Jump to content

A Unique Perspective


Guest ZeusFaber

Recommended Posts

Guest ZeusFaber

After a long time of lurking, I have dropped in from the X-Files forum to make my first post on this Millennium MB, so forgive me if I'm not quite up on the politics of this community.

There seems to be so much to discuss on this great series as to be overwhelming, so I shall just begin with a brief rundown of my overall views.

First, I have to set my stall out as a devout S1 fan. I believe that the pilot episode was such a perfect illustration of Chris Carter's vision, and still stands as one of the finest episodes. The first season ran with this dark and forboding style, mixing apocalyptic poetry with horrific violence and establishing some extremely vivid characters, all with a wonderfully artistic visual uniqueness.

Now, I don't wish to be provocative, but it occurs to me that S2 is distinctly overrated. I have to say that I was rather disappointed with the way Morgan & Wong took a sharp left turn, abandoning the signature themes of the series in favour of something altogether different. Gone were the trademark quotations that opened every first act of every episode (bar the pilot), and even the trademark polaroid flash-ins were absent from too many S2 episodes. More importantly, the bleak, horrifyingly real style of the first season was replaced by a fairytale approach categorised with a less-believable far-flung history with ancient artefacts, car explosions, clever gadgets and laser-guided gunplay.

I know that I am in the minority, but I loathe episodes such as "The Hand of Saint Sebastian", "Owls" and "Roosters". The two part finale was not quite so objectionable, but still had several elements that I disliked. I was not fond of Lara Means. I did not approve of the long-term change in Frank and Catherine's relationship. I was hesitant about the retooling of the Millennium Group and Peter Watts. It just wasn't the same show (although that's not to say there weren't some great episodes, such as "The Mikado" and the genius of Darin Morgan's two scripts).

Conversely, I would say that S3 is a little underrated. I found Emma Hollis less objectionable than Lara Means, elements of the Millennium Group salvageable, and intruiging possibilities with the recurring Mabius. There were some strong episodes which almost recalled the style of S1 whilst retaining their individuality, such as "Borrowed Time", "Seven and One", and "Goodbye to All That". Also, "The Sound of Snow" managed to rebuild some of the damage done by "The Time is Now".

These are, naturally, just my subjective views, and I know they will undoubtedly be disagreed with. That's the part which should be alot of fun.

How do you see the series in macrocosm?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

Guest canadian girl

Welcome to the board! It's always great to read anyone's perspective on the show. :bigsmile:

I feel differently than you do. I suppose that I took Millenium as it came.........I didn't really sweat the changes that happened from season to season. It is such an amazing show that I was grateful it was there at all(compared to the rest of tv's garbage).

I can't really comment on Season Three because I haven't seen it since it first aired.(It won't be too long now, though :clapping: ). I just remember being very sad that the show was over.

About Season Two..........I love "Owls" and "Roosters". "The Hand of Saint Sebastian" is not one of my favourites.

I understand where you are coming from, however. Season One led us to expect a certain kind of show, with particular themes and Season Two changed that quite a bit.

I'm a sucker for all that Mythology and apocolypse stuff, so I was happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ZeusFaber

Thanks for the welcome.

I can understand your approach of running with the changes to an extent, but I still feel that M&W had a responsibility to continue the series as S1 had set it up, not to create a new show in its place.

Don't get me wrong though, I completely agree that even the lowest points of MM were still far superior to "the rest of TV's garbage". IMO, I would rather watch the worst episode of MM ever made than the best episode of, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I enjoy mythology and apocalyptic stuff too, but I just didn't like the way it was treated in S2. Back in S1 it was done on a very subtle level, mostly with allegory, whereas S2 was far more literal and in-your-face. One example would be that in S1 was saw angels walking amongst men in the form a scrawny kid ("Powers..."), whereas in S2 they are depicted as winged cartoon-creatures complete with glowing yellow auras ("Monster" et al).

