The Short-Lived X-Files Spinoff Erased From The Internet Is Impossible To Watch Today 

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

ryan coogler x-files

X-Files fans who want to stream the alien-hunting adventures of Mulder and Scully can do so easily enough…after all, the entire series is currently on Hulu. However, the show had a short-lived spinoff called The Lone Gunmen which is currently unavailable to stream on any service. Considering how overpriced the DVDs have become on the secondary market, we think it’s past time for Hulu or another major platform to bring this quirky spinoff to modern audiences.

The Lone Gunmen

the lone gunmen series

Just what was The Lone Gunmen about? As you might expect, the show revolves around the titular trio the show is named for as they get in over their heads in various conspiracies. From the very first season of The X-Files, this group (consisting of John Fitzgerald Byers, Melvin Frohike, and Richard Langly) utilized their connections and computer skills to help Agent Fox Mulder in his endless quest to expose the existence of aliens and other secrets that nefarious government forces try to keep hidden. 

As characters, The Lone Gunmen only grew more popular over time, and once The X-Files became a mainstream pop culture hit, it made sense to give this geeky trio their own spinoff. The show premiered and ultimately ended in 2001, and it had several different creators. Notably, future Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan helped X-Files creator Chris Carter bring this strange new spinoff to life.

A Worthy Addition To The X-Files Universe

the lone gunmen series

For the most part, The Lone Gunmen got solid reviews from critics, most of whom enjoyed this expansion of the X-Files universe. Why, then, did the show only last for 13 episodes before being canceled? There was no conspiracy involving the Cigarette Smoking Man…in this case, the show’s low ratings were enough to convince Fox to pull the plug.

With that being said, it’s not entirely clear why The Lone Gunmen isn’t currently available on streaming. It’s one thing for the show to get canceled for bad ratings over two decades ago, but in the streaming era, such an obscure show could thrive and even find a new cult audience. If we had to speculate, one reason why this show has been kept from streaming is the ongoing controversy surrounding its bonkers pilot episode.

Problematic Terrorist Plot May Be To Blame

the lone gunmen series

You see, the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen involved a plot where rogue government agents try to pilot a major airliner into the World Trade Center and make it look like a terrorist attack. Obviously, the general plot of flying a plane into the WTC is frighteningly similar to the actual 9/11 attack that occurred six months later.

To make matters worse, the episode’s revelation that secret government forces merely wanted to use terrorists as scapegoats echoes many real-world conspiracy theories about the role that George W. Bush or other powerful government forces may have had in the attack on the Twin Towers.

Again, that is only speculation on our part, but it makes sense that The Lone Gunmen pilot eerily predicting the 9/11 attacks that happened only half a year later would keep streamers from showing it. Of course, it may be actively kept off streaming services for far more prosaic reasons. 

Still An Entertaining Series On Its Own

the lone gunmen series

For example, even the biggest fans of The X-Files were disappointed by that show’s revival. If the fans barely wanted to show up for more Mulder and Scully, streamers may worry that nobody will actually watch episodes of The Lone Gunmen. That’s a shame, though.

Despite your feelings on the admittedly crazy pilot, the short-lived show gave us onscreen adventures as entertaining as they were enthralling, anchored by a core cast whose charisma proved they were more than ready for prime time.

Impossible To Watch Today

the lone gunmen series

The Lone Gunmen is impossible to watch today unless you spring for the DVDs, and with streaming being so chaotic now, it’s always a good idea for fans to build a robust collection of physical media. Still, we’re rooting for someone to put this great show on streaming so that it can be discovered by a new generation of nerdy fans. Remember, Hulu: the audience, much like the truth, is out there.