Millennium: Complete Series
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Millennium: Complete Series

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There are some television series that may not have made ratings history but remain a fan favorite. In some cases this status is elevated to full on cult classic. Shows like this typically are based on an internal mythology that pervades and maintains the drive of the stories. On such show was ‘Millennium’ which was originally shown on the Fox network. It only lasted three years from 1996 to 1999 ironically never making it to the change in the millennium. Fundamentally it was a crime drama but such a classification is completely inadequate to describe this unique series. Most traditional trade shows depict a dedicated detective working to track down a criminal and bring him to justice. Here the focus was on set on conspiracy and the supernatural. Considering the time that this series aired one of the major themes was a coming apocalyptic event. Back then many people where certain that the change in the calendar would herald the end of the world as we know it. People gathered supplies and horded cash and valuables. In the corporate world and the government the main fear was the millennium bug; most computer software would not be able too cope with the year 2000. Looking back it was thankfully a lot of concern with no cataclysmic reality. However, this was the perfect temporal setting for a series such as this. One of the main reasons the show worked as well as it did and remains such a favorite is it struck a chord with a scared population. Even the name was designed to play upon these fears and the ploy worked.

Like many cult classics it met with mixed critical reviews. It was definitely a series that took some acclimation to understand. This is not the kind of series to see as a critic; you have to be in the group of people who are fans of the genre to fully appreciate it. There is hardly a fantasy or science fiction convention around where you cannot find people avidly and passionately debating the finer points of this show. Now those fans and a legion of new comers to the series can rejoice. Fox has released three separate season sets on DVD starting in 2004. This current release is the first time all three seasons are available in one package. There is one question that is sure to be on the mind of people who many have put off buying all three separate box sets; how much will this cost. The retail price of each of the season sets was about $40. The cost of this full series release is $70 with many online retailers going for about fifty buck. So, not only is this release from Fox one of the most enigmatic series around it is a true bargain. So there goes you last excuse not to enjoy and relish this unique piece of television.

The series was the brain child of Chris Carter. He had another TV show that was met with more general acceptance, ‘The X Files’. Like its sister series ‘Millennium’ was deeply set in a very specific world were the unexplainable was common place. The two series were both set in the same fictional universe and the end of this series actually occurred on ‘The X Files’. The series also was grown from an ‘X Files’ story line. Unfortunately for fans unlike its big brother this show never really caught on for syndication. It has occasionally been aired on some cable stations but the DVD is really the only way to go to see it all. Carter appears to have a fascination with the bizarre and occult. The series here just takes this to a entirely new level. It is also much darker than ‘X Files’ bordering on the macabre. In many ways this show was more like a horror anthology. It has the creep look and feel that helped to draw in the fans of that genre as well. The series started off with a more episodic story line. This gradually merged into season and series arcs that would carry the rest of the series. It went from the freak of the week format to a full blown chronicle of the evil influences in the world.

The main focus of the series is Frank Black (Lance Henriksen). He was one of the founding profilers in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Division where he was a highly decorated special agent. His specialty was tracking down serial killers. Ultimately the job got to him and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He has a loving wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher) and together they have a young daughter Jordan (Brittany Tiplady). Frank has the uncanny ability to get into the minds of the most evil suspects around. Considering his field many would view this as a gift but for him it was a curse. He got to witness first hand the heinous actions people are capable of doing. After Frank left the FBI he began to do contract work. Most times it involved with the Millennium Group, a private law enforcement agency who consult in the worse possible crimes. His best friend and former partner at the FBI is Peter Watts (Terry O'Quinn). He is a full time employee of the Group but over the course of the series comes to believe that the Group has fallen under the sinister control of the Legion. This demonic organization is setting the stage for the coming of the Anti Christ and the apocalypse that is due in 2000. It is also discovered that Jordan shares her father’s ability causing him to be extremely concerned with her future.

Many die hard fans feel that the second season was the peak of the series. Here most of the story lines have moved away from the episodic to a serialized format. It is also in this season that much of the series’ mythology is laid out. There is also the infusion of some extremely dark humor which helped keep the series from becoming so dismal as to put off the fans. In season two Frank gets even closer to the evil world that exists just below our perception. Events of this season almost crush Frank leaving season three for him to try to pick up the pieces. A large part of this is Frank’s departure from the Millennium Group to return working for the FBI. Much of this decision had to do with the revelation that the Group has been corrupted by the very force of evil they were fighting. What helped to set this series apart from the rest of television was the way it delved into the affect such evil had upon those dedicated to fighting it. All the characters are finely drawn with dept and realism.

Fox has packaged all three individual season sets together here. That means all 18 discs are here. This includes all the season oriented extras present in the original releases. This is one not too miss. If you think the ‘X Files’ was fun wait until you get a load of this show.

Posted 10/05/08

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