Anyone still sceptical about the theory that aliens disguised as humans are attempting to take control of the planet need only look at Donald Trump, but nonetheless The X Files returns tonight for a six-episode series on Channel 5 reviving its efforts to convince the world that everything you’re scared of really does exist.

For the uninitiated, the show, which originally ran over 202 episodes and two movie spin-offs between 1993 and 2008, followed the paranormal investigations of two FBI special agents – firm UFO believer Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and his more scientifically minded partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a woman who could be shown a pulsing Venusian probe lodged firmly in an abductee’s sphincter and argue it was probably a sex toy.

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The series was largely episodic, as the pair faced down an array of monsters week-by-week, but amongst them were dotted episodes which advanced the programme’s overall story arc involving the shadowy Smoking Man, a mysterious government agency and an outlandish alien plot to wipe out the human race with a black biological eye juice. Here, since you’ve probably forgotten it all by now, is a quick refresher ahead of the show’s Channel 5 airing in early 2015.

Aliens Are Coming To Enslave You

Throughout the nine seasons of The X Files, Mulder and Scully were on a mission to uncover a rogue agency operating with in the US government known as The Syndicate. Their main nemesis was the Smoking Man (William B Davis), a cancerous Man In Black and main Syndicate player constantly trying to bury the evidence of aliens already living on Earth that the couple uncover. As the series progressed it became clear that the Syndicate were the only human organisation in contact with a race of aliens planning to invade the Earth and turn all humans into their slaves by use of a sentient virus called the black oil.

Other Aliens Are Coming To Save You

The Syndicate secretly worked on developing a vaccine and a human-alien hybrid immune to the virus while simultaneously brokering a deal with the aliens to be the only humans spared. But a completely separate bunch of aliens have other ideas; this rebel faction is out to stop the colonisation altogether. In a season six double episode, the entire Syndicate (except for the Smoking Man) and their families gathered to be beamed up by the colonists ahead of the destruction of humanity, only to find it was a rebel trap, and they all burn to skeletal crisps. Earth saved!

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The Government Is Run By Alien Infiltrators

Earth not saved! With no Syndicate to do their dirty work, the pesky colonists decided to simply take over the Earth’s governments directly, and sent human-looking Super Soldiers to replace key figures. It sounds unbelievable, but this may well explain why David Cameron doesn’t know the correct human way to relate to a pig.

Mulder And Scully Were Fugitives

Having spent much of the final season missing, Mulder was reunited with Scully in the final episode The Truth, when she helped him escape a death sentence for killing one of the Super Soldiers while uncovering the invasion plans. On the run, they went in search of a ‘wise man’ who is said to be able to make sense of the plans he saw, only to find that said ‘wise man’ is in fact the Smoking Man, hiding up in New Mexico to avoid the colonisation – due on December 22, 2012. He didn’t manage to escape the black helicopters that blew up his house, mind. Or did he?

The FBI Has Forgiven Them

Their last screen outing, 2008’s second movie adaptation The X Files: I Want To Believe, involved the FBI calling off their manhunt for Mulder if he and Scully helped them solve a bizarre murder case involving a team of mad surgeons transplanting heads all over the place. So all is in place for the X Files to be reopened.

Yes Yes, But Are They Still Shagging?

As of the end of the movie, Mulder and Scully were still an item, but preview clips of the new series suggest that they’ve since split. They’re seen living apart, having troubled discussions and Scully refers to Mulder as her “friend”. So expect The Ex Files this time round.

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