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The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 18-09-2010


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Movie DVDAmazon.com
The midpoint of what would be a nine-season show, the fifth season of The X-Files (the first to be put on DVD in anamorphic widescreen format) gives fans a heavy heaping of what they love. For the mythology buffs, riveting episodes from the season bookends “Redux” and “The End” to several episodes in between tease with new revelations about the vast government conspiracies and alien invasion plot lines sketched in earlier seasons. But e… More >>

The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season

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Although most diehard fans of THE X FILES are in agreement as to the merits of Season’s Three and Four, the 5th year seems to have elicited more of a mixed response. Certainly the season, to which I give an unqualified recommendation, was unique from a number of perspectives.

Most crucially, the chronology of the production was different from any of the previous years. The crew went into production of the X FILES MOVIE in the summer of 1997 immediately after finishing Season 4. For this reason Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were, for the first time, aware in advance of where the show’s mythology arc would be leading them. It seems impossible that this foreknowledge would not affect their performances; the sustained dramatic intensity characteristic of Season Four was loosened quite a bit in Season Five.

The actors weren’t alone in having a tough time adjusting to this odd schedule. The excellent staff writers, having in the two prior years wrung out the most consistently creative scripts in the history of the show, now had their own work looming as their most formidable obstacle! So, from the writing standpoint it is hardly a surprising that Season Five would present a unique challenge. What is remarkable is that apart from a few notable misses ( and one complete bomb ), this year had so many excellent scripts, especially in the “stand alone” episodes.

In contrast to its immediate predecessor, Season Five’s strengths are weighted toward scripts displaying some of the humorous eccentricities of the 3rd year, most evident in Vince Gilligan’s three contributions ( a sort of equivalent to Darin Morgan’s famed triptych from Season 3 ). His “Bad Blood” is an absolute tour de force for the actors. The script draws on subtle aspects of the Scully/Mulder personalities and then “tweaks” them, presenting their differing recollections of a single case; slightly distorted perspectives from both agents with neither one corresponding exactly to what actually occurred. Gilligan’s knack for characterization also shines in his “Unusual Suspects”, which fleshes out the Lone Gunmen in way that had not heretofore been done. His “Folie a Deux” is not quite at the same level but contains some classic X FILES moments.

John Shiban’s “Pine Bluff Variant” is a tightly scripted espionage thriller, one of the finest examples of his writing. David Duchovny seems to revel in the physicality of this episode.

Chris Carter’s bizarre but touching “Post Modern Prometheus” ( filmed in black and white ) is essentially an X FILES fairy tale, owing as much to David Lynch as to the gothic horror novel written by Mary Shelley.

“Kill Switch” was written by the science fiction authors William Gibson and Tom Maddox. I’m not familiar with their work but the episode, with its blending of computer technology and contemporary “cyberpunk” subculture, is very well done. The beautiful oldie “Twilight Time”, sung by the Platters, is nicely integrated into the framework.

Frank Spotnitz’ “Detour” links with previous episodes ( “Darkness Falls” and “Quagmire” ) in its forest setting and environmental theme. This fun “monster of the week” script ( hellishly difficult to film ) has a beautiful scene with Scully and Mulder stranded together in the woods ( mirroring the “holdout” scenes in the other “forest” episodes ).

“Chinga”, credited to Stephen King and Chris Carter, is easily the weakest episode of the season as well as the worst script I can recall from the first five seasons. Carter obviously had to dress this one up in a way that plays strictly for laughs.

As regards the mythology arc, the two season opening episodes ( “Redux” / “Redux II”) were part of the trilogy linking the previous season’s cliffhanger and features some flashback sequences similar to Oliver Stone’s “JFK”. This two-part script, while quite good, was the first of many future myth episodes that were somewhat self consciously “explanatory” in nature. A heaviness began to set in, with the episodes from mid season ( “Patient X”/”The Red and the Black” ) suffering from increasingly confusing and tangential plot developments. I attribute these problems primarily to the conflicts between the storyline the film would be using, which effectively shut the writer’s out of being able to develop the “A” material for television. Additionally, a tinge of ambivalence crept into David Duchovny’s performances.

