Sure, the ninth and final season of The X-Files was its weakest season, but The X-Files at its worst is much better than most TV shows out there today. This season retained excpetionally high production values and looking back, actually had some standout episodes, including the spectacular 2-hour finale that could never satisfactorily wrap up such a long-running series but did have a feel of the classic mythology episodes from the show's glory days.
This season tries to pass the baton to Agents Doggett and Reyes, a partnership that is very solid but would never have the appeal of Mulder and Scully. I think Doggett is a very underrated character. Robert Patrick is truly excellent in the role, he's a great actor and makes the character his own. Scully is present all season but is relegated to an advisory role, only really stepping into the spotlight near the end of the season.
David Duchovny's return for the 2-hour finale isn't handled perfectly, but it's so satisfying to see David and Gillian together on screen that you can all but forgive the fact that he left.
The DVD presentation is simply superb, as we have come to expect from this show. Spread over 7 discs as opposed to the 6-disc sets of recent seasons, this set has fantastic extras. The real gem on this set is the hour long documentary, The Making of The Truth. Ever since the show started I've wanted to see something like this. It takes you into the production meetings, location scouts and then the production itself, and it gives you a real sense of how hard working every member of the crew was and how much they loved working on it. It's an extremely thorough making of, not the usual puff-piece you see on DVDs.
Another little treat is "Reflections on The X-Files", in which various guest stars discuss in new interviews what it was like to be a part of the show. Cher, Seth Green, Ed Asner, the Dust Brothers, Burt Reynolds are some of the participants.
Other behind the scenes documentaries include Secrets of The X-Files and More Secrets of The X-Files, two shallow 45-minute shows from the heydey of the show. Nothing special but they do take you back to when the show was omnipresent. Also included are the usual promo spots, and a couple of decent new documentaries on Season 9 as a whole and also "Reflections on The Truth", which features key crew members talking about working on the last episodes. It's nice that the show's editors get a voice here.
There are a couple of commentaries, one from Chris Carter on the episode "Improbable". They're interesting and frank.
One thing I cannot forgive about this season is the fact that even though the show's producers knew this was the last season well before the end, they did not use the last, say, 5 or 6 episodes to wrap up the show. Instead they wrapped up a couple of plot points quickly in one (good) episode (directed by David Duchovny), and then give us some mediocre stand alone episodes. And the biggest slap in the face is that the penultimate episode ever is wasted on a silly story involving the Brady Bunch. Oh well, too late now. The show has passed up so many opportunities for true geatness in its nine-year run, but like I said before, it remains one of the best TV shows ever.
It feels great to put this up there with the previous eight seasons and see the entire collection on one shelf. It's hard not to get all warm and fuzzy inside knowing you own every episode of this groundbreaking series. And you can't argue with the price for this beautiful set!