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
This season originally aired from 1997-1998.
This was the season that was filmed after the movie. The
team had a target to hit, and only 20 episodes to get there.
the way, they introduced us to Jeffrey Spender, Diana Fowley,
Praise (who looks disturbingly like a young Frohike), an RV park
of vampires, the Pine Bluff variant, Cassandra Spender, the alien
rebels, and the Great Mutato.
“Post Modern Prometheus.” This, the black and white episode,
elements of comedy, of horror, of mystery, and of human drama,
wrapped up in an absolutely beautiful package with an incredible
musical score. It’s got it all.
I debated choosing between “Schizogeny,” “Travelers,” and “All
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
Some episodes look great, but others have some continuity
introduced. Every episode looks odd in the opening credits,
were merely cropped down to the new aspect ratio. The two
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
Skinner is made while Mulder is speaking, but the side of Mulder’s
mouth is clearly visible and not moving. They were shooting in
but they were still composing the shots for 4:3.
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
other show on the air, even if they’d done it before. I give it 4 out
The effects this season were excellent. If it weren’t
“Schizogeny,” “Folie a Deux,” and the stake-bearing hand in
Blood,” I’d say they were flawless. I give it 5 out of 6.
The stories in the “monster of the week” episodes
written, and well plotted. The over-reaching story arc assembling
show’s mythology was very well crafted, inspired by the upcoming
feature film. Even the flawed episodes were undermined
to special effects not living up to the scripts. I give it 6 out of
The acting was starting to excel from the guest
well as the leads. Every season had had some good work, but
really lacking in the occasional bad work. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response this produced was, and still
strong. The paranormal-free “Pine Bluff Variant” would be an
excellent episode in any law enforcement show. The “Post
Prometheus” is an excellent episode that could only otherwise fit
The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, or
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
fans of the series. The opening scene from the same episode
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
structure I can think of from the television medium. I give it 6 out
The production was hampered by the sudden need
to compose a
shot to work in two aspect ratios simultaneously. The other
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
instead of the 24 or 25 previous seasons had, allowing the
to discard more of the less workable ideas. It may be because of
rush in knowing that the ratings were higher than they’d ever
and that the show’s success had led to it becoming the first series
produce a theatrical release while the television series was still
producing new episodes. For whatever reasons, they nailed it. I
it 6 out of 6.
In total, The X-Files: Season Five receives 37 out of