(DVD) While I have a favorite Thanksgiving film (PIECES OF APRIL), and a favorite New Year’s Eve film (AFTER THE THIN MAN), I don’t have a favorite Christmas film. However, I do have a favorite Christmas TV episode, and MILLENNIUM’s -Midnight of the Century- is it.
MILLENNIUM is about Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), an offender profiler who has astounding intuition. Also, he can see angels and demons. In the second season of the show, he’s joined by Lara Means (Kristen Cloke) who also suffers from being bestowed the same ‘gift’. These are people who feel too much, feel too hard, who have insight and empathy they don’t want, but feel they have to utilize their gifts to help others.
MILLENNIUM’s holiday episodes, including the Halloween episode -The Curse of Frank Black- (also my favorite Halloween episode of all time) hit pause on the machinations of the Millennium Group that Frank Black is involved with, and instead focuses on Frank Black reflecting on his past, present, and future. -Midnight of the Century- features him mulling over the ramifications of passing along his ‘gift’ to his daughter, reminiscing about how his mother struggled with the same ‘gift’, and confronting his father (Kolchak himself, Darren McGavin — although I suspect most know him as the father in A CHRISTMAS STORY) about his mother holing herself up in their spare bedroom until she died.
It also includes a terrifically poignant story that involves a barely disguised Red Rose Tea figurine (https://redrosetea.com/pages/figurines ), the likes of which I grew up with.
It’s not all devastatingly sad, though: Frank Black takes a bit of time to detail why the killer in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is a spree killer, not a serial killer.
A hallmark of second season MILLENNIUM episodes are their exceptional music programming, and this episode doesn’t disappoint as it utilizes Tchaikovsky’s Arabian Dance (from his Nutcracker Suite – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPuf9krTR4w) as a haunting refrain.
It’s a quiet, contemplative episode that’s not only a substantial character study, but also perfectly captures the many facets of Christmas. While it is certainly not the most uplifting Christmas episode of a TV show, it is one of the most remarkable.