Let’s be honest: while fans love the scare factor in The X-Files, the real reason that they keep coming has nothing to do with the paranormal. The keep coming for the same two reasons fans of Fringe and Supernatural return: the relationship between the main characters and the deeper concepts each show touches on.
In The X-Files, one only has to look at Dana Scully’s journey from Season 1 through Season 9 to generate some pretty heated conversations. Did she end up vulnerable and broken? Or on the contrary, is she stronger than before by the end of Season 9?
There is also the quality of the relationship between her and Fox Mulder; while the budding romance was one thing that kept fans going, the respect they gave each other’s opinions and views–even when eye rolling seemed imminent–is a vital lesson we should all learn in an increasingly multi-cultural world. There is also a lot to be learned in the major obstacle the two agents faced: the perceived dichotomy between their points of view.
Fringe was mostly about the theme of perception–i.e. how you perceive the world can greatly influence the way you live in it–which in turn influences the way we understand the concept of good versus evil, another theme that was touched upon throughout the series’ five seasons. But there are a great many other themes that are discussed, one of my favorites being grief and detachment.
One of the main themes in Supernatural of course is that of family, both biological and chosen. Another one is the underhanded criticism of the hypocrisy in our society. And, of course, there are the ongoing discussions about good versus evil, as well as the real meaning of religious icons and lore. And you thought it was just about two pretty faces.