Thursday, January 21, 2016

23 Years Later I Still Want to Believe

Posted by: Angela Campbell

Note: A modified version of this post originally appeared on my publisher's blog in March 2015. Since the show will air this Sunday, I thought it appropriate to share my excitement with the readers of Here Be Magic. — Angela

I can easily remember the night I watched the very first episode of THE X-FILES when it aired live on Fox Sept. 10, 1993. I was 18 and a couple of weeks into my freshman year of college. I happened to be home that night, so I cuddled up in my room, turned off the lights, and watched the pilot episode of a TV show that would have a profound effect on my life.

I know. It's silly to credit a TV show with having a profound effect on you, but it's the truth.

Then again, you only have to look at the type of books I write to understand this is THE X-FILES and it had a profound effect on me. I had just started college and was starting a new journey, one I was uncertain about, one that both terrified and excited me, and one that made me feel more like an outsider than I already did. I had always been a bit of a geek, interested in the paranormal and science fiction, quiet and kind of a loner, too. Suddenly, there was a guy named Mulder who had an “I Want to Believe” poster in his office who ran around investigating UFOs, monsters, ghosts, and conspiracy theories. He was smart, funny, and sexy. And there was a woman named Scully who was skeptical, but she was intelligent, witty, badass and was right there at Mulder’s side no matter how harrowing things got.

I look at THE X-FILES as the birth of the modern day cool nerds. I made friends in college because of Mulder and Scully. People who already seemed really cool loved THE X-FILES as much as I did and didn’t judge me for all of the geeky things I liked. It gave us something to talk about when ordinarily we wouldn’t have said a word to each other. We discussed the possibilities of Bigfoot, aliens and the Loch Ness Monster between classes. We all admired the heck out of Scully and wanted to date Mulder — or vice versa, depending on your orientation. I wasn’t such an outsider anymore.

Not to mention, THE X-FILES became a cult hit, and suddenly paranormal romance books became a thing. Like, a really big thing. Other paranormal-centric TV shows followed — SUPERNATURAL, FRINGE, LOST — but none have lived up to THE X-FILES in my eyes. When I met Gillian Anderson at DragonCon a few years ago, I could barely say a word to the woman because I was so nervous, and I don’t get nervous around celebrities. I remember simply saying “Thank you” because how do you express gratitude to an actress for bringing to life a character who feels like one of your best friends, who was there to help you through good times and bad without even realizing it? You know, without sounding like some whacko stalker? So I just said “Thank you” and probably mumbled some other nonsense that embarrassed me, but whatever. I MET SCULLY! Ha!

When Fox announced it was bringing THE X-FILES back with actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in their original roles for a six-episode run (scheduled to premiere this coming Sunday), I can't even explain how I felt.

The revived series might suck — you can’t be a true X-Phile without admitting some episodes were sloppy at best and the theatrical movies didn’t turn out too well and you either love or hate Chris Carter as a writer — but until I see it, I remain hopefully optimistic. And excited!

Regardless of how it turns out, there's one thing that hasn't changed in the 23 years since I first watched the pilot episode of THE X-FILES. I bought a replica poster of Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” poster at an X-FILES convention once, many, many years ago (Yes, I went to an X-Files Convention once. Shut up). It's in storage now — I think — but the sentiment hasn't changed. I still want to believe, even though I'm not quite sure I always do. 

It's a good thing, too, because as long as I still want to believe, I'll feel compelled to write stories that explore the paranormal, supernatural, and fantastic, conjuring up my own theories as to how those things actually exist.

What about you? Are you excited for Mulder and Scully's return this weekend? Share your love for THE X-FILES in the comments!

Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at


  1. I am so excited! It was my favorite show while it was on and I can't wait to see the revival. The inbred family episode still gives me the willies :-)

    1. I knew I wasn't alone. That episode is classic. I should rewatch it before the revival. Thanks for commenting!


    (I ship Mulder and Scully so hard)


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