Season One

Starring: Lance Henriksen
20th Century Fox
RRP 39.99
Certificate: 18
Available 12 July 2004

Frank Black is an ex-FBI agent who can enter the minds of killers. After a breakdown caused by fears for his family's safety, Black has moved them out of Washington, DC to Seattle, where his ability to delve into the psyche of murderers has made him a valuable consultant for the mysterious and clandestine Millennium Group, an organisation of former law enforcement officials dedicated to fighting the rise in crime as the new millennium draws closer. Frank helps the Group solve the most difficult of cases through his special abilities and begins to feel he is finally using his gift to protect others...

Season one of Millennium starts off on fairly rocky ground. While the pilot sets the scene nicely, and is incredibly well executed, the following episodes seem to take the early X-Files approach. It's back to the monster of the week story lines.

Frank's ability of being to see into the mind of the killer also becomes confusing in the early episodes. Is he simply able to think like them, or is he psychic? Well, if you watch the extras on the disc it is made quite clear that Frank is not psychic, yet he seems to know everything and at other times misses the obvious.

And the fact that Frank seems to know everything also detracts from the suspense of the majority of the early episodes. Part of the success of detective shows is that tracking down the killer and piecing together the motive and way the killer operated is the whole point of the suspense. In Millennium, the writers can, and do, write themselves into corners only for Frank to wade in, see how the killer thinks and solve the crime before you know what is going on. This really is annoying in quite a few episodes.

For example. In the episode Weeds, Frank can't work out why some of the kids that are being kidnapped are killed while others are freed. Now, I worked it out straight away and I can't see into the mind of the killer... so what gives? And while we are on the subject of Weeds... how did the killer know the guilty little secrets of all the men he was punishing? One of them was even the perpetrator of a hit and run accident - why didn't he tip off the police?

Some of the episodes are very X-Files in style. All you'd have to do is throw in a little paranormal activity and you have a season one, monster of the week, X-Files episode. This is especially evident in the season finale Paper Dove, but traces of it are there in the weird mutilations that occur in The Judge, the religious killings in Kingdom Come, and the Noah's Ark revisited episode Force Majeure.

Extras include: Order in Chaos: Making Millennium Season One, a 50 minute look at the first season with interviews with cast and crew; Chasing the Dragon: A Conversation with the Academy Group, a 20 minute featurette that interviews members of the Academy Group, an organisation of retired FBI agents who work in the corporate sector; Creating the Logo and Title Sequence; and a very out of date trailer for the TV release of season two of 24... er... this Millennium DVD is released just before season three of 24 is being released on DVD. So why is this pointless 24 extra included?

It's not until the final quarter of this season that things start to settle down, you start to warm to Frank and things start to look hopeful. Sadly though, that will be a little too late for most people.

Ray Thompson

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