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The X-Files

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

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 49 reviews

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
Parent of a 1, 8, and 10 year old Written bygenfoster78 November 26, 2009

Not for kids.

I enjoyed this movie very much.. I grew up watching the X- Files.. So for me it was a good movie.. I dont think I would let my kids watch it.... But some might...
Adult Written bygamechangerz June 11, 2015

Great series

I think it is ok for kids like me who like movies like this i think it is appropriate for kids 10+ because it can get scary sometimes but all you have to think... 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, 11 years old April 9, 2008


The scariest sci-fi show ever. Not much violence, but truly creepy. You must watch Muldur and Scully, for X-Files is awesome.

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

Character Strengths

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