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The X-Files, Supernatural

13 Ways Supernatural and The X-Files Are Basically the Same Show

There's no Supernatural without The X-Files, so let's look back on some of the great things both shows have in common

Winchester Week

As Supernatural prepares to bow out after 15 seasons on the air, TV Guide is reminiscing on the legacy the series will leave behind, including its best episodes, all the great guest stars who appeared on the show, and Sam and Dean Winchester's (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) singularly special brotherhood. But it's impossible to talk about the legacy of Supernatural without acknowledging how The WB-turned-CW drama grew from the shadow of another genre juggernaut: The X-Files.

The Fox sci-fi series, which starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents Mulder and Scully, first ran from 1993-2002, signing off three years before Supernatural debuted. (It later returned for two revival seasons, in 2016 and 2018.) The influence of The X-Files is all over Supernatural, and it's something the long-running CW drama has never tried to hide. The two shows not only explore a lot of similar topics but also share a lot of talent behind the scenes, most notably including the late Kim Manners, who served as an influential director and producer on Supernatural and The X-Files. Both series also largely filmed in Vancouver (The X-Files filmed four of its 11 seasons in Los Angeles), giving Supernatural and The X-Files that same Pacific Northwest vibe. And in Supernatural's very first episode, Dean even introduces himself and Sam as Agents Mulder and Scully. 

Celebrate the Supernatural Series Finale With Winchester Week

Though Supernatural no longer weaves in X-Files Easter eggs with the frequency it once did, we still love how much the series has paid tribute to the definitive paranormal procedural. So in honor of this bond, let's look at 13 things Supernatural and The X-Files have in common.

1. Both feature a nerdy, research-based partner

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2. And a more roguish, goofy partner.

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3. Together, the duos investigate monster-of-the-week cases...

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4. ...while taking on a larger, mythological threat.

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5. Mulder and Sam are each driven by the loss of a loved one.

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6. On both shows, one of our heroes' earliest foes was a yellow-eyed killer.

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7. The Lone Gunmen's legacy continues in the equally quirky and lovable (but probably less helpful) Ghostfacers.

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8. Since both shows were largely Vancouver-based, they also feature several of the same actors.

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9. You'll also notice a lot of similar storylines — like when Sam and Mulder both wake up covered in blood with no memory of what happened.

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10. Or when they come across fictionalized versions of themselves — and aren't necessarily thrilled.

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11. Each series shows the characters getting stuck in a time loop where one of them always dies.

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12. Supernatural's scariest episode, "The Benders," is an homage to The X-Files' scariest episode, "Home."

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13. And of course, there's that time this happened.

Supernatural's series finale airs Thursday, Nov. 19 at 9/8c on The CW. An hour-long retrospective, Supernatural: The Long Road Home, will air prior at 8/7c.


In honor of Supernatural coming to an end after 15 seasons, TV Guide presents Winchester Week, a celebration of Sam, Dean, and the entire SPN Family. Find out how the stars feel about saying goodbye, look back on the best episodes and moments, and join us in sending the Winchesters off in style.