Several years ago, I was on the sidelines in all discussions about a brilliant new show called The X-Files. I'd missed the first few episodes, so when I finally tuned in, I didn't know the Marlboro Man from the ice cream man.

But then, right as I was about to give up on the series and accept my fate as a social outcast, Fox was kind enough to provide me with a complete primer, introducing all the characters, explaining the interwoven plot lines, and cluing me in on the will-they-or-won't-they relationship between Mulder and Scully. Finally up to speed, I was a faithful viewer of the show from there on -- at least until the Terminator 2 guy took over for David Duchovny.

Why do I share this story of an early television addiction? Because at 4 p.m. EST today, Motley Fool Rule Breakers will be releasing its review of the first 12 months of the service, bringing you up to speed on all 23 active selections by Fool co-founder David Gardner and his investment team, looking at all the early adopters, biotechnology companies, and nanotechnology plays that made it to the ranks of the formal recommendations.

Growing or gorging?
Now don't get us wrong: we're buy-to-hold -- and hold-and-hold -- investors. But with growth stocks on the way up, it's always worthwhile to make sure your investment thesis is still applicable. Why? Because sometimes management becomes intoxicated by growth and tries to make their mark on the market. That often steers the company away from its bread and butter in the name of a short-term bump. That's bad -- and certainly not a reason to add new money to a position.

Take Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), for example. There was a time when Starbucks wanted to be an online lifestyle dot-com. Huh? That's a classic example of a soaring growth stock getting too big for its britches -- to the detriment of its shareholders. Thankfully, the company refocused on its core coffee business to great rewards. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) recently acquired Skype, and, well, I'm confused by the deal. The hope is that CEO Meg Whitman knows what she's doing, but I can't immediately see the synergies between the two venerable firms.

Or there's Great Wolf Resorts (NASDAQ:WOLF), which the Rule Breakers team recommended in April and sold in July. Their reason: the company lowered earnings guidance twice in only seven months as a public company. The Rule Breakers team firmly believes that any recent IPO hoping to become the next phenomenon must hit the ground running, as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) did in August 2004 -- offering no guidance and then blowing away analyst estimates. Great Wolf hit the ground in a wheelchair.

Also consider JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:JDSU), a very successful company that turned a bit too aggressive with its growth and started acquiring like crazy -- right before the bubble burst. Acquiring smaller competitors can have powerful effects on the bottom line, but JDS Uniphase seemingly overpaid for its acquisitions -- the company wrote down nearly $45 billion in goodwill relating to acquisitions of SDL and E-Tek Dynamics, among others.

These are all traits to avoid and a reason to stay on top of your portfolio.

When the big picture gets fuzzy
Another reason to give your portfolio a check-up from time to time might be obvious, but it's worth repeating. Take it from Peter Lynch. In his classic book Beating the Street, Lynch writes: "The best stock to buy may be the one you already own." That's sound advice, but it can be a real challenge to pinpoint the one winner in a portfolio of 10 to 20 stocks.

Moreover, a lot of folks assume value when they see stocks that are substantially down for the year. Others see stocks that are way up and assume they're overpriced. But that's not always the case. The stock that David (Gardner, not Duchovny) and his team are re-recommending to subscribers today is already up more than 50% since it was first singled out by the team.

David was also a big fan of Taser (NASDAQ:TASR) when he recommended it last December. Since then, shares have dropped more than 70% for a number of reasons, not the least of which is sensationalized media coverage. Does this represent a buying opportunity for shrewd investors, or does more trouble await the stun gun maker? Only due diligence can help you tell the difference.

On the flip side, electronic stock exchange Archipelago is up more than 100% in the eight months since it became a formal Rule Breakers selection. Will the team see that jump as a trigger to part ways with their shares, or can this monster keep climbing?

It's worth tuning in to find out. Ten of the 23 active Rule Breakers selections have increased in value more than 25% since they were picked, at a time when the market has mostly treaded water. Taking all the winners and losers together, the newsletter service is up 12.43% on average, vs. the market's jump of 3.53%.

Foolish final thoughts
If you take a no-obligation 30-day free trial today, you'll get to see the company the team feels is the best bet for new money now, as well as a new growth firm that joins the ranks of the Rule Breakers. And you get access to all of the initial recommendation write-ups, plus what the team thinks of them now. If you don't like what you see, just quit. But especially with the review issue coming out this afternoon, it's worth a look. After all, the truth is out there.

Roger Friedman is the managing editor of newsletters and the author of Nipple Confusion, Uncoordinated Pooping and Spittle: The Life of a Newborn's Father . Roger wears pants. He does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.