Millennium. A dramatic-thriller series which delves into a multitude of genres from serial killer investigations, government conspiracy, biblical prophecy, and even some supernatural elements. A quite dark series on top of that, created by Chris Carter and aired by Fox, a small-yet-incredible piece of The X-Files universe that stands on its own. Starring Lance Henrikson, his show differs from its sibling series' long run, being cut short at three seasons (with a 'coda' crossover episode). In its entirety, this is the story of Frank Black and his daughter Jordan. And you know what...
I absolutely love this show! I've only recently gotten into Millennium, with big thanks to the Chiller cable channel, and am now proud to say I own the series DVD set (showing both my love for the series and support for a future feature film). This mark in thriller television history took some most interesting and unexpected turns, overseen by different writers and figure-heads, but always given the blessing and support of its creator. Millennium is, as I view it, unique in that it's primarily a "family show" which happens to involve serial killer investigating and some rather blunt violence & realism, forcing me to suggest it just for adults.
As I'm quite sure others have pointed out, each season clearly has its own distinctive style and scope. Season 1, being the first year where the cabstand writers have to find themselves, serves as a pure gritty (and at times shockingly violent) 'serial killer investigation' drama, being mostly stand-alone "killer of the week" while also supplying an underlaid over-all arc with a certain stalker of Frank's. Season 2 kicks things up a huge notch by exploring the mythology of the show's namesake Group in near-epic ways, where the conspiracy and biblical material the show can be known well for brings out all the stops. Then with Season 3, Millennium's main city venue makes the move from Seattle to Washington D.C., where Frank gets back to his roots and lets his feelings for the Group be very clear as he starts working with a new partner.
While I love Seasons 1 and 3, Season 2 may in fact by my favorite of the show. I know the story heads and main writers, Morgan & Wong, get a heck of a lot of flak for their new direction to the show, but dang... The stakes to Frank's journey are raised so considerably and the turns Millennium takes in its mythology exploration are downright incredible, displaying its best overall season arc IMHO. I'm not gonna knock off Season 3 though, while its own new direction may take some getting used to at first, it continues to elevate the rising stakes in a more underlaid and yet continually intriguing manner as the clock to the year 2000 seriously ticks down. I also get a joy out of the complex Emma, whom while I don't like as much as Frank's wife Catherine, becomes a great partner to Frank and thus holds quite a shock in the series finale.
Other pivotal characters include, as already mentioned, Frank's wife Catherine. A more stunning and brilliant actress couldn't have been selected, 'nough said. The character of Peter Watts, whom ultimately goes from Frank's liaison to the group to his best friend, is in my view the most fascinating character of the series. While there's a considerable gap to his character development between the second and third seasons, his development and evolution proves to be incredible and for where his story ultimately ends up, it doesn't disappoint IMO. Frank and his perfectly-cute daughter, Jordan, serve as the two main characters from the very beginning to the very end, therefore I'd argue Millennium is just as much their story as anybody's, I'd say their relationship is one all fathers to young girls could admire.
On the whole and in the end, Millennium is a very dark series that like other fantastic shows such as Angel, Firefly, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was canceled in its prime long before its time. It really wasn't afraid to hold anything back, pulling no punches if ya' wanna put it that way, as any character could die. I am absolutely in love with it and would be on cloud 9 if a feature film were made, as there's always more room to explore. I always somehow get tears in my eyes, and yes I'm a guy, when watching the last few minutes of the series finale, "Goodbye to All That". Even though the show finishes months before the year 2000, "May 21st, 1999" to be exact, it's just such a poignant and beautiful moment during the final exchange between Frank and his little girl.
Luckily, while there aren't yet any feature film plans, we did get a sort of continuation and conclusion beyond the series finale. The X-Files Season 7 episode, appropriately titled "Millennium", features the return and final appearances of Frank Black (and his daughter Jordan, though really only a cameo in her case) approximately 7 months after the finale as the year 2000 is finally reached, a 'coda' crossover that's beautifully enough included on Season 3's last disc. Now this episode gets more than its fair share of flak IMO for how matters with Frank, or rather the Group mostly, are handled. However, I was surprisingly pleased, enjoying the episode on more than one viewing, even if it may be on a X-Files level of weirdness. It offers some decent enough closure beyond the show's finale in my view and that final scene between Frank and Jordan... it's just absolutely perfect to finally see them together, without the threat of the Group on them, and no longer having to go on the run.
The saga of Frank Black is not to be missed if you value unbelievably profound, beautiful, & gripping story telling. I fully recommend it, 10 stars~