In the prior year Scully’s bought with cancer set the stage for the more purely dramatic type of storyline seen in the 5th season’s introspective two-part episode titled “Christmas Carol” / “Emily”. This script features well-known “Scully” themes from prior seasons: her grief and guilt over her murdered sister, the loss of her ability to conceive, the flowering of a previously dormant religious faith, the emotional bond with Agent Mulder. As some of the steam went out of the myth-arc storyline in the following years, the longstanding “Scully” storyline moved into the foreground and grew into a highly complex melodrama focusing on the two agents interdependence. This approach was not without its aesthetic pitfalls but it seems fitting that the unique Scully/Mulder “symbiosis” would dominate THE X FILES in its final seasons.

Finally, the concluding episode of the Fifth Season was appropriately named “The End”, the title reflecting not only the myth arc plotline but also signaling the end of the show’s production in Vancouver. The location in British Columbia furnished so much of the shows ambience that it’s hard to imagine THE X FILES ever becoming the phenomenon it did without it being filmed there. There are clear signs that point to the Vancouver era ( esp Seasons 3 thru 5 ) as the absolute creative apex of THE X FILES. The location, along with the vital and often cited contributions of the actors/writers/crew, played an important role in lifting the show to the heights of its well-deserved success.
Rating: 5 / 5

Intricacies, subtleties, nuances and BLAM straight in your face, long awaited revelations are what Season Five is all about! All of it leading up to “Fight the Future” which was filmed prior to filming this entire season that leads up to the movie! Simply stated, Chris Carter and his entire staff are geniuses.

Redux – {mythology} – Last seasons “Gethsemane” ended with Fox Mulder appearing to be dead from a self inflicted shotgun blast. Mulder is able to obtain an ID that allows him access to a DOD complex where the CSM allows him to escape with the cure for Scully’s cancer.

Redux II – {mythology} – This is the outstanding conclusion to the mini trilogy. The CSM offers Mulder all the answers. Scully’s cancer is finally in remission thanks to the device that Mulder found. Mulder weeds out the FBI mole, who is shortly thereafter assassinated. The big news, the CSM is shot in his own apartment, yet no body is found. With episodes like these first two, season five continues to prove what an excellent experience The X-Files is.

Unusual Suspects – {mythology} – A beautifully well scripted episode detailing the events in 1989 that brought the “Lone Gunmen” together. This episode also includes a surprise appearance by “X” as well. Surprisingly enough, the events of this episode are what put Mulder and the Lone Gunmen on the quest that they are all on.

Detour – Another well written episode where Scully and Mulder are stuck having to go to team building retreat with a married pair of agents. Fortunately for Mulder’s sanity, they have to stop along the way because of a police road block. They find out that people were coming up missing in the woods in a strange way. This episode has some very touching scenes belying the relationship that is building between Mulder and Scully.

The Post-Modern Prometheus – This episode is an absolutely wonderful, campy black & white episode where The X-Files once again proves that they can lighten up and have a little fun. Jerry Springer stars as himself in the background as Mulder and Scully find themselves in a town full of die hard Springer fans and a monster in “The Mutato.”

Christmas Carol & Emily – {mythology} – Simply stated, these are two of the finest, touching and most heartfelt episodes of not only the season but the entire series! Scully is on Christmas vacation with her family in California and receives what seems to be a phone call from her sister, who was killed in an earlier season. This phone call leads to the discovery of a little girl that Dana believes to be the daughter of her sister! “Emily” brings Mulder into the picture and the real “mythology” aspects of these two spectacular episodes kicks in! These two episodes alone make the entire season!

Kitsunegari – Déjà vu’, Robert Modell from the third season episode “Pusher” is back. He’s survived the bullet that Mulder put in his head and he’s back to “pushing” people into what he wants them to do. This episode is one of the most intriguing of the season.

Schizogeny – This is a particularly intriguing episode about child abuse and the way one woman dealt with her abuse.

Chinga – Written by Stephen King and Chris Carter. This episode certainly qualifies as one of the best of the season and the entire nine year run as producer Chris Carter welcomes the “King of Horror” in Stephen King as a co-writer. This episode has everything that one can expect from King, suspense and horror in full measure. This is certainly a classic X-Files episode that is not to be missed.

Kill Switch – This is a superb episode in both its setup and execution as The X-Files explores Artificial Intelligence in the best way that only they can. This is a perfect “Lone Gunmen” style episode.

Bad Blood – This is another outstandingly funny, yet scary episode that the producers have proven their superiority at. Mulder and Scully find themselves in Texas looking for a vampire and ultimately find much more than they bargained for. The banter between them just keeps getting better and better.

