A former FBI profiler moves his family from Washington DC to Seattle, where he joins the Millennium Group, a mysterious organization of former law enforcement officers, committed to battling a crime wave which grows as the turn of the millennium approaches. Written by
Alexander Lum <email@example.com>
Very few people understood what Millennium was about, but for its fans, it remains a very stirring drama. A lot of critics misrepresent Millennium as some kind of gloomy police drama, when the cases that Frank Black investigated during the course of season one were merely vehicles in which to explore the grayer shades of humanity.
Only about half of the twenty-two episodes during the first season were concerned with just serial killers--far less than critics like to think. Look closer and you'll see that episodes like the pilot, "Gehenna," "The Judge" and "Sacrament" had supernatural/apocalyptic elements to them, which make them far less mundane than some might initially think. ("Gehenna" even had visuals of a winged beast, or Legion as the fans dubbed him, descending from the sky.)
Regarding those other, say, eight or ten serial killer episodes, Millennium addressed the big questions: What made these men? What can society do to stop them? You won't hear the investigators on CSI or Law & Order ask these questions, unless in a glib, sarcastic way. Those programs are all about police procedure. To me, *that's* depressing. When Frank looked 'into the minds of killers,' he was trying to understand them, sometimes even sympathize with them. These killers weren't evil people. They were tragic people that did evil things--most were victims themselves. Millennium gave human faces to ghastly perpetrators.
The latter season one episodes stray from the serial killer motifs. "Force Majeure" involves a man in an iron lung who preaches about a planetary alignment that will have cataclysmic consequences. "Walkabout" sheds light on Frank's past when he participates in a clinical trial for an experimental drug that might suppress his 'gift.' "Maranatha" takes Frank to the Russian district of New York in pursuit of Yaponchik, who may be the Antichrist. And then there's the stunning "Lamentation"/"Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions" two-parter, in which devils and angels aren't merely a concept, but physically exist alongside Frank and his colleagues!
Millennium also isn't relentlessly gory or downbeat. Look at the endings of "The Well Worn Lock," "Powers," or especially "The Wild and the Innocent"--still one of the most uplifting hours of television I've seen to this day. A lot of the show's early work is about criminals taking responsibility, victims learning to heal, and how Frank, and his family and friends, come to an understanding about Why Bad Things Happen. Don't be so dark, critics. Millennium--seriously!--is not.
Season two of Millennium is nothing short of brilliant, but the foundation is laid here. Strong scripts, talented actors, exceptional production values, and timeless themes (the tolls of work on family life, humanity's struggle with evil, temptations of the Devil, faith and religion, corruptions in governments and organizations) make all three seasons of Millennium a MUST BUY. Don't let mistaken critics, or lackluster DVD sets (a show this rich needs more commentary!), dissuade you from owning one of the best shows of the 90's, nay, of all time.
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