What I dislike about "The Hand of Saint Sebastian" is that it became all too silly. A Robin Hood style opening transforming the Millennium Group into what was a realistic Academy Group style unit into an ancient religious cult? Frank and Peter taking a trip to Germany? Evil assassins dressed in black hats? Random car bombs? (Frank and Peter's escape only needed an elongated shout of "Nooooo!" to make it a total cliche).

All this globe-trotting in search of religious relics made what was once a TV version of "Se7en" and "Silence of the Lambs" into something more in the ballpark of "Indiana Jones" or "Tomb Raider". Unfortunately, this was carried on by "Owls" and "Roosters", which have now become more synonymous with "The Da Vinci Code". It's not that this stuff doesn't interest me, it's just that it wasn't the same show. If you ask me, M&W should have created a new show of their own for all this stuff and left MM alone.

I prefer the subtle shading of S1. JMOs of course. It's great to hear someone else's though.

Glad to hear that S3 is finally arriving in the US (despite the artwork). I almost feel guilty having had it since last October... almost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to my fav. website. I kinda agree with your perspective. Season 1 was just awesome with the realism and Season 2 became too much of a fairytale. These where Lance's gripes about the series, but i thnk there are some awesome epi. that came out of Season 2 like Luminary and Midnight of the Century. I dont remember alot about Season Three except for a few epi, but i do agree Season One was Carters vision

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest canadian girl

I have to admit that I am a huge Buffy fan as well. Although it doesn't have the scope or intensity of Millenium it's still a pretty damn good show and very enjoyable (it does have some very special episodes too). Anyway, we're not here to talk about Buffy, are we? :wtf:

And don't "almost" feel guilty for having Season three. Enjoy it! When I've watched all of S 3, I'll be better able to comment on the series as a whole. I can't wait.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ZeusFaber

Yes, I found myself agreeing with many of the criticisms from Lance and the production team in the S2 DVD documentary, "The Turn of the Tide". Interesting too that M&W declined to participate -- were they perhaps aware of their colleagues' criticisms, or regretting their choices?

Despite my dislike for the through-line of S2, I can agree that there were still some strong episodes as diamonds in the rough. I agree that "Midnight of the Century" was a success, but I must say that I find "Luminary" to be another overrated episode. I never much cared for it myself.

Others worthy of mention would be the outstanding "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense" and also "The Curse of Frank Black", one of two M&W scripts in the season that I don't object to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ZeusFaber

Well, each to their own.

I only feel guilty about my S3 discs having had them almost a full year ahead of Region 1. Still, it kind of makes up for so many shows that are delayed on R2 or sometimes not released at all (e.g. "The Lone Gunmen"). Speaking of which, I think it's time I dipped into my S3 set again, perhaps to listen to the LH/KS commentary track for a second time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One man's meat is another man's poison

Hi Zeus and welcome,

I doubt that you will face many objectors to your post. Season One is a masterful genesis with a profound narrative, post-watershed qlippothic imagery and, as you note, a unique fusion of dialogue and poetry. Had Season One not been all that it was the Two-ers, like myself, would not have hung around to join Morgan and Wong's magical mystery tour. I love Season Two but I also care deeply for Season's One and Three and this is because they are Millennium and that's what makes them exquisite.

I always, stamps foot pedantically, defend the character of Ms. Means but I am so obviously fanatical about her that I am unobjective, desperately defensive and very probably deluded in my praise and I acknowledge that many, like yourself, responded nonchalantly to her introduction. Whether you like the character or not I believe she was born out of necessity. Morgan and Wong clearly had much to say about the visionary experience, the profundity and the detriment, but with Frank as our protagonist and cornerstone they were limited to how far into the abyss the could take him without leaving the character incapable of carrying the plot. Lara was to represent the weakness, frailty and tenuous sanity experienced by many historical visionaries in a way that Frank's character could not. Like her or loathe her the intention from the inception was to make Lara challenging and complex and her story circuitous: it is right and appropriate, therefore, that opinion should be split as it is.