Patient X & The Red and the Black – {mythology} – Two outstanding episodes that serve extremely well to further the mythology of “The X-Files.” Mulder’s lost faith is quite prominent as Scully gains faith in the possibility of aliens. Some of the “facts” that die hard fans have been waiting several years for are beginning to slip from Chris Carter finally. This is also the episode that introduces Agent Spinder, CSM’s son.

Travelers – {part mythology} Travelers is a brilliant prequel episode that first takes us back to 1990, before Mulder’s taking the X-Files, then takes us to a case going back to 50’s and his father working for the State Department.

Mind’s Eye – A beautifully well written episode that is both touching and heartwarming. It is about a woman, blind from birth who has been accused of a brutal murder.

All Souls – This is another breathtaking episode where The X-Files explores Scully’s faith in God.

The Pine Bluff Variant – Agent Mulder finds himself undercover and in the midst of one of the very government conspiracies that he seeks to expose, but finds the truth too shocking to reveal.

Folie a deux – This episode contains the best one liner to date in the series. Mulder is sent to Chicago to discover who is threatening an office with terrorism and finds that he is seeing the same thing that the “madman” was seeing.

The End – {mythology} Another outstanding season finale that leads up to the movie. CSM is back and in full force and doing his thing. This is the episode that introduces Gibson, the child who, born with alien DNA is capable of reading minds. CSM succeeds in having The X-Files closed.

Extra Features – Just as it was with the first four seasons, the special features disk for season five is outstanding. This one finally includes some blooper scenes.
Rating: 5 / 5

I think season 4 was a shade better because, it had 24 episodes to this seasons 20. But they were busy making the movie, which was somewhat disappointing when compared to the series. Like season 4, this one was a roller coaster ride. It had emotional angst, humor, suspense, special effects, action, & some unexpected surprises. The relationship between Scully & Mulder is what stood out the most, there was more depth which gave them even more chemistry.

This is the first season to be presented in anamorphic widescreen, there are 6 discs: 5 with 4 episodes each & 1 with extras. The info book has quotes, chapter stops, images, & other info for all the episodes.

Here are some of the best episodes. Redux 1&2: mulder has shot himself? No, he is actually searching for a cure for Scully’s cancer. He has also lost his belief in the validity of aliens. He now thinks they are just a government cover for something more sinister. Surprise, “Cigarette Smoking Man” is shot!

Unusual Suspects: A back in time sequence where Mulder meets & becomes friends with the lone gunmen, a very well paced episode.

Detour: Scully & Mulder are hunted through the woods by a camoflaged humanoid being.

Christmas Carol/Emily: Scully helps someone & comes across a suicide that may actually be a murder? She later finds a dying girl who may be related to her? While Mulder tries to find information on her condition while Scully fights to keep her alive.

Schizogeny: is nature killing people? Are the abusive parents reaping what they sowed? A good suspense thriller.

Bad Blood: Mulder kills a vampire. They get sued while each agent tells the story from very different perspectives. A dark, goofy episode.

Patient X & The Black Oil: Jeff spender & his mother Cassandra are introduced. She is a multiple abductee, & her son is full of surprises. while the ever devious Krycek faces the syndicate over the vaccine to the Black oil.

Travelers: a flashback episode where Arthur Dales appears. This may have been the best episode of the season?

All Souls: some deformed girls are struck down in identical ways, while Scully deals with her tormented emotions over Emily’s loss. A true sci-fi classic.

Pine Bluff Variant: has Mulder gone bad? I won’t tell, just watch this one.

The End: The mind reading boy Gibson Praise appears. As the boy is hunted {by who?} the drama grows. An exceptional episode with many twists. There could have been more extras, but this is still a fine collection from a five star show.
Rating: 5 / 5

The last season shot in Vancouver has some of the finest episodes of the series. While the show would slip a couple of notches in quality with succeeding years, the fifth season still shows the production staff and actors in top form. The fifth season features one of my favorite episodes “The Pine Bluff Variant” about a group of U.S. terrorist that modify a bioagent produced by the military to kill rapidly and that can be passed on common objects. It’s got a frightening opening that chills not just because of the drama but also because it reflects the fantatical insanity of terrorism. Excellent performances abound in this terrific episode written by John Shiban and the taunt direction is worthy of a feature film.

