Twenty Years Later…
Twenty years ago today, on 25th October 1996, a truly groundbreaking television drama debuted on the Fox network in the USA. It was welcomed by a massive audience of 18 million and drew widespread critical acclaim. Stepping into the Friday evening slot that was previously the home for his other creation, The X-Files, Chris Carter‘s Millennium introduced us to Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), an iconic consulting forensic profiler gifted with the ability to see into the minds of killers. A hero of singular vision, his was the weight of the world as he fought against a rising tide of evil in the final days of the twentieth century.
Across its three seasons, Millennium would undergo a number of transformations, from the considered procedural-based exploration of evil of its first season, through the more esoteric and conspiracy-laden tone of its second, and then to something of a hybrid in its third and final year. Ask any aficionado of the series—or, for that matter, its creator himself—and they will, however, point to its pilot episode as a finely-crafted encapsulation of its core ideas and potential. One critic described it as “perhaps the most perfect opening episode to a one-hour suspense thriller television show ever conceived,” and we would be hard pressed to disagree. We still remember the thrill and anticipation of seeing that first episode of Millennium, and its creative influence still holds powerful sway over us.
Millennium was cancelled in untimely fashion mere months before the turn of the year 2000. But its story didn’t quite end there. In 2011, we were invited by the titular campaign seeking to bring about its protagonist’s return to collaborate on Back to Frank Black, an unprecedented book of material exploring the landmark series. The volume was published in 2012 and featured extensive interviews with key cast and crew, a series of essays analysing Millennium‘s characters, themes, and enduring legacy, plus forewords from Lance Henriksen and co-executive producer Frank Spotnitz, and an introduction by Chris Carter.
The book marked the natural culmination of our involvement, but efforts to revive Millennium continue. In 2015, IDW Publishing continued its story in a five-part comic book run, whilst the latest incarnation of fan-led efforts are being invested in the forthcoming documentary Millennium after the Millennium. We wish that endeavour every success, and we can’t wait to see it.
Two decades on from its debut, Millennium is as fresh as ever—something I can personally vouch for having continued to introduce new viewers to the series just this year. And as Chris Carter said in an interview earlier this month, “I think [the] show has much more life to it.” So if you are new to the world of Frank Black, please do check out this twenty-years-young series, which is available on DVD in both Region 1 and Region 2 formats. And if you want to learn more about Millennium, check out Back to Frank Black, which is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.
Wait. Worry. It is still dark of night. This is who we are.