Today, it’s a review of the fifth season of The
X-Files
. Tomorrow, I expect to have a review of the
movie, The X-Files: Fight The Future up in this
space.

Cast

David
Duchovny

as Fox Mulder.

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully.

The series creator was Chris
Carter
.
Complete cast and crew info can be found at this IMDB
page
.

Original Airdate

This season originally aired from 1997-1998.

Synopsis

This was the season that was filmed after the movie. The
creative
team had a target to hit, and only 20 episodes to get there.
Along
the way, they introduced us to Jeffrey Spender, Diana Fowley,
Gibson
Praise (who looks disturbingly like a young Frohike), an RV park
full
of vampires, the Pine Bluff variant, Cassandra Spender, the alien
rebels, and the Great Mutato.

High Point

“Post Modern Prometheus.” This, the black and white episode,
had
elements of comedy, of horror, of mystery, and of human drama,
all
wrapped up in an absolutely beautiful package with an incredible
musical score. It’s got it all.

Low Point

I debated choosing between “Schizogeny,” “Travelers,” and “All
Souls,”
as these three episodes were merely good, instead of the great
episodes that filled out the rest of the season. Instead, I’m going
with the problems introduced by the use of the widescreen
format.
Some episodes look great, but others have some continuity
problems
introduced. Every episode looks odd in the opening credits,
which
were merely cropped down to the new aspect ratio. The two
most
glaring continuity errors are in “Bad Blood” (in which a hand is
clearly visible putting a pointy stick on top of the chair Mulder
wrecked to make a stake) and in “The End,” in which a close up
of
Skinner is made while Mulder is speaking, but the side of Mulder’s
mouth is clearly visible and not moving. They were shooting in
16:9,
but they were still composing the shots for 4:3.

The Review

There were a few episodes of the season that felt truly
original, such as “Unusual Suspects,” “Post Modern
Prometheus,” “Bad Blood,” and “The Pine Bluff Variant.” Other
episodes simply did what The X-Files did better than
any
other show on the air, even if they’d done it before. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The effects this season were excellent. If it weren’t
for
“Schizogeny,” “Folie a Deux,” and the stake-bearing hand in
“Bad
Blood,” I’d say they were flawless. I give it 5 out of 6.

The stories in the “monster of the week” episodes
were well
written, and well plotted. The over-reaching story arc assembling
the
show’s mythology was very well crafted, inspired by the upcoming
feature film. Even the flawed episodes were undermined
primarily due
to special effects not living up to the scripts. I give it 6 out of
6.

The acting was starting to excel from the guest
actors as
well as the leads. Every season had had some good work, but
this was
really lacking in the occasional bad work. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was, and still
is, very
strong. The paranormal-free “Pine Bluff Variant” would be an
excellent episode in any law enforcement show. The “Post
Modern
Prometheus” is an excellent episode that could only otherwise fit
into
The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, or
some other
such anthology program. The mytharc episodes were classic
X-Files style. Still, every episode has some form of
resonance. The final scene from “The End” was a powerful
moment for
fans of the series. The opening scene from the same episode
was a
nice tribute to Vancouver, finally showing the city as itself before
the show made its move to Los Angeles. “Bad Blood” is still
laugh-out-loud funny, and the best use of the multiple-viewpoint
story
structure I can think of from the television medium. I give it 6 out
of 6.

The production was hampered by the sudden need
to compose a
shot to work in two aspect ratios simultaneously. The other
elements
were still firing on all cylinders, but some of the cinematography
just outright failed. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is probably the best season of The
X-Files
. This may be due, in part, to the limit of 20
episodes
instead of the 24 or 25 previous seasons had, allowing the
producers
to discard more of the less workable ideas. It may be because of
the
rush in knowing that the ratings were higher than they’d ever
been,
and that the show’s success had led to it becoming the first series
to
produce a theatrical release while the television series was still
producing new episodes. For whatever reasons, they nailed it. I
give
it 6 out of 6.

In total, The X-Files: Season Five receives 37 out of
42.