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Millennium – Loin Like a Hunting Flame (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

Loin Like a Hunting Flame represents the peak of a particular type of Millennium story.

It is an episode towards which the season seems to have been building. It is an episode that rather explicitly and candidly ties together two of the show’s favourite subjects: sex and violence, in harmony together. Loin Like a Hunting Flame is something of a stalking horse for the rest of the season; it is the first season episode that most obviously embodies the excesses of any show like Millennium. Fetishised violence has been baked into Millennium since The Pilot opened with a stripper dancing in her own blood; here, it reaches a logical end point.

Candid camera!

Candid camera!

Loin Like a Hunting Flame is an episode that is guilty of just about any criticism that might be thrown at it. It is gratuitous; it is sensationalist; it is excessive. It tries to have things both ways, titillating the viewer with glimpse of “exotic” sexual liberation while warning them that those sexually liberated individuals will be punished for their perceived transgressions. Yes, Loin Like a Hunting Flame tries to say something a bit more nuance, but it flails around for most of its forty-five minute runtime like a dying fish.

In many respects, this could be treated as a catharsis for the series. After this point, Millennium turns a corner. The rest of the first season is a lot more ambitious in tone and scope. As much as Loin Like a Hunting Flame closes off a particularly evolutionary line of Millennium, Force Majeure and The Thin White Line push forwards towards a more adventurous show. Loin Like a Hunting Flame just has to work these issues out, once and for all, to their logical (and unsatisfying) conclusion.

Wholesome family fun...

Wholesome family fun…

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Star Trek – Amok Time (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

Amok Time was the fifth show produced for the second season of Star Trek, but was the first show to air. This isn’t unusual. The production and broadcast order of various Star Trek episodes have not necessarily matched up. On shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this was usually due to production delays or changes on specific episodes. On Star Trek: Voyager, the first and second seasons produced episodes that would not be aired until the other side of summer.

However, on the original Star Trek, the production and broadcast order of the episodes is radically different. For example, Friday’s Child was the third episode of the second season produced, but the eleventh broadcast. This makes watching the show in production order on blu ray a delightfully frustrating experience. The first five episodes produced for the second season are split across three different discs.

Good wholesome family fun...

Good wholesome family fun…

Sometimes the changes in production order were purely practical. For example, The Man Trap was the first episode of Star Trek to air because it happened to be the most suitable of the episodes that had been produced to that point. The broadcast order of the first season introduced all manner of production and continuity glitches, with uniforms and cast changing seemingly randomly. Still, The Man Trap was felt to be, effectively, the least bad option to introduce new audiences to Star Trek.

Amok Time, the second season premiere, was an entirely different kettle of fish. This was easily the strongest of the three Star Trek season premieres, and there’s a sense that the production team knew this going into the episode. Designed to ruthlessly capitalise on the popularity and success surrounding the character of Spock, the episode was very clearly intended to put the show’s best foot forward for audiences returning to watch the second season. The result is one of the best episodes the franchise ever produced.

Spock remains as sharp as ever...

Spock remains as sharp as ever…

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