Since David Duchovny has blasted out of The X-Files's orbit, and Gillian Anderson is counting down to her own take-off, it would make sense for UPN to position the stars of its high-spirited supernatural police show, Special Unit 2, as the next Mulder and Scully. But the very notion gives the giggles to leading lady Alexondra Lee, who plays by-the-book detective Kate Benson opposite Michael Landes's rogue cop Nick O'Malley.

"They're fighting real aliens on The X-Files," she points out to TV Guide Online. "They've got a serious job to do. We've got, like, fantasy creatures. We had models that turned into spider-women... and a monster that was made out of liposuction fat."

In the series's typically subversive sophomore-season premiere — airing tonight at 9 pm/ET — Lee and her slime-fighting colleagues square off with a body-snatching sandman who acts out their naughtiest dreams. But such a nightmarish foe isn't really representative of the program's regular, lightweight antagonists. Notes Lee: "We don't even have to kill all the monsters [all the time] because they're kind of fun to have around."

At least the actress acknowledges that the X-ual tension between Benson and O'Malley is reminiscent of the their Files forbears' muted mating dance. In fact, even the glacially slow evolution of the partners' relationship owes a debt to Mulder and Scully. "The producer has said that absolutely nothing will happen for a while, if ever," she insists. "In our fifth season, maybe we'll touch each other."

That said, Lee isn't exactly dreading potential Special Unit 2 love scenes. After all, back in 1996, she delighted in turning up the heat as Callie Martell, the Party of Five strumpet whose Coke-bottle curves enticed squeaky-clean collegian Bailey Salinger to drink more than soda. "That was even more fun than it looked like," she declares. "People hated me!

"And no, I'm not an alcoholic," she adds for the record. "But Scott Wolf is... Just kidding."