“Kill Switch” by author William Gibson is a mind bending episode where Mulder gets jacked into a computer that wants…information from him. It reminds me of “The Prisoner” in many respects with a new sheen applied. I’ve never seen the original script for Stephen King’s “Chinga” but it’s undoubtably the most disappointing episode here and the weakest. it recycles an idea that was old even when writer Charlues Beaumont scripted it for the original “Twilight Zone”. I’m not sure how Carter revised the script (if he did at all or if it was more collaboration)but it would point to some of the shortcomings in future seasons–recycling older ideas and not doing it very well. Carter’s homage to old horror movies “The Post Modern Prometheus” shot in stark black and white images that recall “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Son of Frankenstein” with its use of surreal set designs and impressionistic lighting is an example of style succeding when there isn’t enough substance. Directed by Carter the look and feel of the episode (as well as the performances) carry a script that is OK if a bit deliberate and heavy handed. Still, it’s one of the best looking episodes the show produced. “Emily” the second part of a two part episode in which Scully gets a call from her deceased sister saying “She needs you” is touching. It’s an example of “The X-Files” at its best–emotionally honest yet dealing with complex issues and a great story. The first part “Christmas Carol” is equally as good but the conclusion of “Emily” is heartbreaking and has the edge of the two.

The humourous “Detour” is a great stand alone episode. A fan favorite returns in “Kitsunegari” with Pusher returning. The marvelous Robert Modell returns (why doesn’t this guy appear on TV more and someone, please, get him a TV series or cast him in a major movie. The last time I saw him was in “Battlestar Galatica” last year). The humorous “Bad Blood” is another superior episode about a vampire on the loose in a small town. Mulder and Scully have very different memories of the circumstances and when each tells the story from their point of view the contradictions are hillarious. “Mind’s Eye” was an episode I missed during the series original run and didn’t see it until the DVDs were released. It’s a great episode with strong performances about a blind woman who is implicated in a series of murders. The solution is surprising (or was to me) and powerful.

A great set the show will looks the same here as the previous boxed set because Fox is using the same digital masters and transfers for this set. As to extras will if commentary tracks, deleted scenes and anything on the disks with the episodes will be included but the bonus disk of extras (the game, featurettes, etc.) will not. You won’t miss them trust me on this. Definitely worth picking up.
Rating: 5 / 5

I used to think Season One was my favorite. No more. Season Five has blown away all previous seasons of The X-Files.

Since I was not an X-Phile throughout the run of the series, and only watched an occasional episode, I had the privilege of watching the show unfold before my eyes, episode by episode, when I purchased the first four seasons on DVD. Then I totally immersed myself in the program.

And I was hooked.

Obviously, not being familiar with the unfolding story line, when I watched the last episode of Season Four (“Gethsemane”), I hadn’t a clue how Mulder was going to return from the dead following that season’s cliffhanger episode…and I had to wait until the release of Season Five on DVD to find out. I watched and re-watched every episode right up to that point…and wondered how in the hell Mulder was going to pull that one off.

Finally! Season Five was released on DVD, and my curiosity was satiated.

To say that I’ve been impressed with Season Five is a very mild understatement. So far, the first five or six episodes, alone, have left me with my mouth hanging open, riveted to every scene, clinging to every word.

“Redux I” and “Redux II” are astonishing episodes. Very powerful and gripping. The perfect way to start the new season.

Thankfully, each episode in Season Five has held similar sway with me.

But — and I’m almost ashamed to admit this — the episode that blew me away the most was the very offbeat, quirky-to-the-core “Post Modern Prometheus.” I’ve watched that episode three times now, and I’m more impressed and touched by it every time.

What a remarkably creative episode! Shot entirely in black and white, and telling a familiar horror movie tale (“Frankenstein”), “Post Modern Prometheus” weaves a spell over me like no other epside ever has. From the Cher-fueled score, to the tongue-in-cheek performances, to the Tim Burton-esque dream-like oddity, to the emotionally touching ending, “Post Modern Prometheus” is a jewel among an already glistening array.

I would have bought Season Five just to get my hands on “Post Modern Prometheus” alone!

The X-Files Season Five DVD set contains some of the best episodes the show has ever offered. If you’re a fan of the show — or if you’d like to know what the buzz is about — you truly need to watch Season Five. I highly recommend it.
Rating: 5 / 5

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