Millennium - The Complete First Season
Millennium marked the second major television series created by Chris Carter, who'd already made his name as the brains behind The X-Files. And, like its predecessor, it shares a lot of the same themes--it's a crime thriller that gradually unfolds into a grand conspiracy involving the government and the fate of the entire world. Agent Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) is a former FBI agent who has transplanted his family from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, after suffering something of a breakdown. He's an expert criminal profiler--arguably the best, thanks to his ability to "see" into the minds of killers--and he fears for the safety of his wife and young daughter. In Seattle, he joins the mysterious Millennium Group, an agency of freelance crime-busters who investigate particularly brutal crimes. As a result, Millennium is downright bleak viewing, as Black jumps from horrific slaying to horrific slaying. Moreover, there's a growing sense of unease about the workings of the Millennium Group, so that in typical Chris Carter fashion, you don't know who to trust. With its pre-Y2K angst and overwhelming darkness, as well as its general humorlessness, Millennium hasn't dated as well as The X-Files. Still, thanks to Carter's vision and Henriksen's compelling take on the tortured Black, it's difficult not to get hooked.
Millennium - The Complete Second Season
The groundbreaking show Millennium was about to take a new, visionary direction in its second season. Millennium could have continued its successful formula of introducing new, apocalyptic "Se7en-esque" serial killers for Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) to hunt down. But as any viewer can attest, it was the exploration of the mysterious "Millennium Group" and Frank Black's role that held the key to the show's potential longevity. And who better to build a mythos for the Millennium than the minds behind The X-Files: producer/writer team Glenn Morgan and James Wong. Stepping in when Chris Carter stepped aside, Morgan and Wong immediately began to focus season 2 not on the killers and their impact on Armageddon, but on Frank Black and his struggle for his personal stability and sanity. The Millennium Group, whose identify and function was never really explored in season 1, now becomes a central entity in season 2 complete with its own Masonic-like mythology.
Millennium - The Complete Third Season
In the third season of Millennium, we find Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) a widower and a single father who is completely disillusioned with the Millennium group and their evil intentions. Hell-bent on revenge, Frank rejoins the FBI, gets a new partner, Special Agent Emma Hollis (Klea Scott), and launches a personal crusade to dismantle and expose the Millennium Group. Interestingly, the visionary, quirky, X-Files mythos-like direction in which the producer-writer team of Glenn Morgan and James Wong took Millennium in season 2 didn't sit well with many fans. Now that a good chunk of the Earth's population had been wiped out by the Group's killer plague, which also claimed Frank's wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher), Chris Carter decided to take the helm once again and redirect season 3 back to the dark, apocalyptic crime-fighting genre in which it was intended. The mythos element is still present, but season 3 is a definite return to the look and feel of season 1 where most of the episodes are individual dark crime stories. The scripts in season 3 are consistently sharp (especially Ken Horton's and Chip Johannessen's), and the interesting, new dynamics introduced could have easily carried the show onward for many more seasons. Sadly, it was never meant to be. Like an apocalyptic metaphor, one of the best-written, best-produced, and most-influential shows of the 1990s would be canceled at the end of season 3, less than one year before the year 2000. Fans were left to wonder about the future of Frank Black, Jordan, and the success of his personal vendetta. Fortunately, The X-Files was still going strong at the time and fans got a bit of closure with The X-Files season 7 tie-in episode "Millennium" (included on this DVD set).
- Package Dimensions : 7.7 x 6.4 x 5.6 inches; 3.5 Pounds
- Director : Allen Coulter, Arthur W. Forney, Cliff Bole, Daniel Sackheim, Darin Morgan
- Media Format : NTSC
- Release date : November 14, 2006
- Actors : Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn, Missy Crider, Mary-Pat Green
- ASIN : B000BWFWGE
- Best Sellers Rank: #491,323 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Watched it a while back, but recently the series became cheap enough to purchase on amazon (I got all 3 seasons for $30). TV show is sort of a crime drama, which has a religion focus. It started in 1996 and is a spin off of x-files. Personally, I think it's better than x-files, but I'm not a fan of aliens in fiction, so could be a bias there. Series ends abruptly at season 3, as the show got cancelled, but there is a follow up episode in season 7 of the x-files. Show is worth seeing and is 5/5 despite it being prematurely cancelled.
Protagonist is Frank Black, a formed FBI profiler, who has an uncanny ability to understand a serial killer and predict their next move. Every episode focuses on a murder which he needs solve, with the overall series focusing on the more metaphysical end of crime, murder, and the nature of good and evil. Like the x-files, the cases start mundane and gradually become weirder and weirder. Series is devoid of romance and is very dark (not for kids at all, maybe not for some adults).
