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Before 1993, television audiences had no idea who the Cigarette Smoking Man was or that "Fox" could be a first name. But over its nine-season run, The X-Files—following FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully—has built one of television's strongest fan bases and become a pop-culture icon.

In the last few seasons, the show has lost momentum. Star David Duchovny left to make movies. Long-running story lines have been tied up. And most of the show's mystery, like that surrounding the shadowy Cigarette Smoking Man, has evaporated. Last week, the show's creator Chris Carter announced that the series will end in May.

The decline of The X-Files, argued a Christian critic earlier this season, is especially bad news for believers. At one time, it was one of few programs on television asking compelling questions about the nature of belief.

Last week we looked at what Christian critics had to say about this season's new shows, but are there other mainstream shows worth a Christian's time?

Roberto Rivera, columnist for BreakPoint Online, recently wrote that "just as a wasteland isn't totally devoid of life—flowers will grow almost anywhere—mass culture isn't completely lacking in grace and insight."

Two of those flowers, he says, are Angel and Babylon 5. Meanwhile, Christian publications continue to write on The Simpsons.

* * *


BreakPoint Online columnist Alex Wainer wrote at the beginning of this season that The X-Files need to be closed. While once a powerful presence in pop-culture—and one with important thoughts for Christians—the Fox series now merely limps, Wainer says.

"The inspiration that made the show a hit has worn thin," he writes. "Networks flog a successful series past its useful life until it can be seen wandering zombie-like, ...

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January 2002

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