The X-Files Spin-Off You Never Knew Existed

Three conspiracy theorists had a minor role in “The X-Files over the years.” Mulder (naturally) connected with these rabbit-hole dwellers, known as “The Lone Gunmen.” They would occasionally help out with some murky info or shadowy pursuit to aid the team’s investigation. There was Richard “Ringo” Langly (Dean Haglund), John Byers (Bruce Harwood), and Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood). Each of them had a very distinct look, which made them come across like a hacker version of The Village People — and in an increasingly online-relevant society, the famous sidekicks got their own spin-off show.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. “The Lone Gunmen” lasted only 13 episodes, and it was pretty clear why. Aside from the dark-web trio making better sidekicks than leads, “The X-Files” didn’t work without Mulder and Scully as the driving force. Those characters with their dynamic (and the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson — at least onscreen) are everything that was missing from “The Lone Gunman.” Even when Duchovny left “The X-Files” for a while near the end of its initial run, the flagship show suffered. 

But that doesn’t diminish Langly, Byers, and Frohike’s impact on the franchise. While they may have worked best in smaller doses, “The X-Files” wouldn’t have been the same without the conspiracy-slinging contributions of “The Lone Gunmen.”


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