The X-Files

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
The X-Files TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Brilliant sci-fi drama for brave teens and up.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 57 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show deals with a vast conspiracy of lies and cover-ups and alludes to the real-life corruptibility of government. Scully and Mulder often break the law to get the information they're looking for. However, the partners treat each other with care and kindness even if they often disagree. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mulder and Scully have a relationship of equals, devoid of traditional male dominance. They are also very loyal to each other. Scully's approach is more intellectual, while Mulder believes in conspiracies and the supernatural. The two are in pursuit of justice but occasionally go against the law when they believe they're right. They demonstrate curiosity, communication, and teamwork.


Most episodes have scary elements, some with gruesome creatures and behavior. Some episodes include strong violence, including stabbings, gunfights, and physical violence -- some very graphic.


Some sexual tension between main characters, and some episodes deal with sexuality on a variety of levels (an alien shape-shifts from male to female after having sex, for example) while others don't address it at all. Rare allusions to unusual sexual practices, such as inbreeding. 


Mild profanity, such as "damn," "hell," and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A recurring bad guy smokes cigarettes constantly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The X-Files is a dark sci-fi drama that can be very scary at times, sometimes depicting monsters, deformed humans, disturbing scenarios, and violent acts. The show's mythology centers on government conspiracy, cover-ups, and the possibility of alien abductions. Younger viewers may be frightened by the possibility of abduction and scared by the often-graphic images of slimy creatures and the constant, tension-building entrances into dark holes, pits, and sewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMasterCrafter 9001 January 14, 2017

Amazing! Highly recomend watching this, especially if your an alien fan.

Amazing show but if your young like me DON'T WATCH HOME! It will scare the crap outa you! Also uses hell damnit sh*t ass crap and a few uses of B*tch. Muld... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheyCallMeMrGlass October 2, 2018

Amazing cult classic serise

Some times you’ll be watching it and thinking how can this be scary then suddenly a episode will come on and depending on who you are be scared from your head t... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymisfits1013 April 3, 2013

My all time favorite show

This show is exciting and scary. The writing and acting is amazing. Shows today still copy off the episodes and storylines. I started watching this when I was 1... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 9, 2017

the x files is a great show.

Amazing show! It really takes science fiction to another level! Keep in mind many creepy creatures (including a house full of inbreeding genetic mutants) may s... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE X-FILES features Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as FBI agents charged with investigating cases that involve the paranormal. Along with dark, often-scary episodes about specific creatures or unexplained events, the show revolves around a mythology of government conspiracies and cover-ups related to extraterrestrials. Mulder is deeply suspicious of the government and believes fervently in the existence of extraterrestrials, due to the fact that he remembers his sister being abducted by aliens when he was a child. Scully, a trained medical doctor, starts out as a skeptic assigned to the X-Files to debunk Mulder's unpopular theories, but she eventually comes to believe in the paranormal.

Is it any good?

Both creepy and intriguing, this series was hugely popular during its nine-year run on Fox in the 1990s and early 2000s (at the time of review it airs in syndication and is available on DVD). Teens who like sci-fi or horror will enjoy The X-Files for its complexity and rich character development. Parents may want to preview episodes for appropriateness for younger or more sensitive teens, since some shows are scarier than others. Viewers jumping into the middle of a season may be confused by the episodes dealing with detailed backstories.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Mulder and Scully's partnership on The X-Files. Why do they make such a good team? What does each bring to their relationship?

  • Families can also discuss their beliefs about aliens. Is there life on other planets? If so, what form do you think it might take? Have humans already had contact with alien beings? Are aliens to be feared or sought out? What types of paranormal or spiritual situations do your family members believe in (such as ESP, psychics, or faith healing)? 

  • How do the characters on The X-Files demonstrate curiosity, communication, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate