Millennium (TV series)

Millennium (TV series)
Millennium logo.jpg
Intertitle, featuring an ouroboros
Format Horror / Thriller
Supernatural drama
Created by Chris Carter
Starring Lance Henriksen
Megan Gallagher
Klea Scott
Terry O'Quinn
Brittany Tiplady
Bill Smitrovich
Stephen J. Lang
Composer(s) Mark Snow
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 67 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Chris Carter
Michael Duggan
Chip Johannessen
Glen Morgan
James Wong
Running time 45 minutes
Original channel Fox
Audio format Dolby Surround 2.0
Original run October 25, 1996 (1996-10-25) – May 21, 1999 (1999-05-21)
Related shows The X-Files
The Lone Gunmen

Millennium is an American television series created by Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files. Millennium aired on the Fox Network from 1996 to 1999. The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, though most episodes were ostensibly set in or around Seattle, Washington. Theme music for the show was composed by Mark Snow, who also created the distinctive theme music for The X-Files.

The series takes place during the years leading up to the year 2000, and follows the investigations of ex-FBI agent Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), a law enforcement consultant with the ability to see inside the mind of criminals, working for a mysterious organization known as the Millennium Group.

Although the series premiered with impressive ratings, viewership declined throughout its three-season run, and it was finally canceled by Fox in the spring of 1999.


Series overview

Millennium featured Frank Black, a freelance forensic profiler and former FBI agent with a unique ability to see the world through the eyes of serial killers and murderers, though he adamantly proclaims he is not psychic. Black worked for the mysterious Millennium Group, whose power and sinister agenda were increasingly explored throughout the series.

Black lived in Seattle with his wife Catherine and daughter Jordan. Jordan was eventually revealed to have inherited some measure of her father's "gift", suggesting that Frank's abilities may in fact be at least partially psychic in nature, after all.

The first season dealt primarily with Black pursuing various serial killers and other murderers, with only occasional references to the Group's true purpose. The second season introduced more overtly supernatural occurrences into the show's mythology, with Frank often coming into conflict with forces that appeared to be apocalyptic or even demonic in nature. The final season showed Frank returning to Washington, D.C. to work with the FBI following the death of his wife at the hands of the Group, where he was joined by a new partner, Emma Hollis. Despite Frank's warnings and the evidence of her own eyes, Emma ultimately joined the Group. Frank is last seen escaping from Washington, having taken Jordan from school.

Cast and characters


  • Lance Henriksen as Frank Black (seasons 1–3 main character). Born 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 FBI 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 to come between him and his family. He left the FBI and settled in Seattle with his wife and young daughter.
  • Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black (seasons 1–2 main; recurring episode 12 of Season 3) – 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 Virginia. She struggles to understand the criminal mind, as her sister was murdered by a man with no apparent motive. Emma also has to deal with her father's bout with an Alzheimer's-like disease the cure for which Peter Watts (portrayed by Terry O'Quinn) uses as leverage to coerce her into cooperating with the Millennium Group.

Also Starring

  • Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts (Season 1-3 guest starring)
  • Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black (Season 1–3): Jordan, daughter of Frank and Catherine, represents the light in the dark world that Frank works. She is what's good, and why Frank must catch the "bad man" to protect her. Jordan must eventually come to terms with a terrible loss, while learning to deal with her own mysterious gift – one that offers her visions into the dark world that her father investigates.
  • Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Robert Bletcher (Season 1): A homicide detective for the Seattle police, and Frank's best friend. He often enlists Frank's help on crime investigations in Seattle. He is murdered by Lucy Butler.
  • Stephen J. Lang as Det. Bob Giebelhouse (Season 1-3 guest starring): Seattle detective with a cynical view of humanity and a penchant for gallows humor. Initially Bletcher's partner, he becomes the head of Homicide in Season 2.



