Number 8 X-Files 1993-2002
This was a very difficult show to figure out where The X-Files belonged on my list. I have strong feelings about this show --it could have very easily been the number 2 show on my list and could easily have slipped quite a way further down as well. The show follows the adventures of two FBI agents as they investigate the unexplainable cases of the FBI. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny ) is searching for answers to something that happened in his past (the disappearance of his sister). Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is the skeptic that becomes his partner and is basically partnered with him to come up with a reasonable explanation for the cases they deal with (how she remained a skeptic at all after so many seasons is just not realistic)
This show was extremely hard to place on the list because at one point when it was at its best it was quite possibly the best show on TV. There were so many cool episodes digging into Aliens, and creatures and all sort of the mysterious. At one point I would rather watch one episode of the X-Files rather than any new horror or mystery or sci-fi movie that was coming out on the big screen, that is how good X-Files was. There would be a bunch monster of the week episodes and then we would get a mythology episode. The mythology episodes would tease us that something may eventually be solved and the great mystery and government conspiracy that haunted Mulder would be figured out. I was hooked and couldn't wait until the next piece of the puzzle feel into place. The show was a big success for FOX and they kept renewing it, but they shows creator Chris Carter never paid the audience off on any of his teases. Eventually the main character of Mulder left the show and for money reasons they just kept making it without him anyway. I finally got frustrated with the show and dropped out of watching it completely until the series finale which was going to have Mulder back again and would hopefully finally answer some questions.
The finale was a total disappointment and played more like a boring clips show than a fitting end to the series. The show ended leaving many fans disappointed with so much unresolved. I felt that the mythology of the show that they teased us with constantly never was paid off and that maybe Chris Carter was just making it up as he went along inside of really crafting it like I had hoped.
One of the reasons I love Joss Whedon shows is that when he teases something at the beginning of a season you know that eventually all of those teases will pay off at the end and then a new storyline will be teased and hold your attention. Whedon seemed to have mapped out where he wanted his shows to go season by season instead of just winging it as he went along. I only wish X-Files, LOST and Twin Peaks had been crafted in the same way.
So I place X-Files at number 8 because it was the best show on TV for quite a few years even though the main storyline eventually turned out to be all smoke and mirrors in the end . I can't over look how good it was at one time and how it influenced other shows that came after it.