Fearsome Friday: Millennium Apolcaypse, Season One Episode Two

Welcome to the second of our exclusive "Fearsome Fridays" at Back To Frank Black!

Every Friday at 8pm EST we will be airing Season One of Millennium Apocalypse for your viewing pleasure, and to prepare you for Season Two later this year!

Millennium Apocalypse was created by Jason Morris of In Pieces Productions and stars Shoni Alysse-Cook as an adult Jordan Black, sucked back into the horrific legacy left by the Millennium Group and coming terms with her "gifts". This independent film project was - unsurprisingly - inspired by Millennium, Jason being a big fan. If you missed our recent podcast with Jason, please check it out after you've watched the episode!

For each episode and the first season, Jason and Shoni have recorded a special introduction. This short introduction from the MA team is exclusive to Back to Frank Black.

It will come to no surprise that Jason is a big believer in the return of Millennium and has been actively supporting us in trying to bring Frank Black back!

So sit back and enjoy Episode Two of Season One of.. Millennium Apocalypse!

Join us again next Friday at 8pm EST for part three!

Happy Birthday Lance Henriksen!

All of us at Back to Frank Black would like to wish Lance Henriksen a very Happy Birthday! It's hard to believe that someone who keeps up the demanding schedule that Lance does is turning 71!

From Dog Day Afternoon, Aliens, Near Dark and Millennium to Hard Target, Lance has produced a body of work that can be matched by very few in the movie and television industry. Still, with all that work and critical acclaim from many top insiders, Lance remains as humble as ever. Still the consummate professional, still wanting to perfect his craft, Lance has shown what it truly means to be an artist in the entertainment industry.

Speaking on a personal note, I have had the privilege to get to know not only the actor, but the man himself. I can safely say that I can call Lance Henriksen a friend. He is truly appreciative of all the fan support that he has received over the years and thanks all of the fans who have done so throughout his 35 years in the industry. But don't fret, Lance isn't done yet, with several movies already in the can and several more projects on the way, he continues to stay busy. Most importantly, he just released his autobiography Not Bad For a Human. You can order the limited edition of the book by going here.

Although we wanted to do something on a grander scale, Lance asked us to keep it simple. So, all of us at Back to Frank Black ask you to take the time out of your busy schedules and leave Lance a birthday message. We know that he will be very happy to see the well wishes from all his fans!

Happy Birthday Lance from Back to Frank Black!!

"Not Bad for a Human": Order Your Copy Now!

Well, folks. the long wait is over, your appetites can finally be sated... Back to Frank Black is very pleased to be able to pass on the (quite literally) hot off the press news that you can order your copy of "Not Bad for a Human" now!

The official website now has a link from which you can order a copy of the Limited Edition hardcover of Lance's official biography, co-written with Joe Maddrey. And, better still, order through the website and you will receive a copy SIGNED by Lance Henriksen. Back to Frank Black will be posting our own review of the book in the very near future, but it goes without saying that this is a must-have purchase for all fans of Lance and Millennium, with significant coverage given over to his time on the series. Here's your opportunity to own a very special version of this tome, so go there now!

What the Killer Sees: Frank Black

The concept of What the Killer Sees is to explore the killers that featured in Millennium’s rich canon, to profile the antagonists to Frank Black’s singular hero. For this instalment, though, to mark Lance Henriksen Blogathon Week, I’m putting a spin on that format. Following on from last week’s look at the Polaroid Stalker, we consider the events that prompted Frank Black himself to turn killer, and how Lance Henriksen’s performance ensured the audience could believe such a shocking transformation...

Killer: Frank Black (Lance Henriksen)

Episode: “The Beginning and the End” (19 September 1997)
Writers: Glen Morgan & James Wong
Director: Thomas J. Wright

Quote: “I guess deep down I knew this hour would come. I thought I did everything I could to stop this from happening. What did I overlook? What could I have done? And now what must I sacrifice to have her back safe?” --Frank Black

Profile: Frank Black is Millennium’s beacon of hope. In a world tainted by moral bankruptcy, tormented by eldritch evils and teetering on the verge of apocalyptic meltdown he is our best line of defence. He knows evil having seen the world through the eyes of killers, and yet time and again he emerges from his visions triumphant and catches the bad man.

Throughout Season One, Lance Henriksen asserts Frank Black as a devoted husband and father to a wholly believable family unit. Famously, Chris Carter directed Lance to invest the consulting profiler with a sense of quiet authority through a stillness and reserve that did not come naturally to Lance but which led him to find the truth of the character. As a result, and in spite of his insights into the minds of killers, Frank seems so far from truly becoming the capability he so vividly comprehends. It is thus in the contrast to this consistency of poise and carefully measured control across the previous twenty-two episodes that Frank’s transformation in “The Beginning and the End” provides such a powerfully dramatic pay-off.

