The only show with the chutzpah to mix W.H. Auden with LSD, Millennium is, as if you needed to be told, Chris X-Files Carter's new show starring Lance Henriksen as Frank Black, a psychic killer-catcher who works with the Millennium Group, an organization whose motives are noble but shadowy.
The big difference between Black and The X-Files' Mulder and Scully is that Black has a personal life a solid marriage with a wife (Megan Gallagher) and young daughter (Brittany Tiplady), and they all live together in a rambling Seattle house. Therein lies creator Carter's challenge: how to combine horror and domesticity without making one of them seem silly.
In the series' pilot, the ickiest image was so striking crime victims buried alive, their eyes and mouths sewn shut that the drippy scenes of Black home life were easy to ignore. The second episode, written by Carter, commenced with a quote from Auden and featured villains who drop acid and work part-time for some sort of satanic version of Amway; in this context, a shot of a severed ear seemed quaint.
Although Millennium hasn't quite found its tