This is a fantastically detailed and coherant guide to season 5 of this mind blowing television series. Meisler has done a wonderful job in enabling the reader to feel as if they are watching the episode all over again and it is brilliantly involving. Even though I knew the outcome of every episode, I found myself frantically turning the pages to see what happened next. Meisler brings back the whole experience of watching an episode for the first time from a refreshing angle. The book is littered with black and white stills from the episodes and also includes an 8 page colour picture section annotated with tingling quotes from the season. As already mentioned, the 'back story' section for every episode is a light uptake on events during the shooting of each episode and explanations to things perhaps even the most avid fan may not have immediately understood. The appendix includes the title of every episode in seasons 1-4 plus a brief synopsis of each and their American air date. It also includes the ratings for each episode in season 5 for the United States and a list of awards and honours that the TV series received during the course of 1997-98. This is an essential book for all X-Philes out there and also for those who would simply like to understand each episode in more detail. After all, I think we have to admit that we have all been left completely stumped at the end of at least one X-File episode before... "We all have our faith. Mine is in the truth" - Mulder
The End and the Beginning is the fifth book in the 'Official Guide to the X-Files' series and covers the sixth series of this popular show (the first book covered the first two series). This is the third book in the series to be written by Andy Meisler (a New York Times television critic) and, although I think the first two books (written by Brian Lowry) were much better, this is still an invaluable resource that no X-Phile should be without. Unlike the first two books, which contained many interesting features in addition to the obligatory episode guide, this book, like volumes 3 and 4, concentrates solely on the episodes themselves. A very detailed account of each episode is given (around 10 pages each) but, due to the length of these, I think a summary of each episode would be useful, however this is something the book does not provide. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the 'back story' section for each episode. This includes many interesting facts about the making of the episodes covering subjects such as writing the episode, casting the guest stars and the production of the episode, including shooting special effects and creating the right look for the episode. The book also contains a few amusing snippets about each episode such as general trivia, events that occurred during filming and explanations for the titles of some of the more obscurely named titles. Although you can find many good X-Files episode guides on the Internet, this is the definitive guide to the series and is far more than just a run of the mill episode guide.
This Official Guide follows the same kind of format as the previous one, 'Resist or Serve' and it works as well as all the previous Guides. The plot summary sections take up the majority of the book, but the 'backstory' notes are also present. If you're looking for a guide to the episodes, also containing a bit of backstory, you couldn't do much better than this. It serves as an admirably in-depth cover of the episodes involved. All in all, this is probably the definitive guide to the sixth season.