Every Season Of The X-Files, Ranked

For many years, The X-Files was one of the most popular sci-fi shows in television history. While some immensely popular sci-fi TV arrived since X-Files, none would exist if Chris Carter had not broken through with his series that asked everyone to believe. For seven seasons, Mulder and Scully investigated monsters and aliens and fans stuck with them through it all.

Things started to drop off when David Duchovny left the series and the original run ended at nine seasons. Recently, The X-Files returned with two more seasons with Mulder and Scully back for more. With 11 total seasons, here is a look at every season of The X-Files, ranked.

RELATED: 10 Best X-Files Episodes (According to IMDb)

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Season 9 struggled mostly due to David Duchovny being absent from the series until the final episodes. This change caused the writers to struggle to find a good reason for fans to keep watching. Doggett and Reyes couldn't keep fans excited enough to save it for another season, even though Robert Patrick was excellent in his role on the series.

There were a couple of great episodes in the season, with "Release" giving Patrick a chance to show his stuff in a case of his missing son. The series finale with Mulder returning to pay off his life-long chase of the truth was also a great ending to a very lackluster season.

10 SEASON 10

Fans seemed excited when season 10 arrived years later and brought back Mulder and Scully for some new adventures. However, the season flopped because there was no real reason for the show to come back. It gave Chris Carter a chance to wrap up the overarching storyline once and for all, and he directed a series of standalone episodes.

Now, as bad as the season was, there was one redeeming factor. In the episode "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster," The X-Files proved why the Monster of the Week episodes from the original series was so beloved.


Before season 7 even started, fans were leery about its success. This concern was because before the season began, David Duchovny sued Fox and said he was leaving the X-Files. Chris Carter chose to wrap up a lot of storylines this season, including the reveal of what happened to Mulder's sister.

RELATED: 10 Best Comedic Episodes From The X-Files, Ranked

It also ended with two huge cliffhangers. Aliens abducted Mulder and Scully ended up pregnant. There were some excellent episodes during the season. However, it was uneven, with too many clunkers during the season. The X-Files became too self-referential, and that hurt its overall enjoyment.


The final season of The X-Files was better received than the 10th season as it seemed to have a better idea of where the series wanted to go. There was more room for the series to tell a story with 10 episodes, and there were more good episodes, with the highlight being "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat."

With that in mind, there was one sin that keeps this season from moving any higher on this list of X-Files seasons. That is the entire storyline of Mulder and Scully's son and the twist that turned even Gillian Anderson against the franchise.


The eighth season of The X-Files brought in Robert Patrick's Doggett, who took a little while for fans to latch onto but soon became a fan favorite. There is also a lot of praise for this season by introducing Adam Baldwin's Super Soldier Knowle Rohrer.

With the Syndicate gone and Mulder learning what really happened to his sister, it seemed the main storyline was wrapped up and this season allowed a nice chance to reboot. However, the phasing out of Mulder and the addition of Reyes ended up causing the series to peter out in season 9.


Season 6 started following the first X-Files movie, which saw Mulder and Scully separated from the X-Files and new agents were assigned to replace them. However, they continued to investigate mysterious occurrences, and soon things were back to the same old, same old.

The biggest problem with season 6 was because the episodes had a significant tonal change. There were a lot more humorous episodes and lighter-toned stories, which was in direct conflict with the alienation of Mulder and Scully and the new agents. However, some brilliant episodes helped raise this season, including "Triangle" and the finale, "Two Fathers/One Son."


While the X-Files developed into a great series over time, the first year was uneven, and it took a while for it to find its feet as far as pacing. If there is one thing that this first season succeeds on, it is introducing some fantastic villains like Tooms. He alone makes the entire season memorable.

RELATED: Every Season Finale Of The X-Files, Ranked From Worst To Best

The entire first season of the X-Files set the table for what was to come. The only reason it is ranked this low is that what followed was brilliant.


X-Files season 1

There is one thing that holds down season 5, and that is the fact that it followed three incredible good seasons, including a fourth season that kicked things into high gear. What hurt this season the most was that season 5 just kind of coasted along.

The biggest problem here is that the most entertaining episodes are usually the Monster of the Week episodes but this season's MotW episodes were average to subpar throughout the season. However, there was still strong storytelling throughout thanks to Vince Gilligan, and it all led to the first movie.


Much like season 1, the second season of X-Files introduced a fantastic villain and one of the best human monsters in the world of X-Files -- Donnie Pfaster. When it comes to the second season, it earned some rough spots through the season on an episodic basis, but when binge watched, this season has a lot to offer.

The entire season ended with "Anasazi" delivering a great twist that proved to Mulder that the aliens were real. However, for perfection, there might not be a better series of episodes than "Duane Barry," "Ascension," and "One Breath."


Some people point at season 4 as the best in the series' run. The mixture in this season was perfectly paced between Monster of the Week episodes and those moving the mythos forward. There was also an interesting story running through the series with Scully suffering through cancer.

Season 4 included the fantastic episode "Memento Mori," which might be one of the best episodes of the entire series. There is only one thing keeping it from being the best season -- and that is the fact that season 3 exists.


The third season of the X-Files was arguably the best in the series history and possibly one of the best seasons of science fiction television ever created as well. The season laid the groundwork for the viral alien black oil, the First Elder and the mystery surrounding X. The entire season was hitting on all cylinders.

NEXT: 10 Worst X-Files Episodes, According to IMDb

There were five Emmy wins. This included a well-deserved Emmy award for Peter Boyle in the brilliant "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," possibly the best episode in the entire series. The whole season was just consistently great and is a perfect example of when X-Files worked the best.

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