoking a cigarette and a charming mega-nerd. Oh, and Alex Trebek accidentally walks onto the set.
"Home" (season four, episode two)—Hillbilly stereotypes meet gruesome family values. The episode is so frighteningly icky that Fox refused to ever re-air it. If you're not grimacing the entire time, you're a monster.
"Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" (season four, episode seven)—Series bad guy the Smoking Man gets a moody backstory. Turns out he's responsible for just about every terrible thing in American history—and he's an awful writer to boot. Also includes an emo reenactment of a scene from Forrest Gump.
"Small Potatoes" (season four, episode 20)—Remember that time Luke Skywalker fathered a baby with a tail? It's cool, neither does Scully. Here, she ousts a shape-shifting rapist janitor and blames it on science, per usual. This episode may be the closest we'll ever get to seeing Mulder seduce Scully. Sigh.