chris carter's MILLENIUM

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

ok so i never really followed x-files but the two or three episodes of this i remember finding intriguing though that may have been due entirely to 'hey, it's lance henriksen!'. anyhow - how was this show? remotely worth tracking down? enjoyable? creepy? prompted by grantland posting this youtube clip:

Alex Pappademas: At the end of "The Time Is Now," the 1998 second-season finale of X-Files creator Chris Carter's grim conspiracy procedural Millennium, the apocalypse that psychic profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) had spent so much time worrying about arrived ahead of schedule, thanks to an avian-borne Soviet-engineered bioweapon that apparently killed billions of people, including Frank's wife. Before that, though, Frank's forensic-psychologist pal Lara Means, played by Kristen Cloke, began experiencing visions of the horrors to come and went insane, in an epic freakout sequence scored to Patti Smith's song "Horses" (all of it!) and shot in the symbolism-clearance-sale style of '80s MTV videos (blood, rose petals, cockroaches, disaster footage, shrieking disease-monkeys — go, Rimbaud!) As far as I know, this is the only time a Fox show has ever featured a 10-minute montage in which a character thrashes around hallucinating the End of Days while an arty '70s protopunk song about homosexual rape plays, although to be fair I bailed out on The Chevy Chase Show pretty early. Producers Glen Morgan and James Wong supposedly wrote "The Time Is Now" when Millennium's third-season pickup was in doubt; it was an appropriately bleak conclusion to a doomsday-obsessed series that was itself doomed. Except it wasn't actually a conclusion — Fox brought the series back for one more season, in which the whole everybody-died-in-a-pandemic thing was confusingly walked back, Frank went to work for the FBI and got a feisty new partner, and the members of Kiss guest-starred as themselves.

aims for david lynch circa 1990, hits oliver stone circa 1997. kind of amazed this aired on network tv (more for it's length than anything else).

balls, Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:49 (seven years ago) Permalink

Man I forgot all about this show! I was really, really into the first season then for some reason stopped keeping up with it - most likely the fact that Aus FTA tv is so shithouse that a whole, consistent, timely season of anything is never aired basically.

I should get the dvds or something.

fix it with like some music glue (Trayce), Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:55 (seven years ago) Permalink

Pretty sure I followed Millenium for a while, but I don't remember the billions-of-deaths part at all. Maybe I copped out early?

NSFW Australia (seandalai), Thursday, 26 April 2012 01:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah i think i was like "cool, Bishop has his own show!" and then gave up after a few episodes. and i watched multiple seasons of Sliders!

some dude, Thursday, 26 April 2012 01:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

i have or maybe had the first season on dvd its... murky? its sortof easy to write a history onto the show about how the network kept interfering with this dark series about mental illness and the apocalyptic thinking trying to turn it into the sort of show that cbs would air on saturday nights where someone uses their psychic gifts to catch serial killers or locate lost cats or reconcile divorced parents or who cares.

the mythology was the part of it that i really liked but it was all confused and ungainly and the procedural stuff was p subpar, nowhere near as good as the x-files monster of the week stuff could be i think the show was too dour and ugly for it? ive never seen the third season tho

Lamp, Thursday, 26 April 2012 01:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

it's kinda crazy how for a moment there chris carter had this macfarlane like carte blanche w/ tv (or fox at least) and was perceived at least as having lots of ideas and then, effectively w/ the end of x-files, nothing; even kevin williamson has had more of a post-moment presence, and ppl figured how actually not very clever he was much much quicker. you'd think w/ all the attempts at a 'next lost' and w/ a market much more friendly to a serial plotted mythology heavy show that at some point someone would've gotten chris carter involved. again i didn't really watch any of his shows much, so no idea how any of them hold up or how good any of them really were in the first place, comparing him to abrams and whedon might be like wondering why r.l. stine isn't as big as j.k. rowling but tbh quality is hardly that huge a factor in why tv gives ppl opportunities anyway.

balls, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

For the most part I watched this, but episodes were usually inconsistent and unrelentingly grim (it seemed like every episode contained at least one suicide). The bizarreness was fun, but it just felt like it was conspiracy theory icing over the standard procedural formula. The show might be worth re-visiting - conspiracy theorists are all over it (along with the Lone Gunmen pilot)

The billions-of-deaths ended up not happening. Virus fatalities were re-classified as mass murder.

