When I watch a movie (or a TV show), it’s like there are two of me in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs and things that explode, the kind of movies we call POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s another fellow who accompanies him. This guy likes some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. POPCORN: Dude, what’s up with all the black. You joinin’ a Goth band? CINEMA: No, I’m mourning. I have to wonder if I was wrong, that the apocalypse really is coming. First it took Prince and Leonard Cohen, and now 2016 took my TV mom away. POPCORN: Naw, man. Lassie died years ago. CINEMA: Guffaws ensue, you droll son-of-a-bitch. No, I’m referring to Florence Henderson. POPCORN: Mrs. Brady? Damn, dude. CINEMA: It’s like everything from my childhood up to now is just being torn away, as if that sunshine day did nothing but give us all cancer. POPCORN: Well, you can be like every other liberal and just blame it on Trump. CINEMA: You know, I think I’m going to. From now on, whenever anything bad happens, it’s going to be his fault. I’m starting the Thanks, Trump movement. POPCORN: Stubbed your toe: Thanks, Trump. Erectile dysfunction: Thanks, Trump. CINEMA: I’m serious, it’s happening. POPCORN: Alright, dude. Whatever makes you happy. CINEMA: There’s another reason I’m dressed like Johnny Cash today. Considering the dark times that have greeted us and persisted throughout this millennium, and the success of the recent X-Files revival, I think the world needs Frank Black now more than ever. POPCORN: Was that, like, the dude that played Sam the Butcher? CINEMA: What? No, Frank was the main character in Chris Carter’s red-headed stepchild series, MILLENNIUM. It aired on Fox between 1996 and 1999, and it followed the investigations of a former FBI profiler who moves back to Seattle for a new start with his wife and child. POPCORN: Oh yeah. CINEMA: Starring that craggy-faced old character actor Lance Henriksen – POPCORN: Bishop in ALIENS, dude. CINEMA: – as Frank Black, who is returning to his hometown after suffering a nervous breakdown. He’s become an independent consultant for the mysterious Millennium Group. They’ve recognized certain abilities he has – POPCORN: The dude could see shit like the killers saw it. CINEMA: Bingo. POPCORN: Yeah, man, that show was bad-ass. CINEMA: It stemmed from “Irresistible”, a second-season episode of THE X-FILES, which dealt with Donny Faster, a creepy serial killer who ritually bathed his female victims before dispatching them. Faster became obsessed with Scully during the course of the investigation – POPCORN: – and when the dude goes after her, she, like, sees him as a demon. CINEMA: That would be the one. Watching it again recently, especially the scene with Faster’s demonic silhouette in the bathroom light, I immediately thought of the demons that would eventually appear in MILLENNIUM. That episode got Chris Carter thinking about all the non-alien evils that lurked in the dark, that Scully’s kind of science (and even Mulder’s kind of giddy belief in the supernatural) couldn’t explain them all away. Frank Black kind of became an older, more somber version of Mulder, minus the clever repartee and the sexy female partner. POPCORN: No sunshine day there, dude. That show was dark. CINEMA: That was Carter’s intention. He wanted to explore evil in a way where religion played more of a role. With the success of THE X-FILES (and a theatrical film already in the works), Fox gave him the green-light for another series. I’m not sure if they knew what they were getting themselves in for. POPCORN: Probably a better idea than that Lone Gunmen shit. CINEMA: Carter had imagined Lance Henriksen in the role from the beginning, though the network didn’t think he had much sex appeal. They wanted William Hurt – POPCORN: Yeah, cuz he’s a burnin’ hunk o’ love. CINEMA: – but Hurt had no intentions of doing a television show. Neither did Henriksen. When he received the script for the pilot episode, he thought it was for a theatrical movie. It took a while to change his mind, and one of his biggest questions for Carter was how they would make this guy a hero. POPCORN: Cuz he looks like such a sourpuss. CINEMA: That, and he was 56 years old when the show started. I mean, it wasn’t like they would be able to pull off the whole relatively-young-and-hip thing that THE X-FILES had going for it. Carter explained that, because he was standing up against all this darkness, that made Frank Black a