The first season of the science fiction television series The X-Files commenced airing on Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox) in the United States on September 10, 1993, concluded on the same channel on May 13, 1994, and contained 24 episodes. In the first two seasons, executive producer Carter and co-executive producers Morgan and Wong, along with other writers, helped to define the show's fledgling story arc. The "mythology", as the producers called it, was initially established as a government plot to cover up anything pertaining to the existence of extraterrestrial life, and Mulder's attempts to discover the fate of his sister, Samantha. He believed that she had been abducted by aliens years prior, when Mulder was a child, which profoundly affected him and ignited his obsession with the paranormal. Carter himself wrote the show's second episode, "Deep Throat", which was directed by Daniel Sackheim. It introduced a character named Deep Throat (played by Jerry Hardin), the first of several secret government informants who would at times help or hinder Mulder and Scully's investigations.
The "pilot episode" aired on September 10, 1993. In the United Kingdom it first aired on satellite television channel Sky One January 19, 1994 before being shown to a wider audience on the terrestrial channel BBC2 from September 19, airing at 21:00. Since then, it has expanded into other countries across the world (including Canada, Latin America, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, India, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Germany, Poland, South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, South Africa, France, Malaysia, Italy, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Thailand, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Japan, Belgium and Lebanon either being dubbed or subtitled to accommodate for foreign language viewers). Season one regular cast members include David Duchovny (as Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (as Dana Scully.
California native Chris Carter was given the opportunity to produce new shows for the Fox network in the early 1990s. Tired of the comedies he had been working on, inspired by a report that 3.7 million Americans may have been abducted by aliens, and recalling memories of Watergate and the 1970s horror series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Carter came up with the idea for The X-Files and wrote the pilot episode himself in 1992. He initially struggled over the untested concept—executives wanted a love interest for Scully—and casting. The network wanted either a more established or a "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier" actress for Scully than the 24-year-old Gillian Anderson, a theater veteran with minor film experience, who Carter felt was the only choice after auditions.
Carter's initial pitch for The X-Files was rejected by Fox. He fleshed out the concept and returned a few weeks later, leading to the commission of the pilot. Gillian Anderson commented, regarding her early work on the show, "It's a complete learning experience for me – the pilot was only the second time I'd been in front of a camera." "The X-Files" opening-closing theme music is not used in this episode. David Duchovny's father (Amram Ducovny) appears here as a plane passenger.
Glen Morgan and James Wong's early influence on The X-Files mythology led to their introduction of popular secondary characters who would continue for years in episodes written by others, such as the Scully family—Dana's father William (Don S. Davis), mother Margaret (Sheila Larken) and sister Melissa (Melinda McGraw)—as well as conspiracy-buff trio The Lone Gunmen,
David Duchovny had worked in Los Angeles three years prior to The X-Files, at first he wanted to base his acting career around films. But in 1993 his manager, Melanie Green, gave him a script of the "pilot episode" of The X-Files. Green and Duchovny were both convinced it was a good script, so Duchovny auditioned for the lead. When Duchovny was auditioning for the part of Fox Mulder, he made a "terrific" audition, but talked rather slow. Chris Carter thought at the beginning of the auditioning for the character, he was a "good judge of character", and thought that Duchovny wasn't rather "bright". So he went and talked to Duchovny and asked him if he could "please" imagine himself as an FBI agent for the "future" week. The casting director of the show was very positive towards him. While according to Carter, Duchovny turned out to be one of the best-read people he knew. After getting the role, Duchovny thought the show wouldn't last for long or that it wouldn't make as much impact as it did.
Initially, The X-Files was fighting for its life in the ratings, and as a result, there was no long-term plan in the beginning to guide its writers. The only guideline provided by Carter was that the show should take place "within the realm of extreme possibility". The show's first season thus featured numerous standalone stories involving monsters, and also diverse alien/government cover-ups, with no apparent connection to each other—such as the Arctic space worms in "Ice", and the conspiracy of genetically engineered twins in "Eve." Carter himself wrote "Space", a low-budget affair about the manifestation of an alien "ghost" in the NASA space shuttle program, which was subject to cost overruns and became the most expensive of the first season.
By the end of the first season, Carter and his staff had come up with many of the general concepts of the mythology that would last throughout all nine seasons, whose outlines first appeared in Carter's Edgar Award-nominated season finale "The Erlenmeyer Flask", written in early 1994 before he knew whether the show was going to be canceled. In the episode, The X-Files was closed down and Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are to be reassigned. The finale was the first episode directed by R. W. Goodwin, a senior producer (and husband of Sheila Larken, who played Scully's mother on the show).
