The X-Files was an incredibly popular show from the early 2000s. The exceptional quality of writing as well as the brilliant chemistry between Gillian and David make it a timeless classic. If you are looking for more such TV series, we have curated a list of shows like The X-Files that you will definitely enjoy watching. X-Files was created by Chris Carter and first aired in 2002. This sci-fi crime story revolved around two FBI Agents, Fox Mulder(David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who investigate unsolved cases– often involving paranormal phenomena.
At the beginning of the series, Mulder believes the paranormal activity is real while Scully, a medical doctor, is sceptical and hence is assigned to work with Mulder to review the reality of the cases. Filmed in a multi-genre style, The X-Files is a highly entertaining and well-created show with phenomenal acting performances. The show had a great fan following and ran for 10 seasons. Known for its supernatural elements of mythology and mysterious unknown circumstances, The X-Files continues to be engaging and relevant today.
List of TV Shows Like The X-Files
- Twin Peaks
- Person Of Interest
- The leftovers
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer
- Penny Dreadful
1. Twin Peaks (1990)
Great reputation precedes the American mystery drama Twin Peaks. The show has a cult-like status amongst the fans, which is why Twin Peaks had a third-season revival in 2017. A schoolgirl Laura Palmer is murdered, and FBI Agent Dale Cooper leads the investigation. Check out more shows like Twin Peaks.
While the story sounds like a procedural murder mystery, Cooper’s idiosyncratic and eerie behaviour combined with its unique and experimental style of direction from the iconic David Lynch makes it a show like no other. Twin Peaks masterfully combines horror, suspense, comedy and mystery. If you’re a fan of shows like The X-Files, then Twin Peaks is one of the best shows you can watch.
2. Hannibal (2013)
Hannibal TV series, based on Thomas Harris’ novels Red Dragon, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, is an American psychological horror starring Mad Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in the challenging roles of Dr Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham, respectively. Not shying away from gory imagery, this show is often appreciated for its powerful visuals that leave the viewers thinking.
With elements that remind you of Silence of Lambs, the series showcases the complexities of human behaviour through murder, cannibalism and twisted relationships. The charms and mysteries of the main characters leave one wanting to see more. Without going into too much in detail, it’s safe to say, that if you like Gillian Anderson, then Hannibal will be a good reminder for the viewers of the supernatural world they experienced in shows like The X-Files.
3. Person of Interest (2011)
Person of Interest is a Sci-fi crime drama that follows John Reese, a former special forces soldier and CIA operative. A bygone soldier, John is thought to be dead by everyone. He, in fact, is alive and now a homeless man in New York. Harold Finch, a billionaire software genius, builds a computer called ‘the Machine’ that monitors all electronic media and communications to predict future terrorist activities. Harold approaches Reese to intercept the possible threats. Check out more shows like Person of Interest.
On the surface, Person of Interest seems like a standard procedural crime drama series, but it is, in fact, a well-crafted action sci-fi that explores the concepts of AI vs human nature. The main characters of the show are phenomenal. If you want to explore more shows like The X-Files, then a series like Person of Interest is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
4. The Leftovers (2014)
Also known for creating shows like Lost, Damon Lindelof created The Leftovers along with the novelist Tom Perotta whose book this is adapted from. The Leftovers is a supernatural drama tv series, the story begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’, where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear.
This sudden event causes many changes, giving rise to cult groups like the white-clothed nihilists’ Guilty Remnant and a decline in mainstream religions. The show is dystopic in nature and quite surreal to watch. With a brilliant cast and genius writing, The Leftovers should definitely be on your list if you’re searching for a series like The X-Files.
5. Bones (2005)
Bones is a crime procedural drama created by Hart Hanson with a forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology investigation. Bones is loosely based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs, who also produced the show. The show ran a long course of 12 seasons before it was eventually cancelled.
Bones follows the pairing of a doctor and an FBI agent, Dr Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan and FBI Agent Seeley Booth, in an unusual approach to examining the remains of the victims for investigating the murder. The main characters have great chemistry, and the show has a good balance of gravitas and humour. Bones has been a comfort watch for many viewers. If you are searching for TV shows like The X-Files to watch for a long time, Bones will be a great choice.
6. Castle (2009)
In the light-hearted show Castle, Nathan Filion plays the famous mystery novelist Richard Castle, and Stana Katic plays the homicide detective Kate Beckett. Castle is bored and going through writer’s block; out of boredom, he decides to kill off his main character. When a person kills someone in real life using Castle’s novel, he is called into the New York police department. Here he meets detective Kate Beckett and is inspired by her to write another story and ends up shadowing her at work. Check out more shows like Castle.
Castle and Kate’s relationship is of the typical odd couple being forced to work together. Castle is a goofy man-child who truly loves his family, while Kate is a serious and dedicated and strong detective. All the characters, including the supporting characters, are well-rounded. Viewers of all generations have widely liked the show. If you just watch tv shows like The X-Files and want to see a playful series that is similar, Castle is the right pick for you.
7. Fringe (2008)
Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show. Check out more shows like Fringe.
Shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone actually inspire Fringe. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that, in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for shows similar to The X-Files, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe.
8. Haven (2010)
Haven is a mystery/supernatural drama show. Loosely based on Stephen King’s novel The Colorado Kid, the show was created by Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn. The show deals with strange and unprecedented events in the fictional town of Haven in Maine. An FBI Agent, Audrey Parker, is dispatched to haven for a routine case when she gets entangled in a plague with supernatural afflictions.
The seemingly paranormal activity of the town leads Audrey to shocking secrets related to her mother. Haven builds a world where the protagonist discovers her life and memories might not have been her own and her actions a part of a pre-arranged circumstance. Suppose you’re looking for exciting series like The X-Files, Haven is the right choice for you.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American supernatural drama television series. Despite the cheese and tackiness that might come with WB’s hour-long show about vampires and slayers, Buffy stands out amongst any other teenage, high school magic witch-fest of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is much more than a show about an ass-kicking demon fighter who occasionally puns and even, in one instance, sings a whole musical about it. It’s a cultural phenomenon, one that redefined TV. Buffy may not be the most dainty little show, but its clever approach to storytelling is one that deserves to be retold time and time again. And, hence for shows similar to The X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer will make a great weekend watch.
10. Penny Dreadful (2014)
The show Penny Dreadful’s title refers to 19th-century British publications called Penny Dreadfuls; they were popular and cheap literary publications sold to the general population of the time. Penny dreadfuls focused on characters like Sweeny Todd and Varney the Vampire.
This psychological thriller series Penny Dreadful takes inspiration from fictional writings. It gives a nod to popular Victorian Gothic Horror characters like Dr Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and Abraham Van Helsing. Eva Green’s portrayal as Vanessa Ives was a force of nature, and all fans of the show unanimously agreed that she DESERVED awards for her performance. Penny Dreadful is a binge-worthy show if you’re looking for shows similar to The X-Files.
There are so many incredible series similar to The X-Files; below are a few shows that didn’t make the list which you might also enjoy:
- Stranger Things
- The Fall