hero. Henriksen also felt the show needed some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what the yellow house the Blacks moved into represented, a kind of refuge from the horror of the world. POPCORN: Dude, that first episode, man. All those strippers and that creepy guy watchin’ from the booth. He’s holdin’ some words up to the glass, but nobody can read ’em cuz most strippers don’t know French – except for this one chick I knew, she knew some, lemme tell ya – anyway, there’s that one stripper. She’s all, like, Hammer girl busty, and blonde, but she looks kinda sweet too. Like, she’s just in this gig cuz she’s tryin’ to support a child – CINEMA: He requests a private show – POPCORN: Yeah, and she’s all wigglin’ around in there, like, what do you want? And he’s like, to see you dance in the blood-dimmed tide, and you know the dude’s a couple cans short of a six-pack. Then there’s all this blood comin’ outta the walls, and there’s fire – CINEMA: Cut to the Blacks arriving at their new house. They seem pretty happy, especially Catherine, and it’s obvious that Frank just adores his daughter. But, almost immediately, he opens the newspaper and reads about the girl getting killed. So he goes to visit his old friend Bletcher, who’s in charge of the police force where Frank worked years ago, before his ill-fated stint with the FBI – POPCORN: He’s all like, can I see the body? But then he, like, doesn’t even need to pull back the tarp to see it. He’s, like, he cut off her head and her fingers and he’s kinda disturbed and he likes poetry and long walks on the beach – CINEMA: The first episode aired on October 25th, 1996. Even though they dropped it in the Friday 9pm graveyard shift, the pilot got the highest number of viewers for any Fox premier at the time. They promoted the hell out of that first episode, too, though they hardly bothered ever again. There remained a loyal fan base, almost to the show’s bitter end three years later, but it quickly began to drop in ratings. It was considered too dark for your average viewer – POPCORN: You think? The whole family’s home, orderin’ some pizza, huddling around the TV. Hey, what’re we watchin’, Pa? Oh, looks like we got strippers, some folks with their lips and eyes sewn shut, and now there’s a severed head in a plastic bag. CINEMA: No one was ready for that on a weekly basis in 1996. POPCORN: There’s worse shit goin’ down on THE WALKING DEAD now, man. Shoot, I know whole families that park in front-a that show every Sunday night. Grandmas and middle-school kids, all up in there watchin’ Negan beat someone’s brains out. CINEMA: True, but a lot has changed in twenty years. I think we’ve become a nation with a much darker outlook. We’ve certainly gotten more accepting of violence. Just look at how many school shootings there have been since Columbine, or the pervasive presence of terror in our daily news-speak since 9/11. POPCORN: Yeah, dude, I think that show would-a been a huge hit today. CINEMA: I’ll give Fox some credit for keeping it going for as long as they did. Undoubtedly, their desire to keep Carter happy making them so much money with THE X-FILES had something to do with it. POPCORN: Like lettin’ your rich second-cousin bring his squirrely kid to Christmas dinner. CINEMA: I’d never seen anything like it on television before. The tone and subject matter went on to influence a host of other shows, from CSI and CRIMINAL MINDS to, most recently, HANNIBAL and THE EXORCIST. POPCORN: It was kinda like that PROFILER show, where that chick saw killers and stuff. She was always tryin’ to catch that Jack dude who killed her husband. CINEMA: Well, the visions were similar, but the show’s outlook was entirely different. It was the murky tone, like I said, and they had the almost constant rain of living in Seattle. That gave it a kind of hopeless, depressed feel. Not to mention Chris Carter’s penchant for making everything seem like part of a larger conspiracy. POPCORN: Like the Millennium Group. CINEMA: Yeah, we’re not even sure what their purpose is when the show begins, outside of having an interest in these quasi-religious serial killers. But when Peter Watts, their main connection to Frank, is played by Terry O’Quinn – POPCORN: The creepy dude from THE STEP-FATHER. CINEMA: – and the somewhat sketchy character of John Locke on LOST – POPCORN: – who got nothin’ but sketchier as it went on – CINEMA: – you know that things aren’t going to be what they seem with the group. The show has remained well-loved