After Chris Carter's success with The X-Files, the Fox Broadcasting Company 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.[1] As influences upon his plan for the series, Carter has quoted the Bible, Dostoyevsky and Mary Shelley as among the most important.[2] Carter pitched Millennium to Fox as "Se7en in Seattle." 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 show's working titles was 2000, though Millennium was chosen over it.[1]

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.[3] Morgan said that:[4]

There was too much gore in the first season, and it was for shock's sake. There was no humor. Everybody wanted to know more about the Millennium Group. What was Frank's role with them? We needed to develop Frank. We had a good actress, Megan Gallagher, playing his wife, and what could we do with their relationship? Where can this go?

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 Seattle to Washington DC.[5]


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 screenplay 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.[6] Regarding his casting of Henriksen for the lead, Carter stated that:[7]

I had tried to cast Lance Henriksen on The X-Files several times, he had always been either unavailable or uninterested. Anyway I remained a fan of his, I was in bed working in Vancouver and I realized he was working there too. So I found out where he was staying and wrote a personal note, had a fan slip it under his door, and said that I'd tried to get him on the show and hoped to work with him in the future. Little did he know when I was then writing Millennium I was writing with only him in mind, with no idea whether or not he'd actually do the project. So I wrote the project, approached him, he was very excited about it, we made a deal and the rest is now history.

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.[3]

Broadcast and release

Syndication and cancellation

Millennium's pilot episode established a record as the most-watched Fox program to date,[8] earning a total of 17.72 million viewers in the United States.[9] The second season premiere, "The Beginning and the End", gathered a total viewership of 7.75 million in the United States.[9] Fox decided to rebuild their primetime schedules in 1997 during the second season, airing Millennium at 9:00 pm EST on Fridays.[10]

Fox renewed Millennium for a third season in May 1998.[11] During that season, the series faced problems with a declining viewership and pessimistic forecasts from industry insiders.[12] Fox benched Millennium during its summer run, airing reruns of Mad TV in its time slot, without giving any official word on whether it would be renewed for a fourth season.[13] The series was cancelled, ending on a cliffhanger.

Frank Black would return in The X-Files season seven episode "Millennium", which featured the final appearances of both Frank Black and his daughter, Jordan.

The FX cable network picked up the off-network rights for Millennium after its cancellation for $20–$25 million dollars.[14] 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.[15][16]

Home video release

Millennium season one was released on DVD in the United States (Region 1) on July 20, 2004, season two on January 4, 2005, and season three on September 6, 2005. Millennium: The Complete Series was released on DVD on October 28, 2008.[17] On October 4, 2006 the first, second, and third seasons were released in Region 4.[18][19][20] The Complete Series was released on October 24, 2006 in Region 4.[21]


The release of Millennium on DVD prompted Lance Henriksen to propose a continuation of the series. Henriksen speculated that the numbers behind the box set sales might be the key to reviving Frank Black. "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 told the Sci-Fi Wire. "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."[22] Henriksen has gone on to support the Back to Frank Black campaign, a movement dedicated to the return of the character, explaining, "I really think it is a possibility."[23]

Creator Chris Carter has joined Henriksen in expressing an interest in a film based on Millennium. While promoting The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Carter commented that he and Henriksen have "talked about that over the years" and that the cast and crew who would need to be involved are interested, adding, "I have ideas about how to do it."[24][25]


Critical reception

Keith Uhlich from Slant Magazine was positive to both season one and three of Millennium,[26] 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."[27] Mike Drucker from IGN called the second season a combination of the "X-Files and the violent paranoia of Se7en."[28] 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."[29] Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly gave the show a B and said it had "great visuals and a commanding performance by Henriksen."[30] 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."[2] 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."[31]

Awards and nominations

Millennium was nominated for a variety of different awards including two Primetime Emmy Awards,[32] four American Society of Cinematographers Awards, 1 Bram Stoker Awards, three Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards (three wins),[33][34] three Golden Globe Awards,[35] one People's Choice Awards[36] and five Young Artist Awards (one win).[37][38] The most nominated episode is "Matroyshka", Robert McLachlan became the most nominated crew member and Brittany Tiplady became the most nominated actor in the show's history. While Lance Henriksen became the only actor from the show to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award.[35]


