The X-Files - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD, 2004, 6-Disc Set, Collector's Edition; Sensormatic)

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The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season - Mythology, Monsters, and More....

Jun 18, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:excellent episodes outside the mythology, more humor blended into stories, good DVD extras

Cons:vieweing deleted scenes, need to view the last four seasons to appreciate this one

The Bottom Line: The series has some of the best episodes this season, including work by Stephen King as the ongoing mythology gets even more convoluted.


Contains spoilers for previous seasons of the series. You've been warned.

Over the course of five seasons, The X-Files evolved.  It began innocently enough as a show that really didn't have an ongoing story-arc, although there was the background of FBI Agent Fox Mulder (portrayed by David Duchovny) being motivated to make his life's work a series of FBI cases that seemed unexplainable.  His sister Samantha has disappeared one night when they were young and Mulder believed she was abducted by aliens.  Now an FBI agent, there were initially many hints at his life and cases he worked on somehow were connected to what happened to Samantha.

A situation developed over the show's run where Mulder's partner, Dana Scully (portrayed by Gillian Anderson) was similarly abducted. The storyline was prompted by Anderson's pregnancy in real life, but it marked a turning point of sorts.  At this point the show changed from one where the stories were pretty much stand-alone with a different very strange story every week to one where an ongoing story-arc was woven in between the stand-alone episodes. As the years went on, it seemed that more and more the show became about what had become known as "The X-Files Mythology" and less and less about the stand-alone episodes.

That said, the fifth season was still pretty darn good.  It opens continuing the story from the end of the fourth season.  Mulder is confused about whether he has been used as a pawn all these years, with those attempting to use him going as far as infecting Scully with cancer to manipulate him and his investigation.  Scully goes along with faking his death in order to allow him the latitude to investigate unimpeded.

This storyline playing out accounts for the first two episodes of the season.  The third, Unusual Suspects, is a Lone Gunmen episode in which viewers learn how they came to work together as well as how they came to know Mulder.  These tie into the Mythology, which advances and changes quite a bit this season through a series of episodes which help resolve Scully's cancer as well as adding some new characters to the canvas, including a child named Emily who Scully initially believes is her niece.

There were also plenty of stand-alone episodes which were top quality this season.  Chinga is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series.  It was written by Stephen King & Chris Carter. It's typical of a classic Stephen King story - Scully is on vacation in Maine and stumbles onto a case.  Mulder doesn't play much of a part in it and it works quite well.  Post-Modern Prometheus was another episode that stood on its own and worked well as it combined a degree of humor and kitsch with the FBI agents on a case.  It's one of those that are hard to take seriously but are a lot of fun and very memorable.

Humor seemed to seep into stories more and more often this season, and that's one change I liked.  Some disagree and say the show became less believable as the humor grew, but I liked it.  Episodes such as Kill Switch  and Bad Blood are fine examples of humor that work in the show.

"No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough..."

Speaking of Carter, as he's interviewed in the special features included with this set, he sheds light on the fact that the fifth season was the first one where the whole season was plotted out before it began, since it was going to culminate in The X-Files Movie.  There's also some insight into why many people feel the show really took a turn downhill after this season.  For all these years the show had been filmed in Vancouver and after this season that was changed to Los Angeles.  It might be that changing up the crew so much was what was missing to so many after this season, or it might be that the show was getting a bit long in the tooth.  Still, the special features included in the disc added a lot to the understanding of the show.

Where the special features bother me and have from the beginning of the DVD release are in the deleted scenes.  They are available for viewing within the episodes themselves, but you have to turn it on and then watch for an X in the corner of the screen.  The only other option is they are included on the final disc, which is a pain because by the time I got there watching the discs and episodes sequentially, I didn't remember all of the stories surrounding the scenes.

That said, I really enjoyed being able to watch the series again after all these years.  I actually think the Mythology part works better when the episodes aren't dragged out over a few season but can be watched over the course of a month or so. The DVD extras are pretty good, especially what's on the final disc and make it work purchasing.  The series changes after this season for whatever reason, so this is the point that people should definitely see it to even if they don't want to wade through the muck after this point.  If someone hasn't seen the previous seasons, I think they would be lost with the Mythology and the chemistry and relationships between the various characters.  Start at the beginning and get to this point.  If you want to walk away after this, that would be fine.



Disc One

Redux
Redux II
Unusual Suspects
Detour

Disc Two

The Post-Modern Prometheus
Christmas Carol
Emily
Kitsunegari

• Commentary Track on The Post-Modern Prometheus with Chris Carter

Disc Three

Schizogeny
Chinga
Kill Switch
Bad Blood

Disc Four

Patient X
The Red and the Black
Travelers
Mind's Eye


Bonus Disc

Documentary: The Truth About Season 5
Season 5 Featurette
Inside The X-Files
FX: Behind The Truth
Special Effects with Commentary by Paul Rabwin
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter
Promo Spots




© 2010 Patti Aliventi


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