“This is who we are.”
I loved The X-Files. It was my favorite genre show, and it still is. When it’s creator Chris Carter announced he was making a show about the impending Millennium, I got excited. It was going to be a cop show like no other cop show. When the pilot aired just before Halloween in 1996, it was certainly something that had never been seen on television.
A character actor that I had slowly been starting to get familiar with, Lance Henriksen, was the lead, and it focused on on his exploits dealing with tracking down serial killers each week. It was a police procedural. There was Law And Order, but this was a police procedural unlike any other at the time. Perhaps save for the films Manhunter, and Silence Of The Lambs. Now there’s shows like CSI that take cues from this show.
The unique ability of Lance Henriksen’s character, Frank Black (named after the frontman of the band The Pixies) was that he could see what the killer sees. He used that ability to find the killer before he killed other people.
A lot of great guest stars came out during the first season. The recently Academy Award nominated John Hawkes appeared in an episode with the great Marshall Bell. Paul Dillon was the serial killer in the Pilot. Mike Starr appeared in the season finale, and Doug Hutchison appeared in season 2 as “The Polaroid Man”. There were many other guest stars, but these gents were memorable.
To help out Frank Black, during season 1 there was Bill Smitrovich, and Stephen J. Lang as police officers Bob Bletcher and Bob Gieblehouse for Seattle P.D. that helped out Frank on cases.
The show even had ties to The X-Files, when in season one, a scene at Quantico showed Mulder And Scully (really the stand ins for David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) passed by Frank as he was descending a flight of stairs.
The first season is quite possibly the best. After this season, season 2 was handed over to Glen Morgan and James Wong who had been writing and producing on The X-Files. They controversially took the series into a more supernatural angle after wrapping up the cliffhanger in season 1. There was some supernatural stuff in season 1, but it was mostly taking place in a real world setting.
This is not a knock on season 2. Season 2 has one of my favorite episodes of the series “The Mikado” and that one is a throwback to the “serial killer of the week” formula that season 1 did. It added a computer hacker named Brian Roedecker who was their version of The Lone Gunmen, and it also featured Jose Chung from The X-Files, and a great season ender that showed that the world was going to be destroyed via a virus (which is a real life virus called The Marburg virus) and it features the classic song In The Year 2525 by Zager And Evans .
The third season saw a shift once again, where a main castmember was killed, Frank’s hair slowly turned white (in the finale of season 2 it had turned gray over night, and they decided to change this for the 3rd season) A new partner was added in for Frank Black, who eventually betrays him, and Peter Outerbridge (seen as the lead in Saw VI) as a slimy FBI agent.
The series, like most great series was canceled with it’s season ending with a cliffhanger, and it then lead to what I believe to be one of the finest crossovers in the history of television.
Millennium crossed over with The X-Files. In the 1999 season, Chris Carter saw fit to give the series the ending it deserved by having it merge with is other popular show. The episode was controversial among fans, but I for one loved it, as it was a great ending, and featured Frank Black and Fox Mulder battling zombies and the man (Holmes Osborne, who is another great character actor who doesn’t get enough due, and this was what introduced me to him) working for the Millennium group that Frank once worked for and who had by now become corrupt. (Frank’s friend and associate who had vouched for him in the Millennium group, Peter Watts, eventually was coaxed into betraying him, but still in the end tried to help Frank).
This episode was a fitting end for the adventures of Frank Black, and even to this day, Lance Henriksen hasn’t forgotten about it. He still has faith that there will be a Millennium movie. Even Chris Carter, who as recently as 2008 when The X-Files: I Want To Believe (the second X-Files movie, which played more like a feature length episode of Millennium, and that is one of the reasons why I really liked it) was saying that he still wants to make a Millennium movie.
Millennium was a great show, and it’s out on dvd. At least check out the first 2 seasons. They’re very much worth the money. Especially the first one. There were even novelizations of a few of the episodes. Christmas break of 2009 I came upon novelizations of the first 2 episodes. The Pilot was called “The Frenchman” after the villain of the episode, and the second one took the name of the episode “Gehenna” (The Jewish term for Hell.)
If you’re a fan of horror movies, police shows, or The X-Files, check out Millennium. You will not be disappointed.
Rene’s song of the day: “Eve Of Destruction” by Barry McGuire.
Thanks for reading my blog and see you next time!