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Millennium: The Complete First Season (November 19/04)

Millennium marked Chris Carter's first post X-Files project, and though it only lasted three seasons, there's no denying that it contains its share of indelible images and ideas. Though both shows feature the same sort of off-kilter approach, Millennium's distinctly dark tone sets it apart from the comparatively jokey adventures of Mulder and Scully.

Right from the very first episode of the show, it's clear that Frank Black (brilliantly played by Lance Henriksen) isn't going to be a carbon copy of David Duchovny's Fox Mulder. Mulder's ironic and sardonic sense of humor is completely absent from the series, something that's particularly noticeable in the guise of Frank. Henriksen portrays Frank as an almost humorless character, though as the first season's episodes play out, it's easy enough to see why. Frank possesses an unusual ability that allows him to literally get inside the mind of the killer he is pursuing, so it's not surprising that the man's running around with a dour demeanor.

To offset Frank's relentlessly bleak worldview, Millennium also features a number of equally intriguing supporting characters - most notably, Frank's wife (Megan Gallagher) and daughter (Brittany Tiplady). Though it occasionally seems to stretch credibility that such a morose figure would be able to stay married, the dynamic between Frank and his wife is believable enough to allow us to believe in their relationship. The cast also includes several familiar faces, including Bill Smitrovich and Lost star Terry O'Quinn.

But it's Henriksen that keeps us intrigued, turning Frank into an unusually complex and layered character. There must've been a real danger of turning Frank into a male Debbie Downer, but over the course of the first season's episodes, Frank becomes more than just a doomsayer. Of course, the season ends on a cliffhanger note - with Frank's wife kidnapped - a smart move, given that season two is due for release shortly.

 

About the DVD: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the complete first season of Millennium on six discs, and the episodes look fabulous. On the bonus features side, the set includes a fascinating 53-minute look at the making of the series (this is almost worth buying the whole thing for). Also included are a pair of commentary tracks, two more documentaries (one on the creation of the title sequence, and the other on the group that the series' Millennium Group has been modeled after), and eight TV spots (along with some bonus promos). A great package.
© David Nusair