Yet Frank has been taunted for so long by the Polaroid Stalker’s missives that have repeatedly threatened to break the sanctity of his yellow house and to harm his family. Back home after the fruitless search for Catherine following the Polaroid Stalker’s kidnap of her and escape from Tacoma Airport, Frank asks Peter what he needs to sacrifice in order to get Catherine back. From his words and subsequent actions it is apparent he is willing to sacrifice at the very least his own liberty, if not his life. Having surmised the Polaroid Stalker’s location, he ignores Peter Watts’ plea to wait for backup and instead makes the decision to go there alone and armed. Finally confronted by the man who has taken his wife captive, his poise explodes into a few moments of devastatingly visceral violence, and he repeatedly stabs the man until he is dead. But for the Millennium Group’s further interference, he would not so readily have evaded being called to answer for the killing.

Even in the wake of her rescue, Catherine is left feeling conflicted from having witnessed Frank’s violent actions from such close quarters, telling him, “I don't know yet if it was wrong, what you did.” “Neither do I,” admits Frank. And neither do we, the audience, even as we are forced to consider how we might react if our most loved ones were under such threat. Plenty of portrayals of such an act of vengeance would leave the audience with no doubt as to the moral righteousness of the hero but, quite apart from his statement, the line walked by Frank Black’s character in this episode is a fine one. As Lance outlines in the documentary accompanying the Season Two DVD release, “Every action has a reaction, so no matter how pure of heart you might have been about something, you’re gonna pay the consequences, or pay for it. The truth definitely shouts. It set me out on my own.” It was a brave move to take the series’ protagonist and transform his behaviour in this way as part of its reinvention of the series, and one that might easily have gone awry.

But as John Kenneth Muir noted in his recent article on “The Tao of Lance Henriksen”, Lance embodies the very soul of the roles he undertakes, “without standing back — away from the performance — and transmitting some sense of moral judgment”. In a less nuanced or more straightforward performer’s creative grasp, Frank Black’s actions in “The Beginning and the End” might well have felt forced or untrue to the character by trying too hard to sell the audience on the righteousness of his revenge. As it is we believe Frank’s transformation and, as he drives away from his yellow house alone at the end of the episode, we continue to want to follow this complex hero on his journey through the dark.

There are a multitude of reasons why, thirteen or so years later, a legion of fans still stand firm in their resolve to return Frank Black to our screens. There is the initial creative vision of Chris Carter, the subsequent involvement of some of the very finest writers, directors, cinematographers and editors working in television throughout its three year run all contributing to a superlative body of work, but above all there is the one constant: Lance Henriksen’s unique interpretation of the role. For those of us well acquainted with Frank Black, Lance so inhabited the character that it seems inconceivable that anyone else could have played him, as the executives at FOX originally requested. Evil has many faces. Hope has just one. And, thanks to Lance, the world still needs Frank Black.

Lance Henriksen Blogathon Week: My Life with Lance

I've squandered much McLean-time trying to decide on a witty and engaging collective huddle of words on the subject of Lance Henriksen. Oddly, my musing seemed to revolve heavily around nudity gags. Alas, such lazy jokes didn't seem to quite fit the tone of the piece, so rather than continue laboured forced imagined "hilarity", I figured I'd write this au naturel myself - nude. There - it's no longer a joke, it's a fact.

Amused? Repulsed? Well if I've got you past the opening paragraph, I really don't care which ballpark you decide to sit in – you're still with me, hopefully for a little longer. So where was I? Ah, Lance.

This attempt to coax, drive and pen alphabet letters into something more dignified than a swill-and-spit word mouthwash of sentences will be coherent - I promise. While focusing on Lance it will cling to me in that particular way my clothes currently do not: My personal history with Mr Henriksen.

Before Back To Frank Black and the drive to bring Lance's Millennium character back to our screens, I will have to admit not to being a massive follower of Lance. That sounds a terrible thing to say, but it's an honest one. Naturally I was a big fan of his work throughout Millennium, but before that my experiences of Lance were relatively slim – though nevertheless significant.

I first blindly encountered Lance in Terminator, but my real memory of him first comes from Aliens. Despite my penchant for the macabre as a child, having been brought up on darker British comics like 2000AD and Eagle from five upwards, I was oddly sensitive to particular horrors. There were a couple of ideas that seriously creeped me out, and I remember being told about Alien in the playground when I was just six, and that just stuck with me. I still have dreams of being six years old and the near hysterical fear about a film I had never seen – I actually dream of living that fear as a child; of what Alien could be like through the eyes of six year old me... dreams of a film I've seen more than a few times – even played the game and read the book. If that's not an example of what a stupid berk my brain is, I don't know what is.