and unforgotten by folks like Bryan Fuller and Vince Gilligan, who have gone on to do a few things with dark themes themselves. POPCORN: They broke bad, dude. CINEMA: MILLENNIUM shared a lot of THE X-FILES’ great talent, like Gilligan, or writing/producing duo Glen Morgan and James Wong, writer Frank Spotnitz, director David Nutter, and Darin Morgan, who wrote some of the big brother show’s most critically-beloved episodes. In addition, there were some character actors who appeared there as well. POPCORN: Saw that Eugene Tooms dude on MILLENNIUM. CINEMA: Doug Hutchinson. Yeah, he played the guy who unwisely abducted Frank’s wife at the end of the first season, appearing in season two’s opener, “The Beginning and the End”. POPCORN: He gets beaten to death for his troubles – CINEMA: – which convinces Catherine that the darkness has finally gotten to Frank. So she splits. It set up a different dynamic for the second season, which was helmed by Morgan and Wong while Chris Carter was busy on the first X-Files movie. Many people, including myself, count this as the best run of the series. POPCORN: Yeah, man, that second season kinda went bat-shit. CINEMA: In a good way. POPCORN: Isn’t that when those four dudes, like, meet in a coffee shop? They’re all bitchin’ about kids today, that kinda thing, then they start bitchin’ about Frank. Camera comes around to show ’em again and, like, they’re all demons. CINEMA: That was a Darin Morgan episode, called “Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me”. POPCORN: One of ’em was a real douche-bag, you know, cuz they’re freakin’ demons. So the dude workin’ the counter, like, pisses in his coffee. But the demon-douche, he’s not even mad. He’s actually kinda hopeful now. CINEMA: The times are dark, my friend, and we all need hope. POPCORN: Even demons. CINEMA: Damn right. Each of the three seasons was like a somewhat different show. The first round was like a dark police procedural with overtones of supernatural evil. The second season was more about the apocalyptic mythology. This is where we learn that the group Frank’s been working for isn’t necessarily protecting everyone from the end of the world, but possibly trying to ensure that it happens. POPCORN: And the third season was . . . CINEMA: It was just kinda there. POPCORN: KISS rocked out one-a those episodes, though. That was sweet. CINEMA: Yeah, I forgot about that. No one expected the show to be granted another chance, so there was some backtracking to do with season three. Carter reclaimed the reins, hoping to bring it back to his original intentions. Some of the craziness of the second-season finale was written off. Frank gets a partner. There were more standalone stories and the conspiracies weren’t played out as well as they could have been. But that second round was always going to be hard to top. POPCORN: For real, man. Some serious craziness in that last one. CINEMA: With cancellation looming, Morgan and Wong wanted to give the show a proper send-off. They would have succeeded in every way. It began in the previous episode, “The Fourth Horseman”, when a viral outbreak began to spread across the country – POPCORN: Families droppin’ dead, face-first into their chicken dinners. CINEMA: Frank goes to Peter Watts about it, and he seems to know a lot more than he’s saying. Then Frank’s colleague, a recurring character named Lara Means, seems to have gotten too deep into the Group’s business. So, in “The Time Is Now”, she begins to hallucinate about the end of the world – POPCORN: For ten minutes, dude. It’s all mega-trippy, and that song – CINEMA: Patti Smith’s freakout masterpiece “Land” – POPCORN: Dude. I thought I’d gotten some of the brown acid. That was some insane shit. CINEMA: Some of the most insane shit I’ve ever seen on broadcast television, the entire episode, including a few other shocking events that happen toward the end. I won’t ruin it here for anyone who hasn’t seen the show, but I urge you – POPCORN: For real, urge you – CINEMA: – to check out the first two seasons, if only to reach the looming apocalypse that was depicted in that episode – POPCORN: Best damn TV end-of-the-world ever. CINEMA: – and then just try to forgive them for season three. POPCORN: Even better than the zombie apocalypse, dude. CINEMA: Everyone would definitely have been blowing up social media if it played today. Interesting bit of trivia: there’s a passing image in that massive hallucination which suggested that THE X-FILES’ Cigarette Smoking