- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
Season five was a watershed year for Fox’s The X Files. Not only was the show’s popularity at its zenith (its only year cracking into the top twenty shows), it also earned its all-time high sixteen Emmy nominations (only winning two, however, and losing out on its last year as a Best Drama Series contender to The Practice). Having already won a Peabody Award for Distinguished Achievement in Programming, the show really had nowhere to go but down, but that didn’t stop the producers from conjuring up a wildly eclectic mix of comic and dramatic encounters for our intrepid heroes. The season also served as a set-up to The X-Files: Fight the Future feature film that debuted in the summer after the fifth season aired, a movie shot before season five filmed but which was based on the events that were going to occur in the already plotted season five.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 15 Hr. 8 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case with leaves
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 12/08/2015
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
To prevent the show from growing stale, the show’s writers turned the series on its ear by reversing the stances on extraterrestrial possibilities of its two lead characters: now Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is more open to belief than her now-jaded partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), and it takes the entire season (albeit a shortened one: only twenty episodes) to bring him around to once again considering the possibility that extraterrestrial encounters with human beings on Earth had been occurring for quite some time. Scully’s growing belief stems from a haunting two-part episode broadcast around Christmas where Scully finds she’s the mother of a potentially hybrid child and a subsequent two-episode encounter with Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright) who firmly believes she has been abducted by aliens and feels a calling that another close encounter is about to occur. Her introduction to the series coincides with an enigmatic new agent who joins the bureau, her son Jeffrey Spender (Chris Owens) who considers the alien beliefs sheer nonsense and is one of the most instrumental in convincing Mulder of their farcical nature.
Elsewhere during the season, there are good times and bad times for the Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) as the Elders have tired of his ineffectual way of handling Mulder and Scully’s prying into their attempts to keep their activities quiet while rogue agent Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) continues to pop up here and there never seeming to be loyal to any one side. Apart from the extraterrestrial episodes, there are a number of other paranormal experiences with our heroes which the writers have dealt with in a number of comic scenarios and homages to genre titles of old (more than in previous seasons) and which quite often Mulder or Scully handle on his or her own while the other is away on other business. Separately or together, they must deal with a camouflage creature, a Mutato (an episode in homage to Frankenstein filmed in black and white which earned seven Emmy nominations), a mind control serial killer (based on a previous season’s show “Pusher”), another artificial intelligence gone haywire, a bewitched doll, a Xeno-grafter, a blind woman with second sight, a Seraphim, and an insect man.
As the season came to a close (along with the show’s five years of filming in Vancouver with production moved to Los Angeles for the last four seasons of the show), it wasn’t surprising that once again the X Files office was closed down and torched with Mulder and Scully seemingly set on different career paths for the next season. Season five did allow David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson great opportunities to traverse the gamut of emotions in their performances from wry comic turns to the depths of affecting drama (even if Mulder's reversal on his beliefs never rings true and seems manufactured to add to the show's conflict between the leading characters), and both actors once again earned Emmy nominations. So, too, did guest actors Veronica Cartwright and Lili Taylor (as that blind woman who can see through the eyes of a killer). Along with series regulars Mitch Pileggi (more in command than ever) and William B. Davis (who offered a great surprise at season’s end), fine performances were also turned in by guest actors Charles Cioffi, John Finn, Richard Belzer, Anthony Rapp, John O’Hurley, Karri Turner, John Pyper-Ferguson, Diana Scarwid, Luke Wilson, John Neville, Brian Thompson, Fredric Lane, Garret Dillahunt, Darren McGavin, Glenn Morshower, Sam Anderson, and Mimi Rogers.