David Duchovny as Special Agent Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
Episodes marked with an asterisk (*) are part of the series' mytharc. Episodes with a double asterisk (**) are part of the series' Alien Mythology.
See also: List of The X-Files episodes
# Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
1 1 "Pilot"** Robert Mandel Chris Carter September 10, 1993 1X79
Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is assigned to work with Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) on the X-Files in an attempt to debunk his work on the paranormal. Their first case has them investigating apparent alien abductions. A near comatose man, Billy Miles (Zachary Ansley), is taking his classmates, including Theresa Nemman (Sarah Koskoff), into the woods, where they are killed in a flash of bright light.
2 2 "Deep Throat"** Daniel Sackheim Chris Carter September 17, 1993 1X01
Mulder and Scully travel to Idaho in order to investigate the disappearance of a military test pilot. They observe unusual aircraft activity, prompting Mulder to proclaim the existence of a government conspiracy. Mulder sneaks onto the military base and is spotlighted by one of the craft, but is captured by soldiers and has his memory erased before he is released. Guest starring Jerry Hardin.
3 3 "Squeeze" Harry Longstreet Glen Morgan & James Wong September 24, 1993 1X02
Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders where there appears to be no tangible method for the murderer’s entrance and escape. Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchison), a seemingly normal janitor, is suspected by Mulder to be a mutant who kills his victims and extracts their livers in order to prolong his existence. Guest starring Donal Logue.
4 4 "Conduit" Daniel Sackheim Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon October 1, 1993 1X03
As Section Chief Scott Blevins (Charles Cioffi) expresses his concern with the direction of the X-Files department, Mulder becomes obsessed with solving a case that closely parallels an encounter he experienced as a child, which dealt with alien abduction and an exploration of Mulder's determination to find his sister, Samantha Mulder (Vanessa Morley).
5 5 "The Jersey Devil" Joe Napolitano Chris Carter October 8, 1993 1X04
The murder of a homeless man which is very similar in detail to a murder committed in 1947 leads Mulder and Scully to the legendary man-beast The Jersey Devil roaming in the forests surrounding Atlantic City.
6 6 "Shadows" Michael Katleman Glen Morgan & James Wong October 22, 1993 1X05
When an unseen force commits several murders where a young woman (Lisa Waltz) is present, Mulder suspects that it is the spirit of the woman’s former boss who was believed to have committed suicide but was actually murdered and he is protecting her from his business partner.
7 7 "Ghost in the Machine" Jerrold Freedman Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa October 29, 1993 1X06
A computer with highly advanced artificial intelligence begins to kill in order to preserve its existence when it is deemed inefficient to continue controlling the workings of an office building. Guest starring Rob LaBelle and Wayne Duvall.
8 8 "Ice" David Nutter Glen Morgan & James Wong November 5, 1993 1X07
When an Arctic research team mysteriously kill each other and themselves only days after drilling deeper into the ice than ever before, Mulder and Scully accompany a team of doctors and scientists to investigate. They discover an organism which infects living creatures and amplifies the host’s feeling of anger and paranoia, and the new team starts to deteriorate as they wonder who among them are killers. Guest starring Xander Berkeley and Felicity Huffman.
9 9 "Space" William Graham Chris Carter November 12, 1993 1X08
A mysterious force is sabotaging a space launch program which leads directly back to the commander of the team, who once claimed to have seen an alien in space while witnessing Mars from Earth orbit. The so-called "alien" returns to Earth with him to torment him, and wreck his new space program. Guest starring Ed Lauter and Susanna Thompson.
10 10 "Fallen Angel"** Larry Shaw Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa November 19, 1993 1X09
Mulder puts the future of the X-Files in jeopardy when he heads to a UFO crash site being rapidly covered up by the military. He is arrested and while in jail he meets Max Fenig (Scott Bellis), a UFO nut whose NICAP group has followed Mulder’s work on the X-Files. When Mulder is released, Scully urges him to return to Washington to face his superiors and try and save his job, but Mulder finds out that Fenig is more than meets the eye and ignores Scully to try and save him instead.
11 11 "Eve" Fred Gerber Kenneth Biller & Chris Brancato December 10, 1993 1X10
When two fathers on opposite sides of the country are inexplicably murdered at the exact same time in the exact same way, Mulder and Scully find that their eight-year-old daughters are perfect twins and were created in order to continue The Litchfield Experiment, a eugenics project of the 1950’s which produced cloned boys named Adam and girls named Eve who have heightened strength and intelligence, but are prone to psychotic behavior.
