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Millennium was an Americanmarker thriller-horror-drama television series, created by Chris Carter after the success of his previous television series, The X-Files. Millennium aired on the Fox Network in the United Statesmarker from the fall of 1996 to the spring of 1999. Three full seasons of the series were produced, totaling 67 individual episodes. Each season of the series had its own distinct style and unique elements as a result of the regularly shifting executive producers who supervised its creative process. All of the episodes were broadcast and produced by the Fox network. The series was filmed in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, though most episodes were set in or around Seattle, Washingtonmarker. The series theme music was composed by Mark Snow who also had created the series theme music for The X-Files.

The story arc is set during the years leading up to the year 2000. The plot line followed the investigations of an ex-FBImarker Special agent Frank Black, into serial murderers, which were often involved with both the supernatural and a sub-governmental authority known as the Millennium Group and their prophecies for an oncoming apocalypse. Many of the unsolved questions of the series were answered on The X-Files seventh season episode, "Millennium".

Although the series was expected to be a ratings success for Fox Network, its first strong viewership rating in the United States shrunk throughout season one and kept doing so in the future two seasons. The series received much critical response; Millennium was honored with numerous awards and award nominations in its three-season run. Merchandise for Millennium includes games and toys, print media and an original audio series. Rumor is that Carter is going to make a motion picture sequel to the series.

Series overview

Millennium featured Frank Black, a freelance forensic profiler and former FBImarker agent with a unique ability to see the world through the eyes of serial killers and murderers, though he was not psychic. Black investigated the most horrific crimes and dealt with the mysterious Millennium Group, whose power and sinister intentions became more clear throughout the series.

The pilot episode served to introduce the Black family, consisting of Frank, wife Catherine and daughter Jordan. The family was depicted returning to Seattlemarker, 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 into 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. Frank's daughter, Jordan, later turned out to have inherited her father's "gift", suggesting that Frank's abilities are not entirely derived from the knowledge and experience he gained from his work as an FBI profiler. In the pilot, Frank has accurate flashes of a murder from simply viewing the victim's corpse zipped inside a body bag, visions which could not possibly be attributed to a typical profiler's talent.

The final season showed Frank returning to Washingtonmarker and to profiling work at the FBI, following the death of his wife, Catherine Black, at the hands of the Millennium Group. Frank was joined by a young, female partner, Emma Hollis. The Millennium Group is shown at a distance as Frank is alienated from his closest connection to the Group, Peter Watts. The episode "Skull and Bonesmarker" depicted a mass grave in the path of a new freeway that contained the bodies of former members of the Group. Later in the season, in the episode "Seven and One", the demonic entity that fans have dubbed "Legion" assumes the form of one of the Group's security men. The implication is that the Group have become corrupted by the very evil it was intended to fight against. 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.

Cast and characters

  • Lance Henriksen as Frank Black (seasons 1–3 main) – Born on July 12, 1947 to Henry and Linda Black, Frank Black has a unique and disturbing ability which can take him inside the mind of a killer. As a former FBImarker special agent specializing in hunting down serial killers, Black was one of the Bureau's most effective detectives. Yet his immersion into the vilest recesses of the human soul took him too close to the edge. Frank could no longer allow the shadow of evil come between him and his family. He left the FBI and settled in Seattlemarker with his wife and young daughter.
  • Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black (seasons 1–2 main) – Catherine was also a clinical social worker who counseled crime victims. This profession compelled her to confront many of the same dark forces as Frank. Yet Catherine knew she must never show any fear, no matter how appalling the evil. Catherine was willing to sacrifice herself. She was infected with a deadly virus that was mysteriously connected to the Millennium Group. Offered a vaccine for the virus she refused, insisting it be used to protect her daughter instead.
  • Klea Scott as Emma Hollis (season 3 main) – Emma is a young FBI special agent who becomes Frank's protege when he begins working in Virginiamarker. She struggles to understand the criminal mind, as her sister was murdered by a man with no motive. Emma also has to deal with her father's bout with an Alzheimer's-like disease (possibly induced by the Millennium group) the cure for which Peter Watts (portrayed by Terry O'Quinn) uses as leverage to coerce her into cooperating with the Millennium Group.



After Chris Carter's success with The X-Files, Fox asked him if he would produce another series for them. He already had an idea for creating a show based around the coming millennium of the year 2000, and it was this idea that he followed up. The Fox executives gave Carter a budget of nearly $1.5 million per episode, and allowed him to create his own "look" for the show. As influences, Carter has quoted the Bible, Dostoyevsky and Mary Shelley as among the most important.

Carter pitched Millennium to Fox as "Seven in Seattlemarker." The setting 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. One of the shows working titles was 2000, though Millennium was chosen over it.

For the second season, the handling of the show was given to Glen Morgan and James Wong while Carter focused on the fifth season of The X-Files and The X-Files motion picture. Morgan and Wong had only been consulting producers for the first season, but took over production, implementing several changes that Fox wanted in an attempt to boost ratings which had declined during the first season. Morgan said that:

For season three, which aired in 1998, Carter took back control of the series, with Morgan and Wong leaving to follow their own cinematic careers. Carter admitted that he took it in a different direction from that of Morgan and Wong and, as a part of this, he attempted to take the show back to its "roots" from the first season. Reacting to criticism that the series had become confusing, and out of touch with audiences, the show's production team hoped to make "the stories a little more accessible", moving the action from Seattlemarker to Washington DCmarker.


