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—opening titles, first season
Millennium was a FOX show created by Chris Carter, best known for The X-Files. Lasting three seasons, 1996-1999, it starred Lance Henriksen as ex-FBI agent Frank Black (not that Frank Black), a consultant to various police forces investigating violent crimes with the mysterious Millennium Group. The show was retooled significantly each season--the executive producers of the show changed each season. Throughout the series' run, however, the overall tone remained dark and disturbing, which did not appeal to mainstream television viewers, but earned the respect of a devoted group of fans.
The first season focused primarily on Frank's work as The Profiler, consulting with police forces in catching violent criminals, usually serial killers. The audience saw brief clips of Frank's perception of what the criminals saw, but it was left deliberately vague whether these were psychic visions, or just Frank's non-supernatural, but highly skilled, insights into the criminals' minds. Forays into the supernatural were few and ambiguous in the first season.
The second season delved much deeper into the nature of the Millennium Group and the apocalyptic themes which were behind it. A major theme was the schism in the Group between "Owls" and "Roosters," two factions with different views of the approaching millennium and how it should be handled. It also brought in clearly supernatural themes, angels and demons, and made Frank's visions explicitly psychic.
The third season saw Frank leave the Millennium Group due to their actions at the end of the second season, and return to the FBI. Its subject material was somewhere between the first and second seasons: it returned to some extent to the criminal-of-the-week format of the first season, but also explored mystical and religious themes, and the nature of the Millennium Group as in the second season. Unfortunately, the Executive Meddling in this season led to some outright continuity violations: the plague released at the end of the second season, projected to kill a significant fraction of the population of the North American west coast, instead kills less than a hundred people, which is never adequately explained; we learn that J. Edgar Hoover founded the Millennium Group, after learning in the previous season that the Group's history dates back at least to The Middle Ages.
The show should not be confused with the 1983 John Varley novel of the same title, or the 1989 film based on it, which deal with an airplane crash caused by Time Travel, or with The Millennium Trilogy.
- Abusive Parents - The Dad in "The Well-Worn Lock"
- Ancient Conspiracy - The Millennium Group, especially as depicted in the second season.
- Artistic License Medicine: In "Walkabout", Peter Watts says that thalidomide was administered to prevent miscarriages, which is false. It was administered to treat morning sickness.
- Artistic Title
- Beware the Nice Ones - Frank Black ("The Beginning and the End")
- Blessed with Suck - Frank's ability to see the world through the eyes of serial killers and murderers,(Sure, it's useful but who would WANT that?)
- Breather Episode: "Jose Chung's Doomday Defense" and "Somehow Satan Got Behind Me". Given how dark the series was, these were necessary to keep the audience sane.
- Buried Alive - In the pilot episode, the victims having their mouths and eyes sewn shut, and then being nailed into coffins. While still alive.
- Came Back Wrong - "Powers and Principalities"
- A Child Shall Lead Them - Implied to be the future of one of the kidnapped children in "19:19"
- Darker and Edgier - Much of the humor that offset The X-Files' horror is absent here.
- Deal with the Devil - which Legion keeps offering Frank through various guises. Subverted in that Frank never accepts despite all the threats to his family. Some of Frank's targets play this straight.
- The Devil - Legion, described as "the devil's liege, the base sum of all evil"
- The Devil Is a Loser - "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me," which subverts much of the rest of the show's darkness
- Do They Know It's Christmas Time? ("Midnight of the Century," "Omerta")
- The End of the World as We Know It - The "blood plague" that breaks out in the season 2 finale. Thanks to Executive Meddling, the world got better in time for season 3.
- Executive Meddling
- Finger in the Mail - The serial killer variation showed up where a sinister figure known as "the Judge" has criminals committing vigilante killings and mailing body parts to the victims' victims.
- Fully-Absorbed Finale
- I Am Legion - Frank's true nemesis, of which Lucy Butler is only one face
- Initiation Ceremony - Which drove Lara Means insane in the second season finale
- Jumped the Shark - Debate continues over whether the series Jumped the Shark after the first season, after the second, or never jumped it at all.
- Killed Off for Real - Catherine Black
- Mad Bomber ("522666")
- Murder by Cremation ("Gehenna")
- Murder.Com ("The Mikado")
- Music Video Syndrome - An entire act of the season 2 finale is essentially a music video for Patti Smith's "Land".
- Never One Murder
- Next Sunday AD - In the first two seasons, the login message on Frank's computer tells him how many days are remaining until 1/1/00.
- Ouroboros - A tattoo of one marks each member of the Millenium group.
- The Profiler - Frank Black
- Serial Killer
- Special Guest - KISS, "... Thirteen Years Later."
- Theme Serial Killer: Plenty of episodes.
- Vigilante Man - The Judge
- Waif Prophet - Jordan Black, later in the series
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - Frank and Lara's unique perceptions of reality lead to mental breakdowns. Frank initially seems to have recovered from his; by the third season, however, he's again fraying at the edges.