BACKGROUND: The year was 1998 and Fox's Millennium—Chris Carter's tonal spin-off of The X-Files—was ending its second season of intriguing, esoteric, and low-rated Friday-night thrills. For most of the series' run to this point, Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) split his time between bringing down monstrous serial killers and attempting to uncover a global conspiracy related to an impending apocalypse. This show was GRIM, basically. But Millennium would never be as grim and nightmarish as its two-hour Season 2 finale, "The Time Is Now," in which not only did Black's beloved wife die OF THE PLAGUE, his clairvoyant associate Lara Means (Kristen Cloke) was driven INSANE after learning the truth about the end of the world. In what has to be one of the most memorable moments ever broadcast on television (to me), Millennium decided to show-not-tell Means' descent into madness with a ten minute (!) montage set to THE ENTIRETY of Patti Smith's freakout masterpiece, "Land."
Ladies and gentlemen, this aired on NETWORK television:
Amazing, right? When Millennium picked back up again that fall, Season 3 functioned as bit of a reboot with new cast members and writers, and the show would never again reach the disturbing heights of its Season 2 finale. I have a working theory that if this series was produced today on, say, AMC, it would be a watercooler hit. Alas, Millennium was an awesome show that was ultimately just too ahead of its time.
Did YOU see this sequence when it first aired?
Did it give you nightmares?
Do you miss Millennium?