Today we bring you the second part of our conversation with the creative mind behind 'Millennium: Virtual Season Four', the fan made series that told the continuing story of Frank Black. Our thanks, once again, to Dan Owen for the kind donation of his time and for keeping the flame of 'Millennium' alive at a time when it was sorely missed. Please keep your eyes peeled in the next few days for more BTFB exclusives including another interview with a member of the cast I know you will all enjoy. And, if you haven't sent those letters and Polaroids, what are you waiting for? Let's bring Frank Back!
BTFB: I know we have been absolutely delighted by the support we have received from the cast, they are a generous and passionate bunch of people who have a lot of time for the fans that care about the product.
DO: Yeah, that's nice to see. Especially as they've all moved on and MM was, in the big scheme of things, only a three-season blip compared to most shows!
BTFB: I know the Millennium Apocalypse project was not without its problems and the odd the clash of personalities along the way did you guys experience any staff conflicts and dramas during the season's creation?
DO: No, there wasn't really any time to have an argument - and nobody was ever face-to-face, of course. It's amazing VS4 came together as well as it did, really. I think that was ultimately because Matt and I shared the same passion and vision for what Millennium's ending should be. So we just went headlong into it and didn't come up for air until December!
BTFB: I'm actually amazed that you got it together so quickly. You guys stuck to a TV schedule if I remember correctly, releasing the episodes every Friday even if, by your own admission, they weren't ready for broadcast. Were there times when you thought 'actually we've bitten off more than we can chew here'?
DO: Well, we only had a one episode "cushion" (something pre-written we could release for a bit of breathing space), but it wasn't so bad when submissions came back and I think we had 5 or 6 scripts being worked into shape. But yeah, mid-season the strain was beginning to show a bit. But I got a second creative wind doing the Rapture/Tribulation scripts, and then we had the fun of properly focusing on the big climax -- which everyone wanted to do! That was the exciting goal, really.
BTFB: I know this was all written a long time ago but looking back, are there episodes you view as particularly successful and others not so? How do you appraise the body of work that is virtual season four nearly “…Thirteen Years Later” - pun intended.
DO: Hehe, well... admittedly, my memory is hazy -- particularly of other people's scripts. So, at the risk of sounding a bit self-absorbed... I always have a soft spot for The First Prophet. The season as a whole was a mixed bag, but the spine was fairly strong and it definitely had a focus and attention to detail. I think it was a solid present for the fans that didn't read like "typical" fan-fiction which we tried to avoid the trappings of.
BTFB: Are you still involved with writing, be that professionally or as a hobby, and knowing what you know now would you ever commit to writing another virtual season of Millennium or any other show for that matter?
DO: I've kept my hand in, but I've moved away from scripts and more towards article-writing and blogging TV/film reviews. I wouldn’t do another virtual season of Millennium, purely because I feel the story has been told, and it's too much effort to be doing the same for other shows. And there are no shows I'd be THAT passionate about seeing continue online.
BTFB: Which leads me to my next point quite nicely. Since the cancellation of Millennium has any other show replaced it in terms of the passion you have for it? I have to confess, nothing has even come close for me and it's not for the want of trying to find something.
DO: Well yes, I have to admit that I'm a rabid Lost fan - but, thankfully, that show will end under its own steam next year. Before that came along, no... nothing really matched Millennium, although I did enjoy Carnivale.
BTFB: I'm a hypothetical Millennium fan. I've read this interview and become intrigued why should this hypothetical fan read Millennium Virtual Season Four?
DO: Well, despite the fact VS4 isn't canonical, I feel it's a decent conclusion if you finish your season 3 box-set and ache for resolution. While clearly tailored for diehard fans more than general audiences, it's not as frivolous as you may expect. We put the effort in and, while aspects of it don't ALWAYS stand up to scrutiny 10 years later, it's still an entertaining read and more complex than you may expect from "fan fiction".
BTFB: I know there are plans afoot for Virtual Season Six and Millennium fans have you to thank for being the genesis of the show’s continuation in this format and for someone who sought solace in it a number of times I thank your personally for your work on it. You have every right to be proud.
DO: Thank you. Virtual Seasons did seem to take-off after Millennium's VS4 got all that publicity, definitely!
BTFB: It's been a pleasure to speak to you Dan and to return the favour is there a blog or website you like to promote, something that may interest our supporters?
DO: Er, well, my own blog is danowen.blogspot.com, if that appeals and twitter.com/danowen79, too and you'll forgive the plug?
BTFB: We welcome plugs, it's part of the pleasure. Many thanks for taking the time to talk to us and we wish you every continued success for the future.
Posted by Mark Ducker | Filed under
Comments (8) | 1:34 AM
Posted by Mark Ducker | Filed under Chris Carter
Chris Carter: Is Millennium dead? Not if you live on the internet. Someone is actually creating 22 stories this season that are, I guess, going to be the 4th season of Millennium.
In 1997 the future of Millennium remained uncertain until the news the fans had feared that the TV series was to be cancelled in May after three successful seasons.
