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The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series. It is part of The X-Files franchise, created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 (1993-09-10) to May 19, 2002 (2002-05-19), spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes. The series recounted the exploits of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries that debunk Mulder's work and thus return him to mainstream cases. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger conflict and come to trust only each other. They develop a close relationship, which begins as a platonic friendship, but becomes a romance by series end. In addition to the series-spanning story arc, "Monster-of-the-Week" episodes formed roughly two-thirds of the episodes. In such stand-alone episodes, Mulder and Scully investigated strange crimes that had no effect on the show's mythology, though the episodes enriched the show's background.

The X-Files was inspired by shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Darkside and especially Kolchak: The Night Stalker. When creating the main characters, Carter sought to reverse the usual gender stereotypes and made Mulder a believer and Scully a skeptic. For the first seven seasons, the show featured Duchovny and Anderson equally. In the last two seasons Anderson became the star, while Duchovny appeared intermittently, following a lawsuit. New main characters were introduced: FBI agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). Mulder and Scully's boss, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), also became a main character. The first five seasons of The X-Files were filmed and produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the series eventually moved to Los Angeles, California to accommodate Duchovny.

The X-Files was a hit for the Fox network; initially it was considered a cult show, but eventually gained mainstream popularity. By the time it ended, the show had become the longest-running science fiction series in U.S. television history. The series spawned a spin-off show, and two feature films. The series received largely positive reviews from television critics, although its long-term story arc was criticized near the show's conclusion. The series won multiple Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and Duchovny and Anderson received multiple award nominations. It became a popular culture touchstone, tapping into public mistrust of governments and large institutions and embracing conspiracy theories and spirituality.

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Rob Bowman directed "Gender Bender".
"Gender Bender" is the fourteenth episode of the television series The X-Files. The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. In this episode, they investigate a series of murders following sexual encounters, and soon discover that a member of a religious sect living in Massachusetts may be responsible—and may not be human. Premiering on the Fox network on January 21, 1994, it was directed by Rob Bowman (pictured) and featured guest appearances by Brent Hinkley and Nicholas Lea. The episode was inspired by producer Glen Morgan's desire for "an episode with more of a sexy edge"; however, the writers found it difficult to write a story that showed sex as scary. This difficulty led to the introduction of an Amish-like community as well. "Gender Bender" had mixed critical responses, facing criticism for its abrupt deus ex machina ending. Academic analysis of the episode has placed it within a science-fiction tradition that attributes a powerful, supernatural element to physical contact with aliens. It has also been seen as reflecting anxieties about emerging gender roles in the 1990s.

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