Two neat side features of this series. First is all the old "state of the art" technology in the series - they really choose product placement which leaves the entire series feeling very dated and this can be very funny at times. Second is that the protagonist has a genuine Lawful Good alignment, which is so very uncommon in modern crime shows (and on TV in general).
When "Millennium" first aired ( fall of 1996 ), I only tuned in to the first couple episodes; while I was ( and still am ) a huge fan of Chris Carter's "The X Files", with regard to Carter's ( then ) new project I was in that category of folks who found "Millennium" too dark and graphically violent. However, after recently watching the series in its entirety ( over a two month period ), I can state definitively that this was my loss, for the show exhibited high standards that withstand comparison to Carter's famous franchise. "Millennium" boasted an excellent lead actor, good supporting cast, a talented staff of writers, hard-working crew ( filming in Vancouver BC ), and last but not least, outstanding music by composer Mark Snow.
As the informative ( and unusually honest ) documentaries point out, the three seasons of "Millennium" exhibited their own very distinctive traits. First off, a basic description of the show: it revolved around the talents of a former FBI 'profiler' Frank Black ( played by Lance Henriksen ) who had a unique ability ( in Black's words, "my gift and my curse" ) to get inside the minds of serial killers and succeed in capturing them. It was this uncanny 'gift' that eventually led ( in an implied back-story mentioned in the pilot ) to Black's complete nervous breakdown, necessitating his departure from the Bureau. Subsequently, Black left D.C., taking his wife Catherine and young daughter Jordan to reside in the protective environment of an idyllic neighborhood in ( his childhood hometown of ) Seattle. In this locale Frank Black functioned as a consultant for a mysterious group of ex-FBI agents ( known as the 'Millennium Group' ), helping the Seattle police solve challenging cases of violent crime, while Frank's wife ( played by Megan Gallagher ) was employed as a social worker.
Season 1 ( 1996-97 ) of "Millennium" was very much informed by the strong hand of creator Chris Carter, who used the clout of his hit series ( "The X Files", then in its glory years ) to prevail upon nervous Fox executives who were essentially forced to allow Carter total creative control over first a pilot, and then an entire season of extremely violent ( for the period ) and spiritually unsettling material. It is no accident that the word constantly used to describe "Millennium", and especially its first season, is *dark*. And indeed, Season 1 ( along with the very first episode of Season 2, which wrapped up a season-spanning cliffhanger ) could actually stand on its own, should one wish for some reason to imbibe the bleakest possible atmosphere without any admixture of the subsequent twists and turns the series took in following seasons. Because most of the 22 episodes from the first season are of uniformly high quality, it is not really necessary to point out specific episodes; they are *all* worth viewing ( and I can't recall a truly mediocre episode in the entire bunch ). Nevertheless, I will mention ( aside from the essential Pilot ) some personal favorites:
"Dead Letters" ( good subplot; Frank Black working with a stressed-out colleague ), "522666" ( perfectly paced thriller about a mad bomber on the loose in Washington D.C. ), "The Well Worn Lock" ( featuring Megan Gallagher in a wrenching episode about incest), "Wide Open" ( truly terrifying home invasion murders ), "Loin Like a Hunting Flame" ( bizarre sex-fetishist and another stressed-out detective working alongside Frank Black ), "The Thin White Line" ( tense thriller in which an old case comes back to haunt Frank Black ), "Walkabout" ( Frank suffers from memory loss ), "Lamentation" ( written by Chris Carter, this shocker features the first series appearance of the sinister character 'Lucy Butler' ), "Broken World" ( an animal-rights perspective artfully woven into this episode set in North Dakota ), "Paper Dove" ( Catherine Black kidnapped in season ending cliffhanger ).
Sidenote: one thing I should point out that might pose a bit of a challenge to a certain type of viewer would be the tremendous amount of supporting actors that a committed fan of "The X Files" can recognize from that series ( in one particular "Millennium" episode I counted no less than half a dozen actors that I had seen in one or another installment of "The X Files" ). But of course one can hardly blame the casting agents for employing these talented players working in the Vancouver area.
