The X-Files (2016)

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The X-Files (2016) TV Poster Image
The truth (and some scary stuff) is still out there.

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

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

Positive Messages

The team's ongoing search for "the truth" plays against the backdrop of a vast government conspiracy and sense that "the truth" isn't always what we're told. The government is often seen as the enemy, controlling and manipulating the populace or at least playing a significant role in a widespread deception and cover-up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are polar opposites but have mutual respect for each other's strengths and opinions. As a team, they work as true equals, and they're committed to speaking the truth despite negative repercussions. When they have to, they break the law, but it's for the greater good.


Weapons, shootings, dead bodies, and blood; sudden moments of violence include disturbing images of aliens and other otherworldly phenomena.


Light sexual tension between main characters; allusions to sexual procedures such as artificial insemination.


Characters use phrases such as "pissed off" and "sons of bitches."


Rare mention of brand names (such as Uber).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters drink socially; a powerful villain known as the "Smoking Man" chain-smokes cigarettes through a valve in his throat.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, content-wise, The X-Files (2016) is largely a continuation of the original series, so expect to see more of the same conspiracy theories and threatening mysteries. That means scary visuals depicting deformed humans, otherworldly creatures, disturbing procedures, and other violent acts that could frighten younger viewers, along with light sexual tension between the main characters. You'll also hear characters use words such as "bitch" and "pissed" and see a prominent villain chain-smoking through a valve in his throat.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous February 7, 2018

Great reboot is slightly edgier than old series and Common Sense Review

Violence/Scariness: Occasional bloodless gunshots with minimal injury detail. Some explosions, including one which was a terrorist attack. Moderate surgery an... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byLucan1010 February 28, 2016

Good followup to Excellent Series--This is currently the only accurate review

Violence: Slightly more violent then original series: Explosions, gunshots, brief medical imagery. Man commits suicide by driving letter opener into head (not... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byThe Mighty Neb April 24, 2021

What's the story?

Some 13 years after the original series ended, polar-opposite partners Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are reopening THE X-FILES, examining new evidence that suggests an even wider-reaching government conspiracy than they once thought possible. This six-episode miniseries brings back some familiar faces (including Skinner and the infamous "Smoking Man") but also introduces new characters, so it's more of a continuation than a reboot.

Is it any good?

Die-hard fans have been waiting a long time for The X-Files to return to television. And they’ll be satisfied -- if not pleased -- with the results of this intriguing six-episode “event.” Mulder and Scully are older and wiser, not necessarily different but certainly changed by what they've seen, and the presence of some other familiar faces makes the show's decade-plus absence feel more, as creator Chris Carter has described, like "a 13-year commercial break."

In other words, if you loved it then, you'll love it now. And though newcomers to the series might have a tough time jumping in with no backstory, there's enough recap (maybe too much for fans) that a willing viewer wouldn't be entirely lost. This is a franchise known for scariness and dark themes, so parents should consider whether their teens can handle the intensity. And though it makes sense to bring some new characters into the mix, none of them stands out as much as the original crew (the usually charming Joel McHale falls short as a conspiracy-obsessed talk show host). Beyond the mysteries and questions, one of the greatest things about The X-Files is the relationship between Mulder and Scully (who work as true partners in every sense of the word), so it's a pleasure to see them back together -- even if it's only for a little while.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The X-Files (2016) relates to the original X-Files series and why it took over a decade to get the show back on the air. Why bring it back, and why create a six-episode "event" rather than a full season of episodes? Does the event series do anything differently in terms of its plot, pacing, and characters?

  • How do Scully and Mulder measure up as role models? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how well do they work as a team?

  • What position does The X-Files (2016) take on the U.S. government and our ability to trust those in charge? How much of what we're told is fact, and how much is fiction? Why might the government try to shield the general public from the truth, and is it ethical to do so?

TV details

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