The X-Files spin-off you never knew existed
Three conspiracy theorists have had minor roles in “The X-Files” over the years. Mulder is (naturally) related to those rabbit hole dwellers, known as “The Lone Gunmen”. They would sometimes help with obscure information or an obscure pursuit to aid the team’s investigation. There were 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 look like a hacker version of The Village People – and in an increasingly relevant online society, the famous sidekicks got their own spinoff show.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. “The Lone Gunmen” only lasted 13 episodes, and it was pretty clear why. Aside from the dark web trio making better sidekicks than leads, “The X-Files” hasn’t worked without Mulder and Scully as a driving force. These characters with their dynamics (and the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson – at least on screen) are all that “The Lone Gunman” lacked. Even when Duchovny left “The X-Files” for a while towards the end of its first broadcast, the flagship show suffered.
But that doesn’t diminish the impact of Langly, Byers and Frohike on the franchise. While they might have worked best in smaller doses, “The X-Files” wouldn’t have been the same without the conspiratorial contributions of “The Lone Gunmen”.