Season 2 ( 1997-98 ) opened up ( as mentioned above ) with the second part ( "The Beginning and The End" ) of two excellent season-spanning episodes. It was both fitting and ironic that this opener was penned by the writing team of Glen Morgan and James Wong ( well known for their work on the first four seasons of 'The X Files' ). *Fitting* in the sense that ( as the accompanying documentary points out ) Morgan & Wong essentially took the "Millennium" reigns from Chris Carter ( who was then completely preoccupied with post-production work on 'The X Files' motion picture ), and thus the writing of the opening Season 2 episode seemed a harbinger of their creative input for the rest of the year. But *ironic* in the sense that, while the Season 2 opener ( due to its nature as a 2-part episode ) truly belonged to the "dark" aesthetic realm of Season 1, the Morgan/Wong influence in "Millennium's" second season demonstrated a marked attempt ( non-too-subtle ) by the writing team to lighten the mood of the show. Whether the impetus behind this related to the efforts of worried Fox executives or not is a matter of conjecture ( though I certainly believe it was the case ). In any event, in Season 2 you start hearing Bobby Darin (!) tunes played during segments ( sometimes as part of the general atmosphere, sometimes with Frank Black turning his CD player to 'Mack the Knife', etc ). I have nothing against the classic "cool lounge" music of the sixties, but that is quite an insertion when contrasted with the grim cases Frank Black investigates. And while this style of playfully ironic juxtaposition can work effectively, as in great Morgan/Wong "X Files" episode titled 'Home' (replete with Johnny Mathis crooning amidst the grotesquerie ), in the context of "Millennium" this element seemed very contrived. Another change was the introduction of a bit character, an obnoxious twenty-something computer-geek, his putative purpose being as an assistant to Frank Black regarding tech issues. Here again the feel of contrivance ( "hey, let's do something like the 'Lone Gunman' from 'X Files' " ) was palpable. In fact, I would not be a bit surprised if Morgan and Wong took substantial heat at the time from fans, other writers, and the series creator himself. Indeed, in the Season 2 documentary Chris Carter, while being diplomatic enough ( c. 2004 ) definitely gives the impression that the change of direction in Season 2 was in fact a *misdirection* ( it is noted at the end of documentary that Glen Morgan and James Wong were invited to appear but declined ). But, in all fairness one should point out that the Morgan/Wong duo had already ( prior to the change of tone in Season 2 ) produced three truly excellent scripts ( all appropriately pitch-black in mood ) in the first season.
In any case, most of the 23 episodes from the second season were, irrespective of aforementioned factors, quite well done. Chip Johannssen ( a particularly stalwart writer for the series ) penned "Sense and Antisense" ( great plot twist at the end ). "Monster" introduced Lara Means, who would be a major character throughout the second season. Morgan & Wong's "The Curse of Frank Black" was a well-crafted Halloween episode with some flashbacks to Frank Black's childhood.
One the positive aspects of Morgan & Wong's second season stewardship was the involvement of Glen's brother Darin Morgan ( the latter well-known for his famed triptych from Season 3 of 'The X Files' ), who wrote and directed two clever and bizarrely humorous episodes: "Somehow Satan Got Behind Me" and "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense", the latter being ( among other things ) both a send-up of apocalyptic ( millennarian ) fixations and a savage parody of a very well-known "religion" favored by the rich and famous.
"Midnight of the Century" was a beautifully done Christmas episode with a guest appearance by the great Darren McGavin ( playing Frank's father ). "Goodbye Charlie" had a script in which the aforementioned Bobby Darin fixation actually had a legitimate purpose ( great job by the guest actor ). Chip Johannssen's uniquely touching "Luminary" didn't even involve a crime of any sort; set in Alaska, it seems loosely based on the now famous ( true ) story of young, ill-fated Chris McCandless and his journal ( "Into the Wild" ).
"The Mikado" was an exciting and brilliantly edited thriller ( and justifiably receives its own special feature commentary by writer Michael R. Perry ). The two-part episode airing mid-season ( "Owls" & "Roosters" ) was probably the most ambitious of Morgan and Wong's attempts to flesh out a Millennium Group conspiracy arc. Whether this was successful or not depends upon ones conception of the show as a whole. "A Room with a View" brings back the evil character Lucy Butler ( the elevator music of "L'Amour est Bleu" is deployed to diabolic effect ). The final two episodes of Season 2 ( and the last two written for the series by Glen Morgan & James Wong ) accelerate the 'Millennium Group' conspiracy, ending the year with a series of plot and character twists that would have a major impact on the following season.
Season 3 ( 1998-99 ) opened up with Frank Black a widower, he and his daughter Jordan re-locating to the DC area where Frank re-joins the FBI ( his own motive primarily being to expose the Millennium Group ). New characters emerged in the form of his young partner, Emma Hollis ( played by Klea Scott ), an older colleague ( FBI assistant director ), and an ambitious field agent. Series founder Chris Carter came back on board to reassert control of his original vision ( only part of which was possible due to aforementioned developments ), and to that end Carter brought his frequent partner Frank Spotnitz to the "Millennium" team for three episodes they co-wrote: of these, "Antipas" ( featuring another appearance of the diabolical 'Lucy Butler' ) and "Seven and One" ( Frank Black on the brink of a nervous breakdown ) are quite good.
