Some Mac sightings in The X-Files

Tech Life

Knowing that The X-Files, one of my all-time favourite TV series, would undergo a small reboot 14 years after its nine-season run, I’ve recently been rewatching past episodes, and seasons 6 through 9 in particular. I happened to notice a few Macs and Apple hardware here and there, sightings I admit I was surprised to have missed before. I wouldn’t say this was blatant product placement, because the camera never really lingers on the hardware. In most cases, it’s just a glimpse, but it made me smile nonetheless.

Here are a few captures:

From Drive (Season 6, Episode 2 — Air date: 15 November 1998) — At Scully’s workstation you can see what is likely a 17-inch Apple ColorSync display and the beautiful Apple Extended Keyboard II. The Mac these peripherals are connected to is out of sight, but chances are it was a Power Macintosh G3 minitower or one of the Power Macintosh 8xxx-9xxx series.


From The Rain King (Season 6, Episode 8 — Air date: 10 January 1999) — On the secretary’s desk, there’s an original iMac in all its glory.


From Tithonus (Season 6, Episode 10 — Air date: 24 January 1999) — On Scully’s desk, another 17-inch Apple ColorSync display, but this time with an AppleDesign Keyboard under it. Once again, you can’t see the Mac they’re attached to.


From The Sixth Extinction, Part II — Amor Fati (Season 7, Episode 2 — Air date: 14 November 1999) — On Scully’s desk, a PowerBook G3 ‘Lombard’ running a program called Image Master. (It can’t be a PowerBook G3 ‘Pismo’ because at the time the episode aired the Pismo had not been yet introduced.)


From Orison (Season 7, Episode 7 — Air date: 9 January 2000) — At the hospital they’ve upgraded the monitors, now using the 15-inch Studio Display, Apple’s first flat panel display. The original display, introduced in 1998, was dark blue and transparent; this is probably the third and last revision (Rev. C — M7612), with a DVI video connection and USB ports. The keyboard is an AppleDesign model. Again, no Mac in sight. I like to think it was a Blue & White Power Mac G3.


From All Things (Season 7, Episode 17 — Air date: 9 April 2000) — Agent Scully uses Apple hardware at home as well. On her desk is perched a 17-inch CRT Apple Studio Display. It could also be the larger 21-inch model, it’s a bit hard to tell because it’s never visible from the front, always from the side, but I tend to think it’s more likely a 17-inch model. These bulky displays were introduced in January 1999 along with the Blue & White Power Macintosh G3, and discontinued in July 2000. Their design was reminiscent of the original iMac, and the first series had a blueberry semitransparent shell. It changed to graphite with the introduction of the Power Mac G4 line.

Edited to add: On top of the display you can probably make out a dark, rounded object. It should be a black Connectix QuickCam. The QuickCam, developed in 1994, was basically the first popular webcam. The initial model was available only for the Macintosh, connecting to it via the serial port. It produced 16 shades of gray at a resolution of 320×240 pixels, and could record video at about 15 fps; it cost $100. (Source: Wikipedia). The model in the photo was possibly a QuickCam VC with USB connection.


From Per Manum (Season 8, Episode 13 — Air date: 18 February 2001) — The reception desk at the ‘Zeus Genetic’ clinic sports a complete Power Mac G4 Cube workstation, with the 15-inch (or 17-inch) Apple Studio Display and Harman Kardon SoundSticks (and I bet that there’s even an iSub under the desk). Sorry for the blurry capture, but the camera was panning quickly and this was the only way to catch all the hardware in one single image.


From Three Words (Season 8, Episode 16 — Air date: 8 April 2001) — Beautiful and unexpected, what can only be an iMac DV SE G3/500 ‘Snow’ (Summer 2000). I’d really love to add this to my vintage wishlist, but unfortunately I’m out of space.


From Sunshine Days (Season 9, Episode 18 — Air date: 12 May 2002) — If I remember well, here Scully is in a videoconference with agents Doggett and Reyes. Given that the episode aired before Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar was introduced, the GUI we’re looking at is Mac OS X 10.1 Puma. I don’t recognise the software, though. It could be some specific third-party application for videoconferencing, or some kind of modified QuickTime interface. I did chuckle at the hard drive’s name, MondoDrive.

That’s it for now. Maybe one day I’ll search through Seasons 1–5 and post more captures. I hope you enjoyed these.

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