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Book Review: Back To Frank Black
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Back To Frank BlackBack To Frank Black
A Return To Chris Carter’s Millennium
Edited By Adam Chamberlain & Brian A. Dixon
Introductions by Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, and Chris Carter
Fourth Horseman Press
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Cover Price: $28.99

One of my favorite television shows of all time is Millennium. Created by Chris Carter following his success with The X-Files, Millennium follows former FBI profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) journeying into the darker recesses of society as he tracks down criminals as a law enforcement consultant for the shadowy Millennium Group. The series zoned in on the dichotomy of light and dark / good and evil in society at the time, and in retrospect was a watershed moment in television for the abundance of procedurals and darker shows that would follow in a post-9/11 world.

After three seasons, the show came to an end, canceled by Fox, and leaving fans wondering what happened to Frank Black. In the many years that have followed, the fans of Millennium have never forgotten the series – and neither has Lance Henriksen, who has stated many times his hopes for a Millennium movie.

And that’s where Back To Frank Black comes in.

Back To Frank Black is the name of the online campaign to bring back Millennium, with the chief focus being on a film (though some fans would love a new series). Beginning in 2008, the fan campaign is one of the most consolidated and organized of all fan campaigns, with efforts placed in letter writing, podcasting, social media interaction, and much more all in the hope of bringing back Frank Black.

If that isn’t enough, the campaign has caught the attention of Lance Henriksen, main star of the series, who has become a vocal supporter of the fans campaigning for the return of Millennium. Furthermore, other names associated with the series have added their support, including Frank Spotnitz, Klea Scott, Brittany Tiplady, Megan Gallagher, and creator Chris Carter.

And now, here comes the book… Back To Frank Black: A Return To Chris Carter’s Millennium is not only indication to the campaign and the series, but to the fans as well. The novel explores the intricacies and depth of the show, but underscores why it was such a cornerstone moment in television media, and explains how in this contemporary age, Millennium is more relevant than ever.

Back To Frank Black is essentially a compendium of essays, articles, and interviews, outlining the significance of the series. The essays and articles zone in on specific aspects of the series, from its connections to other procedurals through times past, to deeper analysis of the symbolism and contextual significance of a variety of elements in specific episodes and story-arcs.

Of particular interest in the novel are the interview chapters, summarizing the experiences and memories of cast and crew alike. Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, and Lance Henriksen contribute introductions to the book; and Brittany Tiplady(who played Jordan Black, Frank’s very young daughter in the show)contributes a chapter also, providing fans an inside account of her memories from working on Millennium – and the connection she still feels with co-stars Henriksen and Gallagher, her “on-screen family.”

Back to Frank Black

Two of the stand-out characteristics of Millennium are its dark presentation, and how each season stands differently from those preceding it. Back To Frank Black explores these elements in great detail, analyzing the significance of the dark nature of the series, and how Carter was to some extent ahead of his time, when compared to recent series loaded with darkness and moral ambiguity. Each of the three Millennium seasons have a unique thematic flavor to them, and the novel examines these voyages as well, complete with some notable input and revelations from writers and producers behind-the-scenes.

James McLean also contributes a chapter detailing the history of the Back To Frank Black fan movement, While the back story for the momentum of the campaign is of interest, the most important stand-out element of his chapter is the consolidated unity between Millennium fans and Millennium alumni (cast AND crew) who not only honor the achievement of the original series, but stand in agreement on the very real need for the show to come back in some form or another.

Back To Frank Black is thoroughly presented as well, with most of the essay chapters presented in professional and/or academic fashion – an informative gesture in which end notes and references are all provided for further reading. This speaks volumes of the magnitude of the book – with the writers and contributors essentially displaying to the studio(s) that the importance of Chris Carter’s Millennium was, and still is, a notable influence on the evolution of series that follows – over and above having a deep cultural reflection of where we were in those days… But more importantly, the presentation underscores where we, as a society, where heading at that time.

Each chapter opens with some artwork at the header of each page, all beautifully depicted and created to highlight specific aspects of the television series. The cover artwork by Matthew Ingles is phenomenal – an incredible likeness of Henriksen as Black from the show that perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the show, but also the significant weight Frank Black carries with him.

Back To Frank Black is not only a crowning achievement for the fan campaign, but is a fantastic read that will mesmerize fans of the show. The writing is of a superior quality, with many of the chapters focusing on symbolic or historic analysis being stand-out moments. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Millennium, if you have ever been interested in the behind-the-scenes development of a television series, or if you’ve ever been interested in fan campaigns, then this book is a MUST-READ.

I’m with Lance Henriksen: it is time to go Back To Frank Black. The time is now.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

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