There were two things that hit me right from the start and neither really had anything to do with the story.
First was the dialog, I'm a sucker for good dialog. Any show that has 'nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted' deserved for me to check it out. Though, I was very upset with Scully's line about the 'vegetable' even that early on it seemed out of character for her.
The next thing that got me was the chemistry between Mulder and Scully. I'm not talking about sexual chemistry but when they were on screen there could have been a blue screen behind them. My eyes were drawn to them.
To be truthful, I was hooked on this show before it aired. The write ups made The X-Files a must see for me.
That's what I loved about Scully not only did she not take his crap in the beginning but she dished it out too. It was wonderful because from the beginning she made it clear to Mulder that she would not be dicked around. Unfortunately for her Mulder doesn't always listen haha.
It’s difficult assessing the very first episode of “The X Files” as a separate entity now that the show has a whole legacy, its very own mythology, behind it. But if we try to view it as if we were seeing it as what it is – the very first episode of a new series – what do we see?
Frankly, the main reaction is one of surprise. That the executives at FOX saw enough in what seems a fairly derivative show to greenlight it for a whole series. As a pilot, it’s weak and weedy. There’s certainly a degree of interest inherent in terms of the mystery itself, which actually gets dealt with in a rushed manner. Doesn’t the revelation that Billy Myles is the killer just suddenly spring out of left field? (Already at this early stage, Mulder’s intuition leads him in the right direction but hey, they’ve only got an hour.) Where did the ape corpse in the coffin come from? Surely they’re quite difficult to come by, especially in Hicksville, USA?
What the pilot does do is lay the show’s cards out on the table. A vaguely dissatisfying mystery left inconcluded, the corridors of power, the hint of governmental conspiracy. Notice I haven’t mentioned the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson, mainly because there isn’t any. His delivery often sounds wooden and this is particularly true of his first scene in his office when the two meet for the first time. Of course he would grow into his role but this is not evident from this first episode, while his crying scene in the woods just seems wimpy. Anderson’s inexperience is all too obvious too (definitely not helped by the hairstyling and clothing departments’ unsympathetic contributions). Her voice is uncertain and high pitched, she feels ill at ease which is understandable given that this is her first major assignment as an actress, and conversely, as an FBI agent.
All of which makes it sound like the Pilot is a waste of time. Not a bit of it. While everyone is quick to diss the studio and creators for milking the franchise, one must give them due credit for spotting the unrealised potential from only this first episode. As it transpired, the series pretty much found its feet with the second episode “Deep Throat”, so for that much we should be thankful for the Pilot. But the Holy Grail status it has been assigned by online X Philes seems to me to more of a notion based on romantic memory than the actual experience of watching of what is in effect a fairly stodgy episode.
I remember quite clearly my reaction to this first episode. This was my first sighting of this show and for me I remember it as an exciting event that I couldn't wait to experience the next week. The way it opened with the words "real events" were rather spooky. I remember being haunted by all the scenes of M&S in the woods and a little scared about what happened about the fire in the hotel.
I remember hating the scene with the kid in the cafe with the nose bleed and questioning the non human in the grave. I liked what went on between M&S in Mulder's hotel room and at the end I felt chemistry between them as Mulder seemed to be looking through the glass at Scully on the other side. I knew he couldn't see her but to me it felt as if they were looking at each other and questioning each other. That was my first opinion of this episode and my first reaction.
Later, I became more critical, but not viewing it for the first time.