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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Millennium: The Complete Third Season (1998-1999)

"At the turning of the last millennium, a thousand years ago, it was foretold that the world would be consumed by fire and misery. The unbelievers slept untroubled. But the faithful toiled against the inevitable, weighed by a terrible burden: who would be spared and who would be left behind."
- Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) opening narration from episode Teotwawki

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: September 08, 2005

Stars: Lance Henriksen
Other Stars: Terry O'Quinn, Klea Scott, Brittany Tiplady, Katy Boyer, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Jon Polito, James Marsters, Art Bell, Brendan Fehr, Art Hindle, Barbara Bain, Juliet Landau, Jacinda Barrett, Stephen Lang, Sarah-Jane Redmond
Director: Thomas J. Wright, Ralph Hemecker, Daniel Sackheim, Paul Shapiro, Dwight Little, Arthur W. Forney, Kenneth Fink, Peter Markle

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence and discussions of violence)
Run Time: 16h:10m:00s
Release Date: September 06, 2005
UPC: 024543118053
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-BB A

DVD Review

Find a Millennium fan (in and of itself something of a challenge), and most will generally poo-poo this third and final season of the Chris Carter-created series. Even with a bizarre guest appearance by Kiss, I don't necessarily dismiss this season quite as readily as some, simply on the strength of particular episodes collected here and the dour presence of the great Lance Henriksen. But the show had been boxed into a very tight corner at the end of the second season. Bouncing back from what appeared to be an end-of-the-world scenario—a truly monumental way to end a series by the way—was probably the biggest hurdle that had to be overcome, and the way it was done left a bad taste in the mouths of fans who had anxiously waited to see how things would be resolved.

The third season continues with perpetually scowling profiler Frank Black (Henriksen), and his innate ability to see into the minds of serial killers and psychos, as well as his ongoing deadly struggles with the now splintering Millennium Group, a team of "experts" assembled to stop what is perceived as pure apocalyptic evil. This time around he is partnered with young FBI agent Emma Hollis (Klea Scott), who pales next to the cool weirdness of Lara Means (Kristen Cloke) from the previous season, and this Scully-ization was just one of the little things that had the show moving away from what it had tried to become, which was certainly not just an X-Files clone. On the plus side, Terry O'Quinn (Lost) reprises his role of duplicitous Millennium Group member Peter Watts, and as the show moved into its final season his role moved more into that of traditional villain, though eerily similar to The X-Files Cigarette Smoking Man at times.

It was clear that the show was running its final course during this block of episodes, and as much as I hated to see it eventually go, there was also a sense of strange relief. It had started to evolve into something it was never meant to be, or perhaps never should have been, and the brilliance of the second season began to lose some its dark luster. I've always found the character of Frank Black to be intensely watchable, a perversely dark and tortured lead unlike those of most regular series. Initial resentment of a new "sidekick" aside, the Hollis character is handled adequately by Klea Scott, but she is put in the unenviable position of being thrust alongside someone who is at his best alone, and she serves more as a sounding board to bounce the main story arc of The Millennium Group off of.

The direction that the writing was forced to go in, as it bobbed along somewhat unevenly across 22 installments, has a few bright spots, but many of those were just scenes within average episodes. Collateral Damage, with its creepy surgical scrubdown scene, is one of those, though it is wrapped inside a standard-issue revenge subplot. Similarly, Saturn Dreaming of Mercury, in which Black's young daughter (Brittany Tiplady) is plagued by bizarre visions, has some spooky bits if you like little kids hallucinating. The return of recurring demonic and sexy whatever-she-is Lucy Butler (Sarah-Jane Redmond) in the Omen-esque Antipas showed great promise—such as the visual of a small child eaten by a large snake—and I had hoped that this Chris Carter/Frank Spotnitz-penned ep would help shore up the remainder of the season, something that it just couldn't quite do.

Like a good book that ends with a weak payoff, this third and final go round of Millennium merits a look just for the few salient pieces that recall some of the consistently darker moments of previous seasons. It does have Chris Carter's touch on it, so that counts for something, because when he's on, things tend to come together in offbeat and fairly unexpected ways.

There are some who would prefer things just ended after Season Two—and in hindsight that may have been best—but the season ending Goodbye to All That does try to right some of the wrongs, and I know I'm in the minority when I say that the modicum of closure presented did fall within acceptable limits.

Yet, when all is said and done, it took one final farewell of sorts, a crossover during the seventh season of The X-Files (in November of 1999) to fully close the book on Frank Black. That episode (Millennium) is here as well, as part of the extras.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: As with Season Two, all 22 episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This series runs dark, and the presentation improves upon some of the muddier blacks I noticed during the show's original run on television. As a result, shadow depth is more pronounced, so detail even in dimly scenes is good. Fleshtones look natural, and the infrequent bursts of color, like surgical blue scrub of the psycho in Collateral Damage, look especially bright. There are, however, some frequent bouts of fine grain, so this is not without minor imperfections. It is, though, a step up from broadcast.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround for all episodes. A highlight of the presentation includes a surprisingly rich bottom end to the theme music, and something that delivers a boomy resonance to Henriksen's gruff line reads. Dialogue comes across clear and discernible, thought with minimal directional movement across the front speakers. The audio mix here is a pronounced improvement over the original broadcast quality.

French and Spanish 2.0 surround tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Lance Henriksen, Klea Scott, Thomas J. Wright
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
6-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. X-Files episode
Extras Review: All six discs are housed in thin Scanavo cases inside of a cardboard case, as with the other two seasons sets.

There are only two commentary tracks on this set, one featuring Lance Henriksen and Klea Scott (The Innocents) and one with director Thomas J. Wright (Collateral Damage). The Wright track is just dreadful, and he has practically nothing at all to say. He speaks very infrequently, and when he does he generally states the obvious, and seems absolutely bored out of his mind. The Henriksen/Scott track by comparison is the one to listen to, and though the pair chuckle at some of the story elements, they discuss the problematic direction of the show in this, the final season.

High marks for the inclusion of the season seven crossover episode of The X-Files entitled, appropriately enough, Millennium (44m:27s). Even if this were the only extra, it would merit an A rating, because closure of any kind is a good thing. This ep, written by talented duo of Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz, allowed the series to tie up some loose ends, and to give viewers an idea of whatever became of Frank Black, as a member of The Millennium Group dabbles in resurrecting the dead to bring about some sort of end of the world. Mulder, Scully, Black. Cool.

End Game: Making Millennium Season Three (38m:09s) is a decent look back at a rocky run, with comments from the likes of Chris Carter, Michael Perry, Ken Horton, Klea Scott, Thomas J. Wright and of course Lance Henriksen. The corner the series had been written into at the end of season two, and how to move forward, is the cornerstone here, and it is interesting to hear some of the participants dance around the difficulty in trying to get the show back on a new path. Lastly, Between The Lines (12m:40s) is a look at the real-life Academy Group, which supposedly is the basis for the series' fictitious Millennium Group, though apparently a shade less evil.

Each episode is cut into a respectable 15 chapters.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

If you're a Millennium fan you have to decide whether the show really ended after Season Two or not. If you're new to the show, this is not the place to walk in, so the choice is really for the diehards.

Some good moments, such as the return of Lucy Butler, almost make it worth revisiting.

 


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