"We really became the best show on television."
-David Duchovny on The X-Files Season Two, The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide To The X-Files (p.57)-
As Chris Carter noted in The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide To The X-Files, "The show's only as scary as it is believable. Everything has to take place within the realm of extreme possibility." (p.33). This is precisely why The X-Files (1993-2002) was so very, very good. Real life scenarios have some of the most bizarre events, happenings and even monsters, but somehow The X-Files makes you believe or at least want to believe in the extraordinary by bringing those ideas down to our earthly reality. Between Fox Mulder's true believing coupled with Dana Scully's theories based in scientific fact, The X-Files was sold as a completely plausible bit of science fiction even when monsters were involved.
It is also noted in the book (p.65) that actress Gillian Anderson certainly admired the Pilot of Season One and the first season in general, but really felt Season Two required more of an "emotional commitment" in episodes like Irresistible. Her performance in Irresistible echoed her belief and commitment in the role of Scully and the world of The X-Files first evidenced when she genuinely turned heads in Season One's Beyond The Sea as one of those career-defining highlights. Both the aforementioned episodes were two of her favorites.
Season Two saw Chris Carter and company really start to roll and Carter admits he naturally seemed to find the rhythms of this fantastic science fiction experiment he created called The X-Files.
The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: The X-Files Season One can be found here. Season Two is arguably even more difficult to narrow down to ten of the best than Season One. Nevertheless, Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic offers his ten favorites for The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: The X-Files: Season Two in honor of The X-Files return. The writers of each installment are noted in parenthesis.
10. The Calusari (Sara B. Charno).
9. Duane Barry/ Ascension (Chris Carter, Paul Brown).
8. Die Hand Die Verletzt (Glen Morgan, James Wong).
7. Dod Kolm (Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa).
6. Irresistible (Chris Carter).
5. Anasazi (David Duchovny, Chris Carter).
4. Colony/ End Game (David Duchovny, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz).
3. The Host (Chris Carter).
2. Humbug (Darin Morgan).
1. One Breath (Glen Morgan, James Wong).
I was actually torn between Little Green Men and The Calusari for the ten spot. I opted to give The Calusari the edge. The atmosphere in both entries is near perfect. Still, I was incredibly impressed by the sense of horror infused in The Calusari that reminded me or paid tribute to horror classics like The Exorcist (1973) and The Amityville Horror (1979). Nevertheless, I could just as easily have included Little Green Men by Morgan and Wong with direction by the always amazing David Nutter (Millennium, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) in that spot.
Overall though, Season Two is very good capitalizing even further on the strengths established in Season One. Episodes like Firewalker and even Fearful Symmetry have their moments. There are distinct images from those entries that remain unforgettable to me from the spores bursting forth from their victims in Firewalker to the zoo animals running amok and free following alien abduction in Fearful Symmetry. There are many wonderful episodes that simply do not disappoint. It's also the season that made my daughter herself, the Girl Wonder, a bit of a believer in the series.