Though I freely confess my love for all season's of Millennium Season Two is my spiritual home, the place I visit the most frequently and with the most relish. It is not, I accept, the most blatant of seasons as Morgan and Wong allowed some serious arcanna to permeate their stories. There are subtleties galore ripped straight from the pages of ancient grimoires and metaphysical doctrines, many of which spring out only after repeated viewing. Whilst this magical, fantastical inference (that only, in fairness, rears it's head brazenly in a few episodes) may be cause enough for some to label their work as 'fairy tales' - if these analogies, allegories, myths and yarns are 'your thing' anyway, a Morgan and Wong Season will be OK by you.

What Morgan and Wong did do was expand the Millennium Universe, taking it into uncharted waters, broadening it's scope and giving Frank a more diverse pitch upon which to play. What they believed was that to increase the potentiality of Millennium, and it's shelf-life, they needed to engender a show that was larger than 'serial killer of the week' and avoid the chagrin of 'Philes' who were weary of conspiracy stories and 'all-new-Samantha-Mulder-truth' stories seven years later. They also realised that after a year of the origins of evil and apocalyptic musings someone would have to address why this FBI Consulting Group was carrying on like 'Seventh Day Adventists' - the origins and foundations of the Group that they proposed in Season Two opened the door to many potential years of storylines: Morgan and Wong's deeply cryptic cult/group/order/sect still inspires debate amongst fans today, their analysis of the group being so yielding and yet so ambiguous that it's mythology could be explored and modified for many more shows and seasons. The greatest act of their wisdom was to steer Season One's biblical oriented mythology into more obscure and arcane theological arenas. They understood that eschatology is not the providence of Christianity alone and if they were to write about a group who's origins began there it was right and learned to include all of the concepts and doctrines. What they did was pre-empt many books, films and shows today who devote their entirety to the study of the Merovingian's, Grail Mythology, Gnosticism, Conspiracies et. al proving that their vision for Millennium whilst not entirely welcomed was radical in its reference points.

As I have said, and may well be very wrong, many fans of the show still muse about the truths and ideologies of the Millennium Group. Google and Wikipedia are hammered by us truth seekers spending far too many hours filling in the gaps Season Three denied us and we owe this canvas, upon which we add new layers and brushstrokes, primarily to Morgan and Wong's Millennial re-invention. It was their elders, old men, initiations, candidacies, factions and splinters that inspire and elude nutters like me who punch away at the keyboard with yet more fantastical theories and concepts and whilst this does 'not a good season make' in everyone's eyes there are some souls, like me, who wouldn't have it any other way.

The cherry on the cake of Season Two was, in my mind, Owls and Roosters (awaits the stones and heckles) from the excavation of the rood to the closing images of the blutfahne consumed by purifying fire: this was an epic story that gave Millennium it's third and fourth dimensions, propelling it back to the birth pangs of Christianity and forward to the death throes of our planet. The group became so beautifully complex, rich and diverse that everything became possible and nothing is really the truth.

Whilst I am worried that you may think the next bit is too pedantic I hope you wont view it as a contradiction. Season Two should be no more accountable for depicting glowing angels that Season One was held accountable for depicting winged, horned demons. I must add, as Lara's fan/stalker, that her angel did not, definitely did not, have wings. There is a pivotal moment in Midnight in the Century when she confirms exactly what we are shown on screen.

LARA Yeah, cute, cuddly, flapping their wings, blowing their little horns all over the place ... You know that wings on angels are something that the early church took from the Egyptian gods because people liked it?

FRANK So these drawings are not true depictions?

LARA Well, it's not what I see, but from them, I get the same feeling when "he" appears.

Besides this there is much in her dialogue to suggest that Lara may not be experience anything 'literally' divine at all. When Kristen secured the role of Lara her character's description informed her that Lara was insane, not became insane but was insane, and much of the character's accounts of her experiences are contradictory, confused and incongruent. In 'Owls' we see her delve into the annals of psychology, namely the psychology of hallucinations, in a effort to understand what clearly eludes her and in 'Midnight of The Century' she lies, with aplomb, when she describes the effects of her angel upon her - her description is contradictory to everything we see her experience in private. We can not know exactly what Lara saw and felt as Lara has scant understanding herself, the onscreen angel was used in much the same way Frank's 'flashes' were: to illustrate a fleeting brief insight into what the character understands of their experience - it is a subjective vision where there are no literal truths, we take it all on faith - this is who we are.