12 12 "Fire" Larry Shaw Chris Carter December 17, 1993 1X11
Mulder investigates the deaths of British dignitaries at the behest of an old Oxford girlfriend. Bob/Cecil L’Ively is a pyrokinetic, and he wants Sir Malcolm Marsden’s wife. Cecil attempts to kill Marsden, with his ability to make fire come out of his hands, but Mulder stops him.
13 13 "Beyond the Sea" David Nutter Glen Morgan & James Wong January 7, 1994 1X12
A death row inmate named Luther Lee Boggs (Brad Dourif) claims that he is psychic and can lead Mulder to a serial killer in exchange for a lesser sentence of life in prison. The agents’ roles are reversed in this episode, with Mulder doubting Boggs’s claim and Scully believing him after she is told that she can communicate through him with her recently deceased father.
14 14 "Gender Bender" Rob Bowman Larry Barber & Paul Barber January 21, 1994 1X13
A series of identical sexual murders, where the killer appears to be both male and female, draw Mulder and Scully to an Amish-type community of people who may be of alien origin, leading to the discovery of a man who can change sex.
15 15 "Lazarus" David Nutter Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon February 4, 1994 1X14
When FBI Agent Jack Willis and bank robber Warren Dupre are both shot at the same time during a robbery attempt, Dupre dies when Willis is brought back to life. When Willis rushes out of the hospital and begins acting strangely, Mulder concludes that Dupre has come back to life in Willis’ body.
16 16 "Young at Heart" Michael Lange Scott Kaufer and Chris Carter February 11, 1994 1X15
A psychotic criminal from one of Mulder’s past cases - John Barnett - is back to get revenge on Mulder for incarcerating him. Before Barnett’s release, a renegade doctor had found a way to reverse the aging process - using Barnett as his test subject. Mulder and Scully rush to catch the now-unrecognizable youthful Barnett before he carries out his threat to kill all of Mulder’s loved ones.
17 17 "E.B.E."** William Graham Glen Morgan & James Wong February 18, 1994 1X16
Mulder and Scully receive information from Deep Throat about a UFO that was shot down over Iraq and has been secretly transported to the US. However, Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin) then intentionally misleads the agents to prevent them from discovering the truth.
18 18 "Miracle Man" Michael Lange Chris Carter & Howard Gordon March 18, 1994 1X17
Mulder and Scully travel to Tennessee to investigate the “Miracle Ministry” and its star attraction - a young man with the ability to heal people with his touch - when a person dies shortly after being healed. Guest starring Scott Bairstow, George Gerdes, R.D. Call and Dennis Lipscomb.
19 19 "Shapes" David Nutter Marilyn Osborn April 1, 1994 1X18
Mulder and Scully head to an Indian reservation in northwestern Montana to investigate a manslaughter case which Mulder believes may relate to the very first X-File ever created at the FBI, and its main subject: Lycanthropy. Guest starring Ty Miller, Donnelly Rhodes and Michael Horse.
20 20 "Darkness Falls" Joe Napolitano Chris Carter April 15, 1994 1X19
Mulder and Scully travel to a remote area of Washington State National Forest after an entire group of thirty loggers goes missing. They soon discover that an unseen force that was lying dormant has been awakened.
21 21 "Tooms" David Nutter Glen Morgan & James Wong April 22, 1994 1X20
Tooms is released from the psychiatric sanitarium in which he was incarcerated for assaulting Scully - and he needs to kill once more to get the final liver which will allow him to hibernate for another thirty years. Mulder and Scully race against time to find evidence of his involvement in the past string of murders before Tooms disappears again.
22 22 "Born Again" Jerrold Freedman Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa April 29, 1994 1X21
After a detective and his former partner die in unexplained circumstances, the accidents are linked to a little girl who witnessed both deaths and Mulder believes that she may be the reincarnation of a policeman murdered by his colleagues. Guest starring Maggie Wheeler and Andrea Libman.
23 23 "Roland" David Nutter Chris Ruppenthal May 6, 1994 1X22
Agents Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders in Mahan Propulsion Laboratory as a team of scientists die one by one and the only suspect is a mentally handicapped cleaner named Roland. Guest starring Željko Ivanek.
24 24 "The Erlenmeyer Flask"** R.W. Goodwin Chris Carter May 13, 1994 1X23
A seemingly unrelated car chase leads Mulder and Scully to a scientific lab encompassing a secret which could provide proof of a government conspiracy.