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Alive and Well
Find out why you can't afford to miss the latest X-Files...
It was one of the most shocking television cliffhangers since J R Ewing was shot. The finale of the Fourth Season of The X-Files left us believing that Mulder had killed himself after learning that his life-long search for the truth had been a carefully orchestrated deception. The last moments of Season Four showed a tearful Scully confirming to an FBI internal hearing that Mulder was dead. Since that moment X-Files fans throughout the world have been waiting with bated breath for the resolution of this story, and now, at last, the long wait is over. For British X-philes, Season Five of The X-Files makes its début on Sky One this month.
The first half of the new season has already aired in America and has proved to be a colossal hit. The first episode, Redux, which resolves the Gethsemane cliffhanger, has been the highest rating dèbut of the autumn season. The series is maintaining its amazing start, showing extremely healthy ratings. Season Five is set to be, in ratings terms at least, the strongest season so far.
However, just because the show has been a success in the States doesn't necessarily mean that it will repeat that performance here in Britain. When Season Four was broadcast on BBC1 it failed to make a strong impression on the television charts, rarely scraping into the top thirty programmes of the week. Herenvolk, the first episode of Season Four only managed to acquire 5.8 million viewers and they drifted away as the season progressed. Towards the middle of the year, figures had fallen to around the five million mark. The tense monster hunt, Leonard Betts and the unusual Paper Hearts only scored 5.0 million and 5.2 million respectively, By the time the critically acclaimed Memento Mori and Kaddish were aired the ratings had fallen to 4.9 million. The only high points the series reached on BBC1 were the gruesome Home, which had 6.4 million entranced by the anti-Waltons, and the equally bloodthirsty Sanguinarium (British audiences seem to like their X-Files gory!). The question remains as to whether Season Five of the series will mark a change in fortune for The X-Files in Britain.
If the first five episodes of the new season are anything to go by, X-Files fans in Britain don't have too much to worry about. The fifth season of the show continues to exhibit the same high production values, solid performances and wild fantasy of previous years, whilst adding several new elements to the mix. In fact these bold new features should bring all but the most jaded watchers back into the fold.
By Matthew Jones

Read the full preview of Season Five of The X-Files in Cult Times
The Best Monthly Guide to Cult Television
Issue 30 (March 1998) available now
£2.50 ($4.99)

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