Supernatural has accomplished what X-Files failed to do

Inside Pluckley, Britain's Most Haunted Village
Inside Pluckley, Britain's Most Haunted Village / Carl Court/GettyImages

Supernatural gets compared to The X-Files a lot, but has it finally surpassed its sibling rival?

If there’s a show to compare Supernatural to, historically that show has been The X-Files. Both series deal with the supernatural and both series have a pair of likable lead characters who have helped establish a grander universe.

The expansion of the story beyond the main plot — and the development of that plot — seems to be where to two shows have forked. Where X-Files hit strongly in its first handful of seasons, the show seemed to run its course by the end of the 90s with the alien conspiracy plot jumping the shark more than a few times. The revival hasn’t lit anyone on fire, which is a sad coda to one of the most incredible shows of all-time.

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Supernatural fans haven’t had to watch that downward trajectory, as the longevity of the show is one of the best things it has going for it. There’s a difference between being on the air a long time and being a consistently good show — Supernatural is the latter.

There will always be comparisons to X-Files, and culturally it might end up being more significant. But even as popular as that show was, Supernatural has managed an even line of success for well over a decade, which is something not only X-Files couldn’t do but most shows fail to do as well.

No disrespect to fans of that show, as there’s a ton of crossover, but Supernatural doesn’t get the type of credit it deserves for being as good as it’s been for as long as it’s been. Unlike its sister show, Supernatural isn’t dealing with a lead actor wanting to leave the series to find greener pastures. In fact, Jensen Ackles has said that he’s ready to be done acting but isn’t ready to be done with Supernatural, which is the polar opposite of what X-Files fans had to deal with when it came to David Duchovny. There’s also hope that Wayward Sisters can succeed where Millennium failed and be a spinoff that works.

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Both shows will always be linked, and there’s no doubting how important (and frankly amazing) peak X-Files was. But it’s time to start giving Supernatural a little more credit than most people seem willing to.