But in that very human way, we are drawn to what scares us. And I remember seeing Aliens when I was in my teens. Now, I know many don't consider Aliens "horror", but the general template of a lot of horror (in my humbly arrogant opinion) is the “star” is the antagonistic force, not the protagonist; the people you care about aren't as important as the force that scares and kills them. However, in Aliens there are actually a host of protagonists you could actually care for a great deal – these weren't the usual canon fodder dressed up with mild personalties, food for an unstoppable enemy. For me, the starring protagonist wasn't Ripley, it was the synthetic android, Bishop.

Bishop was captivating – a fusion of counterpoints. Henriksen's synthetic Bishop played off a warm innocence against the character's cold artificial intelligence. His eyes were kind, filled with youthful honesty, set upon the face of a mature man. In the midst of the frantic horror, he was the calm in the storm. On first watch his role isn't quite as assuring given the uncertainty of synthetics in the franchise – thanks to the memorable portrayal of Ash in Alien by Ian Holm. However on repeated watches, knowing Bishop isn't a wolf in sheep's clothing, he grows on you and in a sense you feel so comfortable with the character that you believe in him – thanks very much to such a unique and memorable performance from Lance.

Bishop was, in fact, a perfect compliment to the film's survivors of Hicks, Newt and Ripley. This dynamic was so strong, they took this quartet into comic form – until Alien 3 came about and severed this partnership (in which the comics then hastily reissued the past stories with this team re-casting them as an identical group of people who weren't Hicks, Newt, Ripley and Bishop, but looked like Hicks, Newt, Ripley and Bishop – oh, the wicked web of comicdom).

The lack of Bishop in Alien 3 disappointed me, but Henriksen's work in the franchise had left its mark – he had me spellbound by his performance and his face was firmly etched into my celluloid memory archive.

That being said, I still didn't follow Lance like so many of you have done. I guess my viewing consumption didn't really flow with his output. I saw him in Scream 3 in the 90s, I don't remember catching him in anything else until... Millennium!

When Millennium came along and I saw his face on some promo photos, Lance sold me on watching it. And the promo pitches I saw were good, a nice blend of images that informed me so much of what this character was about – the sympathetic eyes of Bishop were there, but there was something deeper, something, conversely, human about this character – and this was proved true in the show itself. For if Bishop was an example of how humans ought to be in a broad utopian sense – selfless, honest, informed with a gift of kindness, Frank Black was what humans should be in a real contemporary world – once again, honest and to some degree selfless, but carrying human imperfections – some knowingly, some not so – burdened with flaws and experiences that, if we let them, can consume us. In Lance's portrayal of Frank Black I saw an actor who could carry this weight in a single look; an expression that told me this man had experience – he wasn't artificial, and he was deeply, tragically human, filled with uncertainty, hope and love.

And now I'm in a very fortunate position to know the man behind these two characters. And as Frank is different to Bishop, Lance is different to both – yet in some respects imbues facets of the two. There is a natural honesty to Lance that he carries in both of these characters – but compared to Frank or Bishop there is a really raw energy in Lance Henriksen, an unstoppable urge to get things done, to find solutions and to make the most of a situation. He doesn't let himself dwell on the negatives in life, but he doesn't ignore the pain and suffering that he knows is present – and is always willing to contribute in anyway to fight such real horror. Perhaps in that respect, you can see shades of Frank, but if with Frank there's a passive dedication to hope, with Lance it's an active pursuit. And unlike both those characters, he is a man of great wit and humour – he can seriously make you laugh. He is opinionated and informed – he will say what he thinks and in his art he puts his all into the roles he plays. Moreover, he loves his fans and followers – he watches his Facebook page avidly, never taking the support for granted – in fact, I sometimes suspect slightly bemused at why he's worthy of such support at all. I don't think it's a question he lingers on. He is very much a man of the moment who simply enjoys the fact the interaction is there.

So this is where I stand today, working along side the man for Back to Frank Black and very honoured to be his friend as much as a co-worker. But while this piece is very much about my perception of the man, I hope it can be something to you, the reader. So often we are spellbound or seduced by such powerful performers on our screen and left wondering whether that thespian mask hides a man worthy of respect. Do we see any of the artist within his art, or is his art a true deception? In the case of Lance Henriksen, I hope I can assure those who do weigh up such a question that this man is firmly in the former category. Behind the many diverse roles Lance has played is an artist who you can watch knowing he's worth your respect – and he is a man who will always wear your respect as a badge of honour.

So happy birthday to Lance this week, an actor whose honest creativity deserves such an honour roll. And with that, I bid you goodnight – I'm off to put some clothes on.
- James McLean

New Auction has begun!

Another round of Back To Frank Black's auctions [EDIT] Has begun!

  • Script: 1.0
  • Script: Powder
  • Script: No Contest 2
  • Script: The untold
  • Mark Snow Pack - Signed Limited Edition Millennium Soundtrack and photo!
As always, all proceeds will be going to www.childrenofthenight.org - a charity to help kids out of child prostitution. A worthy cause. To learn a little more, please watch the video below created by Joselyn Rojas and the rest of the B2FB staff.