PASADENA, Calif. — Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny say they learned to appreciate being known for “The X-Files” characters that made them sci-fi sex symbols more than 20 years ago.

“It took me a long time to embrace it after we were done with the series,” Anderson said Friday, joining Duchovny and series creator Chris Carter at a TV critics’ meeting to promote the upcoming six-episode reboot of the Fox series.

“It took a good decade for me to start thinking of it as the gift that it was and appreciate the opportunity I had and how fortunate I was to play a great, iconic character in a show that was iconic in itself,” said Anderson.

Duchovny, who played FBI agent Fox Mulder to Anderson’s agent Scully in the 1993-2002 drama, said that perspective was key to revisiting it. “The X-Files” debuts Jan. 24 on Fox.

“It took awhile to recognize it as the gift that it is, and that’s why we’re able to come back now,” Duchovny said. “It acted as a spur to me to go out and actually do more work, to keep expanding myself as an artist.”

Both followed the “X-Files” and its two follow-up movies with very different work. Duchovny starred in Showtime’s “Californication” and branched into writing books and music. Anderson appeared in a variety of stage and screen projects that included classics “Bleak House” and “Great Expectations,” both for TV.

Carter said the limited run will include “mythology” episodes, such as those in the original series that focused on Mulder’s effort to prove a government cover-up about aliens on Earth.

– From news service reports