How Many Episodes Is 'The X-Files' Revival? Enjoy This Time With Mulder & Scully While You Can

Science-fiction is not always a genre that fares well on television. Even when a sci-fi show is critically acclaimed, it never seems to last all that long — just ask fans of Firefly or Fringe. But there are exceptions to every rule... and FOX's The X-Files is one of them. The long-running hit series lasted for nine seasons from September of 1993 through May of 2002, consisting of a whopping 202 episodes packed to the gills with aliens, monsters, and cigarette-smoking men. (That's two seasons longer that it should've lasted, if you ask fans still irked over those two Mulder-less final seasons.) That's a lot of hours of television; and now there will be even more, thanks to FOX's upcoming revival of the show. But how much more? How many episodes is the new season of The X-Files ?

When the show went off the air in 2002, it was averaging "only" 9.1 million viewers per episode in its ninth season, which put The X-Files at #67 on the list of TV's highest-rated shows. (Friends was the #1 show that year, with 24.5 million weekly viewers, on average.) I say "only" because, while those numbers may have been mediocre 14 years ago, pretty much any broadcast television network this year would be happy to be pulling that many viewers on a weekly basis. Empire, which also airs on FOX, drew a very comparable 9.21 million viewers for its Nov. 25 episode — and that's the highest-rated show on network television today.

Thanks to The X-Files' relatively solid numbers (by today's standards) when the show was last on the air, the built-in brand recognition, and our culture's growing acceptance of all things sci-fi (thanks primarily to a couple companies named Marvel and D.C.) you might think that FOX was taking full advantage of this perfect storm by bringing Agents Mulder and Scully back full-time — if not for a complete 22-episode season, then at least for an increasingly-normal 13-episode half-season. But, sadly, you'd be wrong.

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FOX's revival of The X-Files will only air a scant six episodes, starting this Sunday and finishing on Feb. 22, before it vanishes once more into TV purgatory. This weekend's premiere bears the title "My Struggle," which it shares with the season finale, "My Struggle II." In between we'll get the eclectically titled "Founder's Mutation," "Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster," "Home Again" (a reference to perhaps the series' most infamous episode), and "Babylon."

That may not seem like much (and it isn't) but there's always the chance that FOX could decide to bring The X-Files back for another go-'round if this one does well in the ratings. Billing any show as a "limited" or "event" series in the way that FOX is advertising The X-Files is both a way for the network to heavily hype a new property — and to save face in the event that it underperforms. (See: FOX's Wayward Pines , which was renewed for Season 2, and NBC's Heroes Reborn , which wasn't.)

If the world welcomes back Mulder and Scully with open arms, then FOX will likely be more than happy to produce a second batch of episodes sometime in the future — David Duchovny's and Gillian Anderson's schedules permitting. X-Files creator Chris Carter certainly seems hopeful. "It's been talked about," he told TV Guide earlier this week. "Certainly it's been suggested. It's been mentioned in casual conversation. But I think everyone's taking a wait and see approach and I'm taking it as well." Carter remains adamant that, even after 208 episodes, he still has more ideas: "There's lots more X-Files, endless X-Files, to tell. If I'm given the opportunity, time and money and place to do it, of course I'd be interested."

I want to believe that will be the case; but for now we'll just have to sit back and enjoy these six new episodes we've been blessed with... and hope for the best.

Images: Ed Araquel/FOX; Giphy.com