In closing, I don't think that Morgan and Wong should have formed their own show, they shared their artistry and vision with us and whether you view it as the zenith or nadir in Millennium's run they left an indelible mark upon the course of it's history, they gave us some exceptional stories and some endearing characters and, to be fair, it is difficult to truly compare the Season's as each has it's own unique resonance and intelligence and whilst we have our favourites each story was a valid, if not perfect, contribution to the Millennium journey. A damn fine Millennium journey it was. Surely none of us would be here if we didn't think that was the case? Would we?

All said and done it was a fantastic post that had me thinking and thinking and thinking all night. More please though I am not sure my brain can take much more thoughtful consideration and meditation. Pass me the aspirin............

Till then,

ethsnafu

post-1185-1120588961_thumb.jpg

josew.gif

style5,Little-spc-Roedecker.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ZeusFaber
Hi Zeus and welcome

Hi. Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for an intruiging discussion of your perspective, expressed with flair.

Whether you like [Lara Means] or not I believe she was born out of necessity. Morgan and Wong clearly had much to say about the visionary experience, the profundity and the detriment, but with Frank as our protagonist and cornerstone they were limited to how far into the abyss the could take him without leaving the character incapable of carrying the plot. Lara was to represent the weakness, frailty and tenuous sanity experienced by many historical visionaries in a way that Frank's character could not.

Yes, I admit that I can see a plus side to the introduction or Lara. My objection to her comes in part from her dialogue (which I found a little hakneyed, more often than not), in part from her portrayal by Kristen Cloke (who I've never been too fond of), and in part in the way we are asked to accept that she understands Frank better than anyone else, even his wife and daughter. Now I realise this is supposedly because she shares his "visions", but I don't think this should neccessarily mean that she can understand Frank better than Catherine, who has intensely deep connections with him on many other levels. It was a short step from here to the idea of Frank and Lara carrying on an illicit affair, pushing Catherine even further out of the picture (if that was even possible with S2). This is all not to mention the fact that both Frank's mother as well as Jordan also shared in his "gift" -- they have an empathy with Frank as much as Lara.

This leads me on to another part of my objection, that largely extends to the implication of Lara Means, namely the fact that Frank becomes undeniably "psychic" in S2, his "gift" is cemented as a form of extra-sensory perception. This was never the intension from the pilot, just the opposite. Frank specifically rejects it to Bob Bletcher in the pilot, and indeed a large string of memorbale dialogue is deliberately devoted to hammering home this point to the audience. Frank's "facility" came through putting himself inside the head of the killer(s), experienceing their evil: I become capability, I become the horror... it's my gift, my curse"

Now, admittedly, this became muddled before S2, but it was still subtle, open to interpretation. By S2, Frank made leaps that could only come from ESP, and thus the introduction of Lara Means as another character with a similar ESP made it clear that a paranormal phenomenon was at work -- not just profiling.

There are subtleties galore ripped straight from the pages of ancient grimoires and metaphysical doctrines, many of which spring out only after repeated viewing. Whilst this magical, fantastical inference (that only, in fairness, rears it's head brazenly in a few episodes) may be cause enough for some to label their work as 'fairy tales' - if these analogies, allegories, myths and yarns are 'your thing' anyway, a Morgan and Wong Season will be OK by you.

I agree that there is strength in the collection and expansion upon a range of ancient texts, but I would label them as anything but subtle. IMO, S1 had all of these layers in subtle shades that only really came out with active background research, whereas in S2 it was layed on with a trowel.

What they believed was that to increase the potentiality of Millennium, and it's shelf-life, they needed to engender a show that was larger than 'serial killer of the week' and avoid the chagrin of 'Philes' who were weary of conspiracy stories and 'all-new-Samantha-Mulder-truth' stories seven years later.

