Many of us have spent more time with The X-Files & # 39; Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) this year than with our flesh and blood friends. That's fine. Times are tough! Watch These Comfort TV Shows Again! But maybe your family, loved ones, roommates or thin-walled neighbors are fed up with the topic of X-Files. If you want to branch out and add new shows to your watchlist while you continue to hold onto the spirit of the sci-fi classic, we are here to help.
Whether you're looking at The X-Files for the horror, romance, government conspiracies, or reminding that the world is fundamentally chaotic and unknowable, this list has something for every fan. Here are nine shows you should check out next.
End your surfing nightmare with TV Guide's recommendations for every mood
Looking for more recommendations on what to see next? We have a lot of them! And if you're looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have these too.
Where to see: Netflix (original series), Hulu (original series; Twin Peaks: The Return available with Showtime add-on), CBS All Access (original series), Showtime (Twin Peaks: The Return)
The surreal masterpiece by David Lynch and Mark Frost has its fingerprints everywhere on The X-Files, from the cinematic representation to the eeriness in the Pacific Northwest. (A number of cast members also overlap, including David Duchovny.) Twin Peaks, which premiered on ABC just three years before The X-Files in 1990 and returned on Showtime for a third season in 2017, focuses on investigating the death of Die Small-town homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), whose murder exposes a powerful darkness in the community. The mix of supernatural horror, melodrama, and absurdity on the show transformed television, pushing the boundaries of what a mystery show – or any show – could do. Twin peaks often feel like a nightmare and a dream at the same time. It's stranger than the X-Files. But the shows share the understanding that dark forces hide beneath the surface of a city and that real evil doesn't make sense.
Where to see: HBO, HBO max
There aren't many answers to The X-Files. Even the cases that are resolved can rarely be explained. The Leftovers increases getting answers to an even higher art form. The exquisite HBO drama, co-created by Lost's Damon Lindelof and writer Tom Perrotta, is set after the sudden disappearance of 2% of the world's population, a global, unexplained phenomenon so incomprehensible that it affects normal life. Some viewers have been put off by the relentlessly gloomy first season, but The Leftovers begins in a place of raw anger and evolves into an expansive, surreal, quietly magical drama that expands grace into the chaotic ways people try to heal. Like The X-Files, it's a show about dealing with an unknowable world, and both shows come to the same conclusion: the only answer is to find someone who understands. Thematically The Leftovers is like The X-Files; It's just that it has a lion sex cult too.
Better call Saul
Where to see: Netflix, Amazon
If you'd like to see Dana Scully blow up her professional reputation for a man and his cause, meet Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). Kim is currently the best character on Best Show on TV and Scully's most worthy successor – which makes sense given that Better Call Saul was co-created by beloved X-Files alum Vince Gilligan. Kim's relationship with Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), an out-of-the-box attorney, often feels like a mutually destructive version of Scully's partnership with Mulder: an intelligent, motivated woman in a male-dominated field brings her career and her life out of loyalty to a villainous outsider who gives her an outlet for her own rebellious side. But while The X-Files finds romance in this idea, Better Call Saul is as devastating as it is exciting. The Breaking Bad prequel (which is full of harbingers for fans of the original series but still makes sense on its own) has a lot more to offer than those dynamic, including Jimmy's pursuit of his older brother (Michael McKean) approval and slow spiral into orbit the local cartel. But X-Files fans who like that little core of madness at the heart of their love story should be especially entertained by the darkness the AMC series brought to Kim. If you've ever wondered what The X-Files could have done with Scully in another time, in another type of show, Better Call Saul is doing it now.
Where to see: Netflix, CBS All Access
No series on network television is more fun than evil, which on its surface is basically The X-Files But With Exorcism. The CBS process begins with a reassuringly familiar skeptic and believer setup: the psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) works with the apprentice priest David Acosta (Mike Colter) and the technology expert Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) to Demonic Allegations Investigate Ownership on behalf of the Catholic Church. But because it's from Robert and Michelle King, the network's favorite border pushers, it's also fantastically dark and full of surprises. Vox's Emily VanDerWerff has described the series as "an attempt to create a new version of The X-Files that includes all of Darin Morgan's episodes". Like the work of the Emmy Prize winner, whose comedic scripts changed the course of The X-Files, Evil strikes a tone that shouldn't even be possible: It's philosophically and playfully self-confident, full of absurd touches, but justified with serious fears . Plus, Kristen & # 39; s four daughters are the best kids on TV.