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:05 (seven years ago) Permalink

it's kinda crazy how for a moment there chris carter had this macfarlane like carte blanche w/ tv (or fox at least) and was perceived at least as having lots of ideas and then, effectively w/ the end of x-files, nothing

Around the time of the last X-Files movie, I recall Carter saying that he wanted to take a break for a long time (translation: gone surfing). I heard something about him shopping a pilot script for a procedural series, but nothing apparently came out of it. Frank Spotnitz works in the UK now and has a new espionage series coming out this year some time.

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah it's always struck me as interesting that Carter was kind of among the first of the recent generation of 'star' TV creators/showrunners who fans talk about as much as the actors/characters, but he hasn't really had much success then or even seemed to try.

some dude, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah aside from like Outside Auteurs like d. lynch or whatever, chris carter was really the first "creative" i remember hearing by name as the driving force/reason to watch for tv show.

jesus christ (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

matt groening?

Lamp, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

rod serling

balls, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

obviously there are some pretty famous old school TV creators like Norman Lear, James L. Brooks, Gary Marshall etc., which is why i was quick to say 'recent generation'

some dude, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

see, animation struck me differently, even then, as the creator's stamp was all over it visually if nothing else. like even at 13/14, i knew john k. "was" ren & stimpy and bruce timm/paul dini "were" batman: tas. but aside from stars who also wrote/ran shows (seinfeld, etc.), carter was the first name (for my generation?) producer/showrunner/creator i can remember being touted in the press, whereas i didn't know who the fuck was responsible for picket fences or whatthefuckever.

actually, now that i think of it steven bochco and stephen j. cannell (lol) probably registered first.

jesus christ (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

I never watched Harsh Realm and it got relocated to FX or something after a couple episodes. How bad was it?

mh, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:51 (seven years ago) Permalink

was 'picket fences' david e. kelley? i feel like he sort of had a 'brand' in the same way although that might have registered until after the x-files was a huge hit

fwiw i think the x-files still hold up really well but mostly as a procedural rather than as an exercise in serial storytelling and/or 'world-building' or w/e. its certainly way better than 'millennium'

Lamp, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:54 (seven years ago) Permalink

I remember liking a few episodes, but this is all I remember about the show:

Spectrum, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:59 (seven years ago) Permalink

Spectrum, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:59 (seven years ago) Permalink

i watched a bit of this last year after i got onto an x-files revival kick - never really saw 'millennium' the first time around when i was a teenaged x-files fan, for some reason - and it seemed interestingly grim, especially for a tv show, but really slow. like, not the kind of thing you could pay half-attention to, for some reason.

btw lamp

the sort of show that cbs would air on saturday nights where someone uses their psychic gifts to catch serial killers

if this is about the mentalist and not like poppy whoever you are rong

j., Thursday, 26 April 2012 03:00 (seven years ago) Permalink

picket fences was david kelley when he just starting to creep into complete insufferability (certain fyvush finkel fanatics on ilx be damned), iirc his first big show was l.a. law which was a bochco show but you'll increasingly hear ppl call it a david kelley show in retrospect since his fingerprints are all over it (cf david milch w/ nypd blue and, to a much lesser extent, hill st. blues). and then you have things like homicide which at the time was a 'barry levinson' show but now is more likely to be called a david simon or tom fontana show. the first show i can remember specifically watching because of the creator was crime story.

balls, Thursday, 26 April 2012 03:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

Like a lot of people, I followed this for a couple of episodes when it ran originally, then gave up. But it showed up on a horror channel a few years back and I decided to give it another go, and this time really enjoyed it. The show's main problem is the inconsistancy and confusing continuity, especially between seasons, as different writers had different ideas as to what the show was really "about" (and some of the blame for this can be put on Carter, IMO).

The show really hit its stride around the final third of S1, when the scope widened beyond serial killer chases, and the supernatural made a spectacular entrance in the form of Lucy Butler (Sarah Jane Redmond). Her debut episode, "Lamentation", is the best hour of TV Carter ever wrote IMO (and I doubt he'll surpass it at this point). Actually, the trilogy of episodes where she takes centre stage - "Lamentation", "A Room with No View" from S2 and "Antipas" from S3 - are a good sampler for the series overall.