Here I disagree strongly. I believe that "Millennium" was already much much more than "serial-killer of the week" back in S1. For one thing, all of the serial killer stories were already set apart from police procedurals by the millennial undercurrents and apocalyptic poetry. Furthermore, the show demonstrated wider themes such as the Legion presence as early as "Gehenna", and the latter third of the season picked up the diverse threads full force with "Force Majeur" (secular apocalypse), "Lamentation" (true Evil), and "Powers..." (angelology and demonology).

I also disagree that S2 distanced itself from conspiracy plots in order to give X-Philes something fresh. On the contrary, as a 'Phile myself, I found that M&W remoulded MM into an XF clone on more than one occassion. The Millennium Group was previously a very realistic organisation based upon the Academy Group, but M&W transmogrified them into an ancient Judao-Christian cult, with layers of conspiracy, mysterious elders, and Syndicate-like opponents who operated with fancy laser gadgets that can fry CCTV cameras and make your car cut out in the middle of the road. I think it's also interesting to look at a direct comparison I drew out in another thread here, that of the second season premieres of TXF and MM, "Little Green Men" and "The Beginning and the End" respectively, both written by M&W. Run the teaser sequences back to back, and you'll see some striking simmilarities. If your kind, you'll call them surface simmilarities, if not, script-recycling. I'd also note how Roedecker might as well be the fourth Lone Gunmen.

Morgan and Wong's deeply cryptic cult/group/order/sect still inspires debate amongst fans today, their analysis of the group being so yielding and yet so ambiguous that it's mythology could be explored and modified for many more shows and seasons.

True, but my objection comes since this was never what the Group were meant to be. As I've said, they are essentially the Academy Group in all but name -- can you imagine what those guys must have thought of how they were represented in S2?!

The greatest act of their wisdom was to steer Season One's biblical oriented mythology into more obscure and arcane theological arenas. They understood that eschatology is not the providence of Christianity alone and if they were to write about a group who's origins began there it was right and learned to include all of the concepts and doctrines. What they did was pre-empt many books, films and shows today who devote their entirety to the study of the Merovingian's, Grail Mythology, Gnosticism, Conspiracies et. al proving that their vision for Millennium whilst not entirely welcomed was radical in its reference points.

Here I can agree, and I think the broadening of the ancient source materials was a good thing. I just think it's a shame they had to be assimmilated into the history of the Millennium Group.

The cherry on the cake of Season Two was, in my mind, Owls and Roosters (awaits the stones and heckles) from the excavation of the rood to the closing images of the blutfahne consumed by purifying fire: this was an epic story that gave Millennium it's third and fourth dimensions

I have just begun discussing my grievances against "Owls"/"Roosters" in the Episode Discussion section. As you might expect, I find this to be one of the low points of the series in terms of thematic direction, but I would also add that the story itself has a very unsatistfactory resolution in my eyes -- after centuries of opposition to the likes of Odessa, the Group are able to not only locate by completely destroy their nemeses in the space of a short musical montage sequence?

Season Two  should be no more accountable for depicting glowing angels that Season One was held accountable for depicting winged, horned demons. I must add, as Lara's fan/stalker, that her angel did not, definitely did not, have wings. There is a pivotal moment in Midnight in the Century when she confirms exactly what we are shown on screen.

Fair enough, and I must admit a definite fondness for the visual demons across the series -- as my newly installed avatar shows. However, I would add that in S1 they were glimpsed in scant pieces, mostly as part of Frank's "visions". You didn't really get the same clear look as you did in S2.

I take your point about Lara's angel not having wings. Nevertheless, I've always thought that its visual representation was far too generic. I much prefer the Seraph in the X-Files episode "All Souls" (below):

...rather than Lara's vision in "Monster" (below):

Finally, I must emphasise that this is all just my subjective opinions. I very much enjoy hearing yours, and the discussion of the points where we disagree has been - and continues to be - hugely enjoyable. In any case, I think we can agree that "Millennium" was always great, it's just that we disagree on which points were greater than others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All beautiful and eloquently written. I agree with all you have said, Season One is stunning, I have never doubted that. I also agree, most strongly, with the seraph depiction being better than Lara's poor angel. The girl just never gets a break.

Alll my respect,

eth.snafu

josew.gif

style5,Little-spc-Roedecker.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guidelines