Millennium (TV series)

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Millennium.JPG
The Ouroboros, the symbol of the Millennium Group.

Millennium was a grim, suspenseful television series, produced by the creators of The X-Files and set during the run-up to the new millennium (it premiered in 1996). It was cancelled in 1999, with a "final" episode wrapping up the storyline airing as The X-Files episode 7x05, "Millennium."

It featured actor Lance Henriksen as investigator Frank Black. Black had the psychic ability to "see" what evildoers such as serial killers saw, and to thus reconstruct crime scenes. He was inadvertently drawn into involvement with the Millennium Group, which turned out to be a front for further skulduggery.


Contents

Origins

Chris Carter's original idea for 'Millennium' was a series that would present a more mature point of view of the world from the perspective of a law enforcement officer than offered in his companion series 'The X-Files'. To this end, the character of Frank Black was envisaged to be portrayed by an older actor than David Duchovny. Carter favoured Lance Henriksen in the lead role and pushed studio executives at 20th Century Fox to approve Henriksen's casting. Carter also pursued Henriksen personally and finally persuaded the actor to take the role of Frank Black by leaving a copy of the pilot script outside of his hotel room. Henriksen signed up on the strength of the writing.

Carter pitched 'Millennium' to Fox as 'Seven set in Seattle'. The mise-en-scène of a dark, rain-soaked city and a world-weary detective's hunt for a religiously-inspired serial killer have clear parallels with the pilot episode. The pilot served to introduce the Black family, consisting of Frank, wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher) and daughter Jordan (Brittany Tiplady). The family was depicted returning to Seattle where Frank was born and raised because Frank wanted to protect his family from the evil with which his job as a criminal profiler with the FBI brought him in to daily contact. The end of the episode saw Frank receiving a series of Polaroid photographs of his wife and daughter in an envelope with no return address, setting up a stalking thread that would be resolved in the second season.

The Millennium Group

Frank's initial encounter with the Millennium Group came in the person of Peter Watts, played by Terry O'Quinn. The Group was depicted in this and other season one episodes as being an association of former law-enforcement professionals who were called in to consult on crimes by law-enforcement agencies. The Group recognised that Frank had a unique gift for profiling, as he was able to see into the mind of the perpetrator and deduce motive and psychological make-up from crime scene evidence. Frank's gift was presented on-screen as a series of rough-cut cine-film inserts shot from the perpetrator's point-of-view. When Frank began to understand the mind of the perpetrator, he also began to see the world as if through the eyes of the killer. The debate about whether Frank was actually seeing these visions or that they were a visual shorthand and storytelling device by the producers was resolved in the second season, where Frank confirmed that he sees the visions. This was later carried on with a storyline involving Jordan Black, who was also able to see visions, showing that Frank's gift had continued down the Black family line.

The Millennium Group was presented as being a complex multi-facted entity in the second season. Carter had left the day-to-day production in the hands of Glen Morgan and James Wong, a writer/producer team who had previously worked on 'The X-Files' and 'Space: Above and Beyond'. Morgan and Wong took the underlying religious themes of the first season and made them explicit in the origin and nature of the Group. It was divided into two opposing factions, the Owls and the Roosters. The Owls believed in a secular Millennium, where Mankind could be guided through the potential disasters of 2000 and prepared for an astronomical event that was due to occur in the 2060's. The Roosters believed in the Biblical End Time foretold in the Revelation of St. John the Divine. They believed that Mankind could not avoid the destruction that was due at the dawn of the Millennium. Instead, they sought to control the End Time through the release of a modified Marburg virus to which they had an antidote that was given to selected members and their families. The Roosters' plan was implied as negotiating themselves in to a position of control and influence through the status of their members and acquisition of controlled knowledge and religious artifacts such as a piece of the True Cross and the Hand of Saint Sebastian. The motives of Frank's patron, Peter Watts, were also called into question, as it was later shown that he had received protection for his family from the viral contagion but had not helped to protect Catherine and Jordan Black.

End of The Series

The final season showed Frank returning to Washington and to profiling work at the FBI. This season had more control by Chris Carter and as such downplayed the religious elements of season two in order to concentrate on spree-killers and other perpetrators. This season also displayed elements of 'The X-Files' success such as remote viewing and the interplay of psychic and demonic forces. Frank is joined by a young, black female partner, Emma Hollis. The Millennium Group is shown at a distance as Frank is alienated from Peter Watts. The episode 'Skull & Bones' depicted a mass grave in the path of a new freeway that contained the bodies of former members of the Group. Despite Frank's warnings and the evidence of her own eyes, Emma makes a commitment at a moment of personal weakness that sees her isolated from all non-Group assistance and Frank is last seen escaping from Washington having taken Jordan from school.

The series ended not with a bang but a whimper. Episode 7#05 of 'The X-Files', entitled 'Millennium', saw Lance Henriksen and Brittany Tiplady (in a cameo appearance) reprise their roles as Frank and Jordan alongside Mulder and Scully in a tale of necromancy and zombification of former Millennium Group members on the cusp of 1999/2000.

Episodes

Season One

  • "Pilot"
  • "Gehenna"
  • "Dead Letters"
  • "The Judge"
  • "522666"
  • "Kingdom Come"
  • "Blood Relatives"
  • "The Well-Worn Lock"
  • "Wide Open"
  • "The Wild and the Innocent"
  • "Weeds"
  • "Loin Like a Hunting Flame"
  • "Force Majeure"
  • "The Thin White Line"
  • "Sacrament"
  • "Covenant"
  • "Walkabout"
  • "Lamentation"
  • "Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions"
  • "Broken World"
  • "Maranatha"
  • "Paper Dove"

Season Two

  • "The Beginning and the End"
  • "Beware of the Dog"
  • "Sense and Antisense"
  • "Monster"
  • "A Single Blade of Grass"
  • "The Curse of Frank Black"
  • "19:19"
  • "The Hand of St. Sebastian"
  • "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense"
  • "Midnight of the Century"
  • "Goodbye Charlie"
  • "Luminary"
  • "The Mikado"
  • "The Pest House"
  • "Owls" (part 1)
  • "Roosters" (part 2)
  • "Siren"
  • "In Arcadia Ego"
  • "Anamnesis"
  • "A Room With No View"
  • "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me"
  • "The Fourth Horseman"
  • "The Time is Now"

Season Three

  • "The Innocents"
  • "Exegesis"
  • "TEOTWAWKI"
  • "Closure"
  • "Thirteen Years Later"
  • "Skull and Bones"
  • "Through a Glass Darkly"
  • "Human Essence"
  • "Omerta"
  • "Borrowed Time"
  • "Collateral Damage"
  • "The Sound of Snow"
  • "Antipas"
  • "Matryoshka"
  • "Forcing the End"
  • "Saturn Dreaming of Mercury"
  • "Darwin's Eye"
  • "Bardo Thodol"
  • "Seven and One"
  • "Nostalgia"
  • "Via Dolorosa"
  • "Goodbye to All That"

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