Man was a member of the Millennium Group. POPCORN: Wow, really? CINEMA: Just imagine if they had done more with that crossover. As it was, after the show was cancelled with the third season, Chris Carter attempted to tie up Frank’s story in an X-File. The episode was from the show’s seventh season. Titled “Millennium”, it dealt with some former members of the group attempting to bring about the end with zombies – POPCORN: Yeah, they had a mini-boner for Romero in that one. CINEMA: It was probably better remembered for Mulder and Scully sharing their first legitimate kiss as the ball dropped on the new year. Many fans of either show (including Lance Henriksen) didn’t feel like it did those stories much justice, but I was mostly satisfied by it. POPCORN: Like my girlfriend always says, a little Frank is better than no more Frank at all. CINEMA: What girlfriend? POPCORN: Yo, man, I’m still gettin’ some from when I dressed up like Deadpool. CINEMA: Whatever. POPCORN: Been hearin’ talk about bringin’ it back, though. CINEMA: Your little Popcorn? POPCORN: Naw, dude, the show. CINEMA: For real? POPCORN: Yeah, man. Bishop-dude wants to do it, so does Chris Carter. Maybe, like, a movie or somethin’. They already done some stuff in the comics, like they did with THE X-FILES before it came back. So you never know. CINEMA: That might cheer me up, seeing Frank Black again. POPCORN: Damn right, dude. Mrs. Brady might be gone, but Frank Black, man, that dude’s gonna live forever. – j meredith POPCORN CINEMA will return with some goodies for your stocking. Meanwhile, feel free to drop a comment or click a ‘Like’ . . . it makes the guys feel good. Check out all our previous editions on PSYCHO DRIVE-IN. See larger image Millennium: The Complete DVD Collection Bonus Features: Season 1: Disc 1: **Millenium Season 1 Episodes (Disc 1) *Pilot with Commentary by Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Chris Carter *Gehenna with Commentary by Director David Nutter *Dead Letters Disc 2: **Millenium Season 1 episodes (Disc 2) *Kingdom Come *Blood Relatives Disc 3: **Millenium Season 1 episodes (Disc 3) **Wide Open *The Wild and the Innocent *Weeds *Loin Like a Hunting Flame Disc 4: **Millenium Season 1 episodes (Disc 4) *Force Majeure *The Thin White Line *Sacrament *Covenant Disc 5: **Millenium Season 1 episodes (Disc 5) *Walkabout *Lamentation *Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions *Broken World Disc 6: **Millenium Season 1 episodes (Disc 6) *Maranatha *Paper Dove Season 2: Disc 7: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 1) *The Beginning and the End *Beware of the Dog *Sense and Antisense *Monster Disc 8: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 2) *A Single Blade of Grass *The Curse of Frank Black *The Hand of Saint Sebastian *The Hand of Saint Sebastian Commentary by Tom Wright Disc 9: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 3) *Jose Chungâ??s Doomsday Defense *Midnight of the Century (Holiday) *Goodbye Charlie *Luminary Disc 10: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 4) *The Mikado *The Pest House *Owls *Roosters *The Mikado Commentary by Michael R. Perry Disc 11: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 5) *Siren *In Arcadia *Ego *Anamnesis *A Room with No View Disc 12: **Millenium Season 2 episodes (Disc 6) *Somehow *Satan Got Behind Me *The Fourth Horseman *The Time is Now **The Turn of the Tide: Making of Season 2 **Academy Group: Victimology Season 3: Disc 13: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 1) *The Innocents (Commentary by Lance Henrickson and Klea Scott) *Exegesis *Teotwawki *Closure Disc 14: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 2) *…Thirteen Years Later (KISS) *Skull and Bones *Through A Glass, Darkly *Human Essence Disc 15: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 3) *Omerta *Borrowed Time *Collateral Damage (Commentary by Tom Wright) *The Sound of Snow Disc 16: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 4) *Anitpas *Matryoshka *Forcing the End *Saturn Dreaming of Mercury Disc 17: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 5) *Darwin’s Eyes *Bardo Thodol *Seven and One *Nostalgia Disc 18: **Millenium Season 3 episodes (Disc 6) *Via Dolorosa *Goodbye To All That *X-Files “Millennium” episode from Season 7 **End Game: The Making of Millennium Season 3 & Between the Lines New From: $36.21 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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