Season 2 gets a lot of divided opinion; some fans think it ruined the series, others think it elevated it (I'm in the latter camp). A whole end-of-world mythology developed, the Millennium group turned out to be centuries old, and there were even some Darin Morgan comedy eps. There were some great visuals, and great use of music (Bobby Darin, Patty Smith, "Love is Blue"). The plague two-parter at the end is phenomenal. It was crazy, ambitious TV, but definitely not to everyone's taste.

S3 was disappointing in several aspects, but there were still great episodes that made it worth watching.

Duane Barry, Thursday, 26 April 2012 10:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

I still haven't seen "Suddenly, Satan Got Behind Me", partly because I understand that it breaks the amazing each-one-better-than-the-last run of Darin Morgan episodes from X-Files to Millennium. But also because I suck.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:07 (seven years ago) Permalink

"Somehow Satan" isn't Morgan's best, but it's still really enjoyable. There are four different segments that vary in tone and quality; one story is completely over the top, but intentionally so. The best is saved for last.

Darin Morgan's best epsiode is "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" IMO.

Duane Barry, Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

picket fences was david kelley when he just starting to creep into complete insufferability (certain fyvush finkel fanatics on ilx be damned)

haha i feel totally implicated by this even though i think i had ceased to constantly reference Fyvush Finkel irl before i came to ilx.

i totally forgot there was a tv show called Harsh Realm, hilarious

some dude, Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

I've got the complete series on DVD. The first two seasons are great. The third...well, it's got Klea Scott from Intelligence at least.

From what I gather Chris Carter created the series and then handed it off to Wong & Morgan so he could work on the X-Files movie. W&M took it into deep mythology, with the Millennium group as some kind of ambiguous Knights Templar secret society, and culminating in the ssn 2 freakout finale.

Then Carter resurfaced and rebooted everything for ssn 3, moving the setting from Seattle, turning the Millenniums into evil baddies and mostly dropping Terry O'Quinn (Carter's best bud.)

President Keyes, Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

I haven't seen this since the original run, but I remember it as super-grim, trying to be a lot more serious than X Files and generally succeeding. Henriksen is really good in a much more developed and depressing role than the rote villains or sidekicks he usually gets to play. The music was great; my favorite was the episode in which Frank was mourning/being haunted by his dead wife to the accompaniment of "The Dark End of the Street."

Brad C., Thursday, 26 April 2012 16:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Could be wishful thinking but:

Though it was never quite as well known as creator Chris Carter's other FOX series, "The X-Files," "Millennium" has, since its three-season run in the late 1990's, developed a sizable cult following. The show starred Lance Henriksen as a criminal profiler with the uncanny ability to put himself inside the mind of a killer. Now, thirteen years after the show went off the air, Henriksen tells that Frank Black could still return on the big screen.

"I think it's going to happen," Henriksen said today at the press junket for the upcoming animated series, "TRON: Uprising." "I really do... There's a big push on right now and there's a lot of crazy people involved in it. They've written a book with interviews with everybody that was on the show including (Frank) Spotnitz and me... It's crazy that you wouldn't give it a shot. It doesn't have to be a $30 million movie either. There's a lot of fans out there in 65 countries. I can't go into any other country without them wondering when the movie is going to be made."

Following the demise of the series, Henriksen made one final appearance as Black in an episode of "The X-Files," timed to air just before the end of 1999. What's happened since then, Henriksen explained, would help fuel the film's narrative.

"Ever since 9/11, the world has changed so radically," he continued. "If 'Millennium' was made today with those characters, it would be a far more interesting show than the limited palette they had with serial killers. I love the idea of a non-judgemental character like Frank Black was... He wanted to know why and how all these things happened, but he knew that judging someone for what they've done would just get in the way of finding out things. Imagine that kind of morality and focus, like a master chess player. There's beads on a string and suddenly you've got a necklace. He knew how to do it. It would be much more interesting now than it was then."

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 May 2012 14:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

Certainly the existence of TRON: Uprising upends all previous notions of what is possible, along with all moralities.

Frank's boss's reappearance as Locke on Lost is one of the connections that most short-circuited my brain over the last decade.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 14 May 2012 14:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

Locke was a regular on that other Chris Carter show too: Harsh Realm

President Keyes, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

There's beads on a string and suddenly you've got a necklace. He knew how to do it.

zomg how tell me

j., Thursday, 10 January 2019 08:22 (five months ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.