Because I review a whole tv series rather than individual episodes, there is a chance of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the whole series yet, stop reading now!
Season 5 of any tv series is usually the true test of a decent show. It’s when the series either begins to run out of steam or get into its full stride, maintaining a high quality and keeping people interested. The X-Files, luckily, takes the second route, beginning to produce quality episodes and gaining that great advantage that a long running show can have – self-awareness.
X-Files season 5 is when the show begins to embrace the silly episodes. There are plenty of episodes, particularly the monster ones, where things are slightly more goofy. The monster may be more unusual and Mulder and Scully play very good caricatures of the iconic characters they have become. We get everything from an invisible cockroache to a Cher loving Frankenstein. The real testament to this is the incredible episode Bad Blood, which is composed of many versions of the same story and subsequently great exaggerated versions of Mulder and Scully. We even get episodes and monsters that are not particularly supposed to be silly, with the monster at the center of Travelers looking much less scary that than the intention was supposed to be.
The monster episodes also push it up a gear with the serious tone. We get an excellent sequel to the episode Pusher and the return of one of the more formidable enemies that the FBI pair have faced. We also get religious related murders with All Souls and a great X-Files idea with Mind’s Eye, putting a blind girl at the center of a murder enquiry. It’s a step up in quality and demonstration of what makes the X-Files so great.
It does mean that it shows when an episode is clearly generic or filler. Some episodes just don’t offer anything new. No real, original monster for the pair to face. Nothing new or exciting for the agents to do and the show becomes stale, with episodes that should have aired in Season 1 and 2, not this far along in the run. It’s a small issue when you have 20 episodes to a season though.
Probably more than any other season, the conspiracy episodes have increased in quality and interest. We get a great storyline involving a shock daughter for Scully, with devastating effects, we are introduced to brand new aliens, a lot scarier and threatening than anything we have seen so far, and we also meet a genius with a special ability which rounds the season off well. The show also makes the very positive and welcomed move of beginning to explain the conspiracy and answer some questions. You don’t feel lost watching these episodes and they aren’t introducing anything new that muddies the water too much.
The shows real success will always be David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. They have made the roles of Mulder and Scully their own and play off each other fantastically. Their chemistry, even in the most basic and generic episodes, is nothing less than electric and they shine in the episodes when they get to be more dramatic or play up to the characteristic that epitomise their characters.
Overall, Season 5 is X-Files at its best. The show is at the height of its success and the characters are as comfortable as they will ever be. We get silly, playful episodes as well as the more serious dramatic shows. The conspiracy has stepped up a gear and become even more interesting. It also proves how successful things get when the show takes a break for the X-Files Movie.
Best Episode – Bad Blood: The X-Files at its silly, comical and creative best. Duchovny and Anderson have never been better than in this gem of a monster episode.
Best performance – Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
Should there been another season? – Yes. The X-Files is at its best. The episodes are original, funny but also dramatic when they need to be. The film is the icing on the cake.
Season Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)