Timeline Background
 

The X-Files Timeline has been on the web for over sixteen years!  We are one of the few remaining "original" fan websites that were created during the FOX network run of the series.  In calendar year 2013, we had almost 50,000 unique daily visitors and over 110,000 pages downloaded, with an annual download bandwidth of 5.3 gigabytes of timeline pages. This is down from what it used to be (34 gigabytes in 2005) but still not bad for a series that has been off the air since 2002.

ORIGINS & GROWTH

This site was developed over countless hours and multiple viewings of X-Files episodes. It was begun around Christmas, 1996, at the request of a friend who needed a basic timeline for an X-Files fan fiction project. It was later expanded as part of my academic study of creativity in television and the dynamics of fandom (I hold a doctorate and teach college-level Mass Communication).  For several years during the FOX television run of the X-Files, starting around 1997, I had the opportunity to see a closed-circuit network satellite feed of the Sunday evening episode on Sunday mornings.  I would watch the episode, write a story summary, and place it on this website by mid-morning, thus offering "spoilers."  During this era, it was not unusual to get 10-15,000 homepage "hits" a month, mostly on Sundays.

The Timeline has been available on the Internet since late June of 1997. On November 14, 1997, YAHOO added this Timeline to its featured sites on its X-Files page and mentioned the site in Yahoo Internet Life publication, greatly increasing traffic to the 200-600 per day range. Largely thanks to being listed by YAHOO, this Timeline passed the 10,000 "hit" mark on January 5, 1998.

On January 20, 1998, Suite 101, based in Vancouver BC (later absorbed by the now-defunct fandom.com), named The X-Files Timeline as one of its top five X-Files sites on the web, sharing that honor with then-well-known sites such as Tiny Dancer's X-Files Episode Guide and the Gossamer Project fan fiction archives. Several additional WWW awards were received in those early years -- to the point that we no longer had room to display them (and they mainly wanted to get traffic back to their sites by generating click-throughs, anyway).

On April 30, 2001, after five years on the servers of The University of South Dakota, this site moved to a private domain. As the result of a job change, my affiliation with the university changed, making it seem wise to move these files to a domain where we have full control.

Due to the demands of my academic life, I rarely have much time  to work on this site, anthough it received a minor facelift during Spring Break 2007.  It would be fun to go back and augment the episode summaries for some that are brief (typically written before the "Sunday morning spoiler" era) but don't count on it.  :-)  I deliberately do not offer my email address on this site because I usually don't have time to reply.  If you really NEED to find me, you probably can. 

DATES

Assembling dates in the fashion needed for this Timeline was often problematical. I have virtually every X-Files episode on tape and often freeze-framed to inspect documents that might contain dates or other information. Closed captioning often provided spellings. The now-defunct Official X-Files Site was used for spellings. All of the narrative information on the episodes is my own, with the exception of a few lines here and there suggested by readers.

I have attempted to differentiate confirmed dates and events with those that are speculative. In most cases, I include notes indicating my justification for giving the dates I do. Your mileage may certainly vary on interpretations because the series is often ambiguous about whether the scientific or the fantastic explanation is true. In addition, some entire episodes may be untrue (within the context of the X-Files universe) and not really part of the series continuity. For example, in Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, are the events we see real? Are they the biased memories of the Smoking Man? Or are they based on Frohike's reading of a work of fiction?

VISITORS AND THE NUMBERS

All references to "hits" below are based on the home page counter as opposed to actual server hits, unless otherwise indicated.

This site first appeared on the World Wide Web in June of 1997. It began attracting attention slowly, passing the 20,000 "hit" mark on March 17, 1998; 30,000 "hits" on May 21, 1998; and 35,000 "hits" on June 15, 1998. A burst of hits connected to the release of the first X-Files theatrical film caused the Timeline to receive 5,000 hits in 14 days and reach the 40,000 mark on June 29th, the approximate one year anniversary of the premier of this Timeline on the WWW. 50,000 hits was passed on September 18, 1998; and 55,000 hits on my birthday, October 27. We reached 60,000 hits on November 15th, 1998; 70,000 hits on December 12; 80,000 on January 11; and 90,000 on February 5, 1999.

