Today we celebrate the beginning of not only one of the greatest television shows of all time but also a key moment in culture in the late 20th century. On this day in 1993, the very first episode of “The X-Files” premiered on Fox. The show introduced the world to two FBI agents named Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Their mission was to explore unexplained phenomena, and their investigations lead them to discovering all types of secrets surrounding both the paranormal world and their own government. “The X-Files” did everything right, perfectly balancing the tension of a thriller, the visceral punch of horror and just enough humor and will-they-or-won’t-they romance to keep the whole series buoyant. It made stars out of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and spawned a pair of feature films (as well as a spin-off — two if you count “Millennium”). But most importantly, it made it okay for science fiction to be on television, and it set a precedent for shows that were allowed to develop over months or even years with stories that paid off way down the narrative line. It’s safe to say that there would be no “Lost” or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (just to name two cult favorites) without “The X-Files,” and that would be a sad world indeed (or at least a very boring one).
In 1996, a soundtrack album was released as a companion to “The X-Files.” Called “Songs in the Key of X,” it featured a number of songs that had appeared in notable episodes (and just as many that hadn’t). The theme song to “The X-Files” was always a spooky touchstone (it even charted as a single in the U.K.), and though the original was on the album, there was also a cover version by futuristic hip-hop oddballs P.M. Dawn. Why were P.M. Dawn covering the theme to “The X-Files”? Hard to tell. But based on their video for 1991’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” they were clearly operating on another planet entirely.