The Fox executives were not initially convinced that Lance Henriksen was right for the main role, and they suggested using William Hurt, until they discovered that he had no interest in acting for television. Chris Carter then sent the script for the "Pilot episode". Henriksen read the script and thought it was "great". When his manager told him that it was a television script, he backed out for a while until he talked to Carter himself. Regarding his casting of Henriksen for the lead, Carter stated that:

Glen Morgan and James Wong made several significant changes to the series, taking the emphasis off serial killers and on to government conspiracies and the machinations of the Millennium Group. They also tried to provide more of a "narrative drive" for Frank Black by breaking up his relationship with his wife. Morgan and Wong introduced new characters such as Lara Means and computer hacker Brian Roedecker, who was introduced for comic effect, toward which fans reacted generally negatively.

Broadcast and release

Syndication and cancellation

Millenniums first season premiere, "Pilot episode" gathered a total viewership of 17.72 million in the United Statesmarker and in demographics it got a 9.0/27 in adults 18-49, which was at that time a record holder for being the most watched Fox program. Millenniums second season premiere, "The Beginning and the End" gathered a total viewership of 7.75 million in the United Statesmarker and in demographics it got a 3.6/12 in adults 18-49. Fox network decided to rebuild their primetime schedules in 1997 during the second season, the decision was that Millennium was going to air 9pm on Friday's. The decision to renew Millennium for a third season was made in May, 1998 by Fox network.

During the shows third season, it had problems with a declining viewership rating and most industry insiders said the show "was history". Fox benched Millennium during its summer run with re-runs of late night comedy, Mad TV without giving any official word on what was going to happen with Millennium. While Carter said that it was still hope and that it could make "a comeback". The series itself had been considered a rating failure since its inception in 1996 by critics and industry insiders alike. The FX cable network picked up the "off-network rights" for Millennium after its cancellation for $20–$25 million dollars. The third season ended on a cliffhanger. Some of the story arc's were resolved with The X-Files season seven episode, "Millennium". NBC Universal's horror channel, Chiller, began airing Millennium weeknights at 7PM Eastern (and again at 3AM Eastern the following morning) on Monday, February 4, 2008.

Lance Henriksen answered that based on what he had heard from Carter, his next project after the release of The X-Files: I Want to Believe in 2008 would be a Millennium motion picture. In an interview he stated that he wanted to act in a feature film as a sequel, and further stated if enough people wrote to Fox it "could happen."

Home video release

Millennium season 1 was released in the United Statesmarker (Region 1) on July 20, 2004, season 2 was released on January 4, 2005. the last season was released on DVD September 6, 2005 and The Complete Series was released on October 28, 2008. On October 4, 2006 the first, second and third season was released in Region 4. The Complete Series was released on October 24, 2006 in Region 4.

The Complete Series Millennium release got Lance Henriksen thinking that the numbers behind those box sets sales might be the key to reviving the series. "I wonder if the sales of these will tell us how many people loved the show and whether or not the movie ought to be made," Henriksen commented. "I mean, [Frank Black] still is alive. Maybe it's a good thing there was no closure for Millennium because now, if we did a movie, it would be good closure for me."


Critical reception

Keith Uhlich from Slant Magazine was positive to both season one and three of Millennium, giving them both four out of five stars and calling season one: "We are racing toward an apocalypse of our own creation. This is who we are." Mike Drucker from IGN called the second season a combination of the "X-Files and the violent paranoia of Se7en." Variety Magazine reviewer Jeremy Gerard compared the show to Twin Peaks and was overall positive to the series, but said "I just wish it were a little more fun, that I didn't have this nagging feeling that it wants to hurt me the next time I come around." Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly gave the show a B and said it had "great visuals and a commanding performance by Henriksen." Justine Elias from The New York Times was mostly positive to the series and said "If The X-Files, with its offbeat humor and conspiracy theories, wonders about those things that go bump in the night, Millennium explores the darkness -- and embraces it." Daily Nebraskan said in their review that the show had "a lot of potential: a good lead actor, a solid premise and a feel that will keep audiences glued to their televisions."

Awards and nominations

Millennium has been nominated for a variety of different awards including two Primetime Emmy Awards, four American Society of Cinematographers Awards, 1 Bram Stoker Awards, three Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards (three wins), three Golden Globe Awards, one People's Choice Awards and five Young Artist Awards (one win). The most nominated episode is "Matroyshka", Robert McLachlan became the most nominated crew member and Brittany Tiplady became the most nominated actor in the shows history. While Lance Henriksen became the only actor from the show to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award.


  1. Speier, Michael. (August 1, 1997). " Cinematographer Robert Mclachlan." Digital Content Magazine. September 13, 2009.
  2. "People's Choice Awards." Washington Post. January 12, 1997. September 13, 2009.

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