For genre fans of the 90s, there was one man who probably owned your attention span any time you turned on your television – Chris Carter. The acclaimed writer/director first garnered acclaim when his television series “The X-Files” debuted on Fox in 1993, showcasing a mix of melodrama and intrigue and often featuring a “creature of the week” that gave fans a taste of the unknown.
However, it was in 1996 that Carter took fans to an even darker television landscape with his series “Millennium”. The show featured prolific genre actor Lance Henriksen as Frank Black, a former FBI profiler with the ability to look inside the mind of a killer that joins forces with the Millennium Group, who are convinced that a growing crime wave only indicates horrific things for the impending millennium.
Even though the series had support from both critics and fans, as well as landed Henriksen three Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal of Black, Fox chose to end the series in 1999, ironically short of the new millennium.
Think that’s where the “Millennium” story ends? Think again.
Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to talk with Troy Foreman and James McLean, two of the masterminds behind the Back to Frank Black Campaign, who are working along with fans and Henriksen himself to try and get Fox to greenlight a Millennium movie that would give Frank’s story the proper ending.
Foreman said, “The thing about ‘Millennium’ for us as fans was that Fox ended a great show before its story was finished being told. It didn’t have great ratings, but it always was praised for Lance’s work and for Chris Carter’s storytelling. So we’d just like to see those involved with the show get the chance to finish telling their story.”
While fan campaigns for canceled shows aren’t unusual, the Back to Frank Black campaign stands out a bit because of the fact that it’s both fans and people who worked with the show that are both equally invested in its resurrection. McLean spoke about the origins of the campaign.
“There was an online ‘Millennium’ forum that we all belonged to, and from there we galvanized this campaign,” explained McLean. “We are very lucky that with an intelligent show comes an intelligent fanbase, so it was easy to start turning the wheels on the movement behind a ‘Millennium’ film campaign.”
“Our ‘Millennium’ campaign is pretty unique. Generally when you hear of fan campaigns, it’s over a show that was recently canceled. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve had first-run ‘Millennium’ episodes on television. Because of this Fox really isn’t sure how to deal with our campaign or how to handle the interest in the show,” McLean added.
As they’ve been moving forward with their Back to Frank Black campaign, both Foreman and McLean have had the opportunity as fans to talk with almost everyone from the cast and crew involved with “Millennium”. Foreman says it’s like a dream come true for both him and McLean.
Foreman said, “Never would I have imagined as a fan watching the show originally that I’d be able to talk to anyone from the show, let alone be friends with them or get to do something like this campaign. The cool thing is, everyone who was involved with the show ‘Millennium’ wants to see it come back one last time. I’ve never seen a fan campaign where the actors and the entire crew are so behind the campaign like they are for ‘Millennium’.”
During their interviews Foreman learned about a really cool cross-over moment that never came to fruition between “Millennium” and “X-Files”.
“One of the cool things we found out during our interviews was that Grant Morgan wanted to write an episode of ‘Millennium’ that featured the Peacock Family from ‘The X-Files’ episode called ‘Home’ (arguably the most violent and controversial ‘X-Files’ episode ever) but never had the opportunity. That really shows that everyone who was involved with Ten Thirteen Productions was one big family,” Foreman discussed.
With any campaign there are always concerns if those behind it will ever see the fruits of their labor. Even though both McLean and Foreman addressed their concerns about whether or not Fox will ever move forward, the duo remains undaunted with their efforts until they get the news otherwise.
Foreman said, “When Lance says it’s not happening, that’s when it is time to throw in the towel. He’s the one who knows the business so well. It’s hard because we’re fans first and foremost, but ultimately, if the guy who has been successful in the industry this long tells you it’s time to pack it in, then maybe it’s time to move on.”
“Timing is obviously a concern two-fold,” explained McLean. “One, Lance is a mature actor, and we’ve been so lucky to have him working this long in the industry, but unfortunately he won’t live forever. Also, these kinds of campaigns only can exist for so long. We’re not ‘Star Trek’ here so there is really only a good window of time to get this moving forward, and the time is now.”
“Honestly, I’ve asked myself: ‘How long can I carry on before I burn out?’ I’ve been lucky that this campaign so far has been an exceptional experience for me so it has never felt like work. What really keeps us going is Lance. It’s heartwarming to see a guy who tries so hard to push for something because of the fans. Believe me, he doesn’t have to do any of this,” McLean added.
So, “Millennium” fans, the ball is in now your court. Do you want to see Frank Black get his proper due finally from Fox? Then check out BackToFrankBlack.com to see what you can do to help with the campaign and to get your fix for all your “Millennium”-related needs.
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