Where Clock: IMDb TV (free with advertising), Amazon (to rent or buy)
A friend and I once spent a summer alternating Fringe and The X-Files marathons. They go well together. Fringe, the X-Files fan J.J. Abrams, which was created with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, is obviously Abrams' version of The X-Files (although it's influenced by many other pop culture touchstones), and the first season has been labeled too many copycats. But once the show goes beyond its early fall-of-the-week format and takes on its fate as a curvy, serialized drama about parallel universes, Fringe stands out from the rest. Anna Torv plays Olivia Dunham, an agent in the FBI's Fringe Division who hires Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his scientific father Walter Bishop (John Noble) to consult on strange cases. The science fiction drama is more scientific than The X-Files, so some episodes feel out of date a decade later. But his scientific spin also gives him a greater ability to horror – Fringe makes you believe that his monsters could really be brought to life. Like any good drama inspired by The X-Files, the series also features a compelling romance between Olivia and Peter, but they have healthier communication skills. This is the real X file.
Buffy the vampire butcher
Where to see: Hulu, Amazon
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the ideal watch if you're after the soothing vibes of a supernatural '90s show where fashion is better than creatures' makeup. Buffy and The X-Files share the cozy horror aesthetic of their era, and both balance monster-of-the-week episodes with a larger mythology, though Buffy's Big Bads rarely last long enough to survive their reception (or no longer make sense to result). . The cult classic WB-turn-UPN is an intelligent teen drama that speaks its own language and focuses on a female action hero whose femininity and tenacity complement each other. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) battles the vampires and demons in her town – which happens to be over a hellhole – as part of her calling as a hunter. Then she goes home and does her homework. Growing up sucks.
Where Clock: Netflix
It's best known for its' 80s movie nostalgia, but Stranger Things shares a lot of DNA with a particular 90s TV show. The hit Netflix series debuted with a plot straight out of an episode of The X-Files (and Fringe, while we're at it): In small town Indiana, 12-year-old Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is disappearing as a telekinetic girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) escapes a mysterious local laboratory that hides a gateway to another dimension. As with the X-Files, there are monsters; Like The X-Files, the real monster is the government. Stranger Things is incredibly fun, with a thrown back vibe and a killer cast including Winona Ryder as Will's desperate mother. It's as popular as it is for a reason. You think you are too cool for stranger things? Are you an X-Files fan and don't want to see a drama about the human cost of the government's secret experiments? Get out.
Kolchak: The night stalker
Where to see: NBC.com
Chris Carter, the creator of X-Files, said his goal was to make The X-Files as creepy as Kolchak: The Night Stalker, an ABC series that only aired in one season from 1974 to 1975, but became a cult favorite. Darren McGavin plays Carl Kolchak, a reporter investigating strange and often supernatural crimes. The list of monsters he hunts – including shapeshifters, aliens, vampires, and a giant lizard – would be as familiar to Mulder as he was to Kolchak's struggle to get his co-workers to believe him. The show is entertaining on its own, but it's especially fun as a history lesson for fans of The X-Files, who paid homage to Kolchak by casting McGavin as Arthur Dales, the agent who essentially started the X-Files unit. And there's more: In 2005, X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz Kolchak restarted as NBC's Night Stalker. Although it was canceled after a few episodes, the short-lived reboot influenced the revival of The X-Files. In it Morgan turned an unused script he had written for Night Stalker into the very funny X-Files revival episode "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were Monster", in which Rhys Darby is a guest in Kolchak cosplay. The snake really did eat its own tail with it.
Where to see: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon
If you want to see more of Gillian Anderson's work, your options are many. She's been on a lot of good TV shows! But let's single out Hannibal, where it was repeated for the first two seasons before appearing as a regular series on the third and final season. (Though fans have been asking for more since it was canceled, the season three finale in my book is the perfect ending.) Bryan Fuller's lavish NBC drama, in which corpses are composed as elegantly as food, focuses on intricate love between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) who unwittingly chases him. Anderson plays Hannibal's icy psychiatrist Bedelia du Maurier. Her performance and wardrobe are decadent. As a bonus, she increasingly dresses like Carmen Sandiego as the show progresses.