Here are the twenty episodes contained on six Blu-ray discs in this season five set. The names in parenthese refer to that episode’s speaker on the audio commentary available for that episode:
1 – Redux
2 – Redux II
3 – Unusual Suspects
4 – Detour
5 – The Post-Modern Prometheus (writer-director Chris Carter)
6 – Christmas Carol
7 – Emily
8 – Kitsunegari
9 – Schizogeny
10 – Chinga
11 – Kill Switch
12 – Bad Blood
13 – Patient X (director Kim Manners)
14 – The Red and the Black (writer-director Chris Carter)
15 – Travelers
16 – Mind’s Eye
17 – All Souls
18 – The Pine Bluff Variant (writer John Shiban)
19 – Folie a Deux
20 – The End
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
As with the other Blu-ray seasons of The X Files, the original 4:3 framing has been reformatted to 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Purists may complain, but the results don’t appear to have been compromised when one compares these transfers to clips in the bonus features which have the original framing. While sharpness is usually very good, this season features occasional soft shots that are not always simple glamor photography. Color is very good and skin tones are always realistic and appealing, and black levels, very important to the show’s effectiveness, are variable from good to outstanding. The grayscale for the episode “The Post-Modern Prometheus” is quite impressive. The episodes have been divided into 15 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
The audio tracks for the series are presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and the lossless sound here has been superbly executed to wring the most out of the sound elements which are present. There is good separation of effects to fill the surround channels, and there is even occasional directionalized dialogue though most of it is relegated to the center channel. The show’s eerie, driving Emmy-nominated music by Mark Snow gets a nice spread through the fronts and rears.
Special Features Rating: 4.5/5
Audio Commentaries: the best one is writer John Shiban’s for “The Pine Bluff Variant” where his enthusiasm for his work and the on-screen results are very easy to hear. There are no silent passages as with the other commentaries, and he has lots of behind-the-scenes information to offer without spilling much about the seasons to come. The other commentaries are loaded with spoilers though they, too, occasionally offer good information for fans who are familiar with the show.
Introductions to “The Post Modern Prometheus” and “Bad Blood” (1:32, 1:51, SD): producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz recall behind-the-scenes facts about the episodes.
Deleted Scenes (9:27, SD): five scenes spread over three discs in the set with optional commentary by Chris Carter.
Special Effects Commentary (13:44, SD): producer Paul Rabwin comments on special effects needs and execution for episodes on five of the six discs in the set.
International Clips (SD): on five of the six discs, brief excerpts from certain episodes are offered in a variety of languages. Here are the episodes with their running times and languages:
- “Redux” – German (0:54), Italian (1:02), Japanese (1:31), Spanish (1:12)
- “Christmas Carol” – German (2:05), Italian (1:08), Japanese (1:25), Spanish (1:28)
- “Kill Switch” – German (1:20), Italian (1:09), Japanese (0:56), Spanish (0:51)
- “Patient X” – German (1:19), Italian (0:54), Japanese (0:51), Spanish (1:10)
- “The End” – German (0:54), Italian (1:14), Japanese (1:26), Spanish (1:25)
The Truth About Season 5 (19:23, SD): directors Rob Bowman and Kim Manners, writer-producer Frank Spotnitz, creator Chris Carter, producer Paul Rabwin, writers Vince Gilligan, R.W. Goodwin, and John Shiban, and actors Dean Haglund, Veronica Cartwright, and Mimi Rogers recall highlights from the fifth season of the show.
Threads of Mythology: Black Oil (31:40, SD): going back to 30,000 B.C. and tracing its history in the show’s mythology, this featurette offers a timeline of this alien parasite from crew members Chris Carter, John Shiban, Howard Gordon, Frank Spotnitz, Rob Bowman, Paul Rabwin, and special effects supervisors Mat Beck and David Gauthier.
FX: Behind The Truth (11:31, SD): eleven segments featuring cast and crew members from the show offering behind-the-scenes snippets of information as promos for the series when it was shown on FX.
Inside The X Files (45:29, SD): a television special which served to catch viewers up on the show during its first five seasons in anticipation of the feature film release that summer.
FX Featurette (1:54, SD): a brief promo for the series.
TV Spot Ads (10:41, SD): forty promo spots for Fox’s original broadcasts of season five’s episodes.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Season five was an above average, turning point season for The X Files, and the Blu-ray set brings the twenty episodes to home video in their best-ever video and audio quality. Recommended!
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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