A major surge of interest surrounding the episodes Two Fathers and One Son led to reaching 95,000 hits just 4 days after the 90,000 mark was hit, on February 9, and 100,000 hits the following week, on February 14, 1999. We passed 130,000 hits on April 18th; 140,000 on May 3; and 150,000 hits on May 19, 1999. Things slowed down when The X-Files was in reruns. Over the 1999 summer months we had 20,000 hits, passing 170,000 on November 4, a few days before the season premier. 190,000 hits was passed on November 28, the day before the broadcast of the final new episode of calendar year 1999.

We passed 200,000 hits on December 14, 1999, meaning we had 100,000 hits in ten months. 210,000 was passed on January 16, 2000; 220,000 on February 11; 230,000 on February 27; 240,000 on March 19, 2000; 250,000 on April 09; 260,000 on May 2 and 270,000 on May 20, 2000. A burst of interest surrounding the season finale added 10,000 in just over a week, with the site passing 280,000 on May 28. 290,000 hits was passed on July 11, 2000. We passed the big 300,000 mark on August 26; reached 310,000 on October 13; 320,000 on November 8; 330,000 on November 22; 340,000 on December 11; 350,000 on December 27; 360,000 on January 14; 370,000 on January 25; 380,000 on February 10; and 390,000 on February 22, 2001.

The big 400,000 hit mark was passed on March 5; 410,000 was passed on April 1; 420,000 on April 12; 430,000 on April 22; and 440,000 on April 29; and 460,000 on May 13; 480,000 on May 23; and 490,000 on June 6. We passed the big 500,000 mark on July 1, 2001; 510,000 on August 11; and 525,000 on October 18; 550,000 on November 19; and 560,000 on December 24, 2001. The site reached 570,000 on January 21; 580,000 on February 27; 590,000 on March 10; and 600,000 on March 24, 2002.

An unprecedented burst of over 40,000 hits on the day of the series finale (65,000 over two days) pushed the Timeline past 650,000 on the evening of May 19, 2002 (shortly after the east coast airing of the episode ended) and past 700,000 on May 21. We reached 750,000 on November 24, 2002; 800,000 on October 7, 2003; 825,000 on December 29, 2003; 850,000 on April 27, and 875,000 on August 30, 2004.  The site passed 900,000 on December 9, 2004, 925,000 on March 29, 2005; 950,000 0n June 10; 975,000 on August 17; 1 million on October 23; 1,020,000 on December 28; 1,050,000 on March 25, 2006; 1,100,000 on October 8, 2006; 1,150,000 on August 14, 2007; 1.2 million on June 4, 2008; 1.25 million on January 13, 2010; and 1.3 million on February 5, 2011. At the end of 2013 we were at 1.368 million hits.

Our server recorded 7,050 unique daily visitors on July 20, 2008, the Sunday before The X-Files: I Want to Believe premiered, with heavy traffic over the remaining days until the premier as well.  On July 20, 17,954 pages were downloaded with almost a quarter million server hits.  July 2008, overall, doubled the average monthly unique users of recent months, and was by far the highest traffic month since the series ended.

COPYRIGHT

Original material in this Timeline, including all related files on this web site, is copyright 1996-2014 by Michael Marek, all rights reserved, and may not be reproduced without permission. Excerpts were used in the Blu-ray edition extras of the The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

DISCLAIMER: This web site is not produced or endorsed by FOX TELEVISION or 1013 PRODUCTIONS or any subsidiaries or affiliates.  It is my belief that any copyrighted or trademarked material appearing on this site complies with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law for the purposes of review, study, criticism, or news reporting. All graphics are original creations, exist in the public domain, or are used with permission. All text was written by the author, submitted by readers, or otherwise used with permission. 

I consider the episode summaries, specifically, to be within the provisions of fair use for purposes of study and review. Also note that this site is strictly noncommercial.



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