But that was not the end for Millennium in all its forms, an unofficial fourth season of the show was already in production by that point. ‘Millennium: Virtual Season Four’ represented the handiwork of 11 fans who were determined to keep the show alive, at least until the millennium came to pass.
They decided to set up the virtual season like a real TV series. Instead of short story-like narratives, they would produce polished scripts; and instead of posting whatever stories came their way, they would recruit volunteers whose fan fiction they liked to collaborate on a new season that continued story lines from the original series.
BackToFrankBlack has recently had the pleasure to speak to Dan Owen one of the originators of the project and it is our pleasure to introduce the season and the man to you all.
BACKTOFRANKBLACK: One question I get asked a lot, and one I can never satisfyingly answer I must admit, is the old chestnut "What is it about Millennium that has drawn you in to the degree it has?" I think I'll start by posing the same query to you in the hope you can iterate your thoughts on this a little better than I can?
DAN OWEN: Well, cards on the table, it's been many years since I've really watched Millennium. So, for me, it's more something that I have fond memories of while it was around on TV for 3 years. I enjoyed the performances (particularly Lance Henriksen and Terry O'Quinn) and it was stylistically something I adored. The whole vibe and mythology of the show really connected to me as a teenager. So it still has a special place in my heart, which I recall every time I walk past a box-set on a shelf somewhere!
BTFB: If the mythology was something that appealed to you would it be fair to conclude that the second season of the show was probably one you connected to more strongly as there was far less mythology in either the first or third season of the show?
DO: Yes, while I admired Millennium in season one, the second season was where I got sucked into it. I've always enjoyed shows that build a cohesive universe that extrapolates things from our own, so the way Glen Morgan and James Wong spliced season one's gritty "crime series" into a vaguely X-Files-like supernatural, apocalyptic series was what grabbed my imagination. You don't see that kind of thing done well too often.
BTFB: Too true and there has been a recent revival of that type of storytelling thanks to the success of Lost and which has been sadly lacking from the screens of late. Am I right in thinking that you guys actually began work on a virtual season whilst the show was still on air? What was the precursor to the virtual season? Was it a desire for more Millennium, a need to offer closure, a desire to take Millennium up to the Millennium and beyond or something entirely different?
DO: No, it was even more insanely scheduled than you might imagine! We waited until Fox officially cancelled it before deciding to do our own "virtual season" as a way to conclude the story in SOME way. It just felt particularly ridiculous for a show called Millennium to fizzle out in 1999, so we scrambled to get ourselves up and running in just over a month. Which was amazing, in retrospect. And that passion kept us going from summer '99 to Christmas, buoyed by the positive response from readers and media feedback.
BTFB: Did you anticipate the amount of work that creating a virtual season would entail? I believe it was very much the brainchild of yourself and Matt Asendorf for example, do you believe that partnership was integral to the success of the project?
DO: To be honest, I thought I'd perhaps write two or three episodes and just manage everyone else’s efforts. Just keep a basic storyline going and pull the whole thing together behind-the-scenes. To my recollection, Matt took on the managerial role more prominently, when it became clear VS4 would only stand a chance if there was a cohesive group of mythology episodes spread out across the season so I ended up doing the première, the mid-season two-parter and the two-part finale. Plus some standalones. So I was beavering away doing that, mainly in-between rewriting others people's scripts, and trying to draw the story together into something that worked -- as a collective thing.
BTFB: How many comprised the Virtual Season Four crew? Do you recall?
DO: Erm, not definitely. 10-12 or something. But most just submitted one or two scripts that were quite standalone things. It was just Matt and I handling the bigger picture, with input from a few others who became more vocal as time went on. Or who took it upon themselves to write scripts that plugged gaps between Millennium's mythology and VS4's.
BTFB: I'm very interested in the mythology behind your season. Millennium has a sort of identity crisis if you like, each new season was thematically different from that which preceded it. When you began to explore the idea of a virtual season of episodes did you lean more closely to one season than another in terms of tone and content or did you carry on the tradition of reinvention?
DO: Well, obviously we preferred season two overall, but wanted to keep the tone of season one for a few stories, and tie it ALL together by using a lot of the setup from season three (so we didn't ditch the FBI and Emma, for eg.) Others might have done, but we thought it was wise to bring out the BEST of each season. Almost a Greatest Hits compilation!
BTFB: That's a fantastic description and a brilliant way to sell the season to those who haven't read it actually. Now something I learned only in the last year or so was that you guys actually received the praise and support for what you were doing from Millennium writer, Kay Reindl. How did she become aware of the project and did she have any involvement at all in the direction the series took?
DO: I'm not sure how she became aware. That was more Matt's area. I believe that the writer for Salon somehow got in touch and she found out through him, because he was doing a piece on us. I'd already gotten to know her a bit beforehand though because she visited the newsgroups sometimes. She didn't have any involvement with VS4 - just wished us luck, really.
BTFB: That must have been a real morale booster for you guys?
DO: Yeah, stuff like that was incredible at the time. When we started seeing VS4 mentioned in newspapers, magazines and then Lance Henriksen and Chris Carter gave us a shout-out online. Lance even read a few of the early scripts, apparently, and was very gracious about the quality!
