'Mulder, have you noticed that we're on television?' X-Cops, style and innovation

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


‘X-Cops’ innovates on The X-Files formula through stylistic variation and disruption of standard narration, as previous episodes had done. This paper argues that this underdiscussed episode also highlights key concerns of the series, mixing scientific rationality with tabloidism, and interrogating the concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ by combining The X-Files’ usual style with COPS’ reality television format. Reality television, in content and form, raises many questions about how ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ is framed and conveyed, and how we respond to it. Furthermore, mixing a ‘quality’ television drama with lowbrow infotainment challenges viewers to reflect on value judgements about types of television and types of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalScience Fiction Film and Television ('The Truth is Out There' The X-Files 20 Years On: A Special Issue)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • The X-Files
  • COPS
  • visual style
  • reality television
  • televisual conventions
  • documentary
  • quality television
  • horror
  • narrative


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