  1. ^ a b Carter, Chris, Horton, Ken, Spotnitz, Frank, Henriksen, Lance, Gallagher, Megan, Nutter, David, Snow, Mark, Peter Kousakis, John, Freeborn, Mark, McLachlan, Robert, Johannessen, Chip and J. Wright, Thomas (2004). Order in Chaos, Making Millennium Season One (DVD). Fox Home Entertainment. 
  2. ^ a b Elias, Justine (October 20, 1996). "Staring Into the Heart of Darkness". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Morgan, Glen, Wong, James, Henriksen, Lance and Gallagher, Megan (2004). The Turn of the Tide: The Making of Season 2 (DVD). Fox Home Entertainment. 
  4. ^ "TV'S BEST KEPT SECRET IMPROVES IN ITS SOPHOMORE SEASON". Millennium This Is Who We Are. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  5. ^ Carter, Chris, Scott, Klea, Tiplady, Brittany and Henriksen, Lance (2004). End Game: Making Millennium Season 3 (DVD). Fox Home Entertainment. 
  6. ^ Rogers, Troy and Seeton, Reg. "LANCE HENRIKSEN TALKS MILLENNIUM". Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  7. ^ "CHRIS CARTER INTRODUCES US TO MILLENNIUM". Millennium This Is Who We Are. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Millennium". Television Heaven. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Adalian, Josef (October 11, 1998). "High-profile dramas skid on Fox, ABC". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  10. ^ Hontz, Jenny (May 20, 1997). "Fox lineup reshaping Thursdays". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  11. ^ Hontz, Jenny (May 20, 1998). "Fox reups 20th pair, mulls shifting 'Hill'". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Chris Carter's Millennium a flop". BBC News. May 7, 1999. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  13. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 5, 1999). "Fox's Millennium on hold". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  14. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (June 14, 1999). "FX clocks in Millennium". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Chiller First Quarter 2008 Lineup" (PDF). NBC Universal. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Chiller website". Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Millennium (1996)". TV Shows On DVD. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Millennium – Complete Season 1 Collection (6 Disc Set) (790013)". Ezy DVD. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Millennium – Complete Season 2 Collection (6 Disc Set) (790014)". Ezy DVD. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Millennium – Complete Season 3 Collection (6 Disc Set) (790015)". Ezy DVD. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Millennium – The Complete DVD Collection: Seasons 1–3 (18 Disc Box Set) (785869)". Ezy DVD. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Star Angles for Millennium Film". Sci-Fi Wire. September 2005. Archived from the original on December 3, 2005. Retrieved October 1, 2005. 
  23. ^ "Back to Frank Black Interviews Lance Henriksen". Back to Frank Black. December 13, 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Chris Carter Discusses Millennium Movie". Horror Asylum. March 28, 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  25. ^ Telsch, Rafe (March 27, 2008). "Chris Carter Reveals X-Files Movie Secrets". Cinema Blend. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  26. ^ Uhlich, Keith (September 9, 2005). "Millennium: The Complete Third Season". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  27. ^ Uhlich, Keith (July 20, 2004). "Millennium: The Complete First Season". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  28. ^ Drucker, Mike (February 3, 2005). "Millennium: The Complete Second Season". IGN. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  29. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (October 21, 1996). "Millennium". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  30. ^ Tucker, Ken. "SCARE GIVER". Entertainment Weekly.,,294919,00.html. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  31. ^ Holtmeier, Liza (June 16, 2006). "Grim scenes give 'Millennium' hope". Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Advanced Primetime Awards Search". Academy of Television Arts & Science. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
  33. ^ Speier, Michael. (August 1, 1997). "Cinematographer Robert Mclachlan." Digital Content Magazine. September 13, 2009.
  34. ^ Angus, Don (October 1998). "An Interview with Rob McLachlan csc: Life on Millennium". Canadian Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  35. ^ a b "Millennium". HFPA. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
  36. ^ "People's Choice Awards." Washington Post. January 12, 1997. September 13, 2009.
  37. ^ "Brittany Tiplady". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  38. ^ "Annual Young Artist Awards – Past Years". Young Artist Award. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 

External links

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