- Stay tuned for part two of this interview tomorrow and don't forget, dive in here and enjoy the project Chris Carter declared Millennium's fourth season. You won't regret it.
Comments (18) | 10:53 AM
On the latest edition of BackToFrankBlack's exclusive podcast expect a little change to the format as Podcast host Troy Foreman chairs the first panel discussion the podcast has attempted. Featuring podcast returnees Jim McLean and M.R. Sellars and a few surprises along the way this group discussion on all things 'Anamnesis' should be an enjoyable event as Millennium fans gather to air their views amongst friends.
If you've ever wanted to hear a group of Millennium fans in full flow, and let's face if if you're reading this the answer is probably yes, then now's your chance to do so in addition to this is a rather nice interview with Anamnesis cast member Kimberley Warnat. So if you have any questions about 'Anamnesis' that you would like to put to the panel please leave any suggestions in the comments section of this Blog, all will be very warmly received.
Comments (4) | 6:35 AM
Posted by Mark Ducker | Filed under The X-Files
Meeting new friends and making allies is one of the most pleasurable aspects of this campaign so imagine my delight when we were contacted by Fran and Silvana, the friendly managers of X-Files Fan Club Italy. Not only did they extend a hearty welcome to us but espoused their support of this campaign and very graciously offered to use their multilingual mastery to translate our news for a potential new slew of campaigners
This campaign has tried, in earnest, to translate its mission statement into as many languages as we can and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the individuals who have helped us in this respect. There are always new corners of the world wide web in which to recruit new soldiers for Frank's army so if you are able to help us translate news and content please drop us a line, we would love to hear from you.
So head on over to X-Files Italian Fan Club for a enjoyable romp through all things X-Files including a dash of humour, multimedia content, a community forum and much more with plenty for English speaking readers to digest as well. In addition, fans of the mighty David Duchovny should head on over to their Blog for more Duchovny than you can shake a stick at (and that's a whole lot of DD.) Till then, ciao!
Comments (5) | 2:32 AM
Posted by Mark Ducker | Filed under Seven and One
We have continuously reminded you all of the need for fans of the franchise to demonstrate their appreciation of Millennium in order to provide evidence of the wide support the franchise continues to elicit. To this end we asked you to consider taking a few moments of your time to complete a simple questionnaire that we can utilise.
Please keep these coming and do not hesitate to send us all your thoughts and queries on anything Millennium and Frank Black related and as you can see from this entry you do not have to use your real name to qualify. If you would like to complete the brief questionnaire I have listed the questions below for your perusal.
7. Why do you think Millennium should come back?
1. What are you watching right now?
We are constantly trying to devise new and exciting ways you guys can get more involved in the campaign and the ways in which you can do this are not limited to our suggestions and creativity alone. If you have an idea for a way you would like to contribute to the campaign do not hesitate to send us an email. We will respond to each and every one of you. We look forward to hearing from you all!
Comments (6) | 12:30 AM
Another 'Music Monday' and another cinematic slice of Millennium goodness from our resident 'Music Meister' Josef. Josef is single-handedly championing this campaign at Youtube by filling our profile with the fantastic music montages he makes in an effort to spread the word and bring the campaign to the attention of new fans. In this weeks 'Avatar Vision' Josef takes on 'The Wild and The Innocent' and you can enjoy the resulting magic below!
If you would like to join Josef it creating a few treats for our Youtube profile please do. Simply recording yourself talking about your Millennium appreciation is really all that is needed. Remember, Frank Black needs you!
Comments (14) | 11:44 PM
To download from BacktoFrankBlack.com
- For the enhanced image podcast (with some pretty exclusive photos) for Itunes and Ipod lovers: Click here! 21MB 88 mins)
- For a high quality podcast (no images embedded into this one): Right click here and select "save link as.." (approx 81MB 88 mins)
- To subscribe to the Itunes podcast, simply load up the Itunes store on your Itunes application, search for BacktoFrankBlack and wait for the podcast to pop onto the list. Then click "subscribe" - you will need to sign up to a free Itunes account to do this - but Itunes does run a great service for podcasts of all types (including our friends ThaDarkSideVibe and Spooktalkular)
BacktoFrankBlack: Millennium Group Sessions SPECIAL: LANCE HENRIKSEN
In this special episode in the Millennium Group Sessions series, Troy and Jim speak to Frank Black himself, LANCE HENRIKSEN.
In this special and free podcast, Lance speaks about his time on the show, how he sees the future of Millennium, Aliens, Jordan and of course, the man we want back, Frank Black. There is also a cameo guest appearance in the interview! You don't want to miss it!
This free podcast is available on a weekly to fortnightly basis via ITUNES and BacktoFrankBlack.com. We'll naturally update you all on information on the podcast from this blog as well.
With ITUNES, anyone who has an Itunes friendly account will be able to subscribe easily and download the podcasts as they are released. We recommend the ITUNES friendly enhanced podcast because each episode will have its unique set of images to accompany the chatter!
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG!
NEXT WEEK: Anamnesis - we speak to actress Kimberley Warnat - don't miss it!
Comments (28) | 9:01 AM