The actual opener ( "The Innocents" ) introduces all the aforementioned new characters; the episode is an attempt at linking the events of the viral outbreak that killed Catherine Black, with Frank focusing on Millennium Group involvement. The plane crash site is amazingly ( disturbingly ) detailed; undoubtedly the crew had studied the pioneering work done by 'The X Files" team in one of its episodes airing a few years earlier ( NOTE: this episode has commentary from Lance Henriksen and Klea Scott ).
From my perspective, the character Emma Hollis started out shaky; there are scripts ( "Closure", "Human Essence" ) occurring early in Season 3 where practically everything Agent Hollis did seemed bone-brained, really the only moments in "Millennium" where the writing was redolent of standard low-brow television fare. But Ms. Scott really can't be blamed for this defect, having inherited a messy situation ( one in which Lance Henriksen himself was frustrated at the contradictions the scripts were forcing on his character ). In any case, as the season progressed so did the depth of the Emma Hollis character via the writing and Klea Scott's acting. The last few episodes of the season ( and of the series itself ) had a very moving subplot involving Emma Hollis and her ailing father ( suffering from dementia ); excellent work from all involved. In terms of chemistry, Henriksen and Scott were very effective together by the last third of the season. "Nostalgia", one of the last "Millennium" episodes, was a gritty drama with excellent acting from both of the leads ( a clear indication that the show would have had "legs" if it had been fated to continue up to and beyond the turning of the actual millennium ).
Michael R. Perry wrote both the wacky Halloween ( "Thirteen Years Later" ) and Christmas ( "Omerta" ) episodes; both are quirky, quasi-humorous affairs ( the rock band Kiss appears in the former ) that were far too tongue-in-check for my taste. However, as the special feature documentary on Season 3 brings out, Mark Snow's ( always excellent ) music was particularly unique in "Omerta" and was rightfully acknowledged as such.
"Through a Glass Darkly", "The Sound of Snow", and "Darwin's Eye" were uniformly excellent scripts, with superb performances by guest actors ( and all three were penned by Patrick Harbinson ). On the other hand, "Saturn Dreaming of Mercury" and "Bardo Thudol" were duds.
The series as a whole closed out with a two-parter ( "Via Dolorosa" and "Goodbye to all That" ). Ken Horton, who co-wrote the very last episode, explained in the documentary that he and Chip Johannssen designed the closer with a deliberately ambiguous ending ( Frank Black and his daughter Jordan driving out towards paths unknown ) just in case the series was canceled. A truly prescient move, which allowed a great ( if protean ) television series to end with dignity and some semblance of closure.
Finally, it should be mentioned that while Chris Carter was the creator of "Millennium", the true heart of the series was Lance Henriksen and his dynamic portrayal of the uniquely gifted Frank Black. Henriksen is a superb actor, the lined ( lived-in ) face and rough voice allied to a depth of range that was well beyond most acting one experiences on network television. "Millennium" itself is now a cult classic; I believe the series will only gain in reputation as the years go on. Needless to say, this box set is highly recommended. One can only hope for its release in Blu Ray format sometime in the near future.
I was intensely disappointed when the show was cancelled and have yet to forgive the network for doing it. However, and this is a big however, it is still worth watching all the episodes. Lance does an amazing job portraying the main character and is well supported by very well chosen people to play the other roles. Also, great photography to capture the various moods and levels of terror and dread. This series is not for the faint of heart. In some respects it is prescient even up to the present. Millennials....you were very young when this show aired and probably were not allowed to watch it. Good thing. Watch it now!
Top reviews from other countries
It's not perfect; there are a lot of times the show comes off as preachy which I suppose is a side-effect of basically making Christianity the basis of a show, and it is fairly dated in terms of effects. But the acting and soundtrack are excellent and it's well worth a watch.
IMO- Too MOODY by far and seems to keep following the same formula, muted lighting, and slightly irritating melancholic music episode after episode after episode ad-infinitum. Wish I'd only bought one season. A waste of good actors talents.
as for the series itself from what i remember from years ago watching it season 2 was the best season as it had an ongoing story arc which makes it more adictive and i allways found serialized storytelling moore compelling to episodic/stand alone story that being said season 1 of this underrated series is still a brilliantly dark piece of tv viewing and i just wish there were more programs like this instead of all the crapy police procidials that are identical clones of each other.
and i truly beilive if this came out today instead of 1996 it would be alot more popular and stand out alot moor from the tired an boring crimes shows. then again it wouldnt surprise me if it got canned/dumped on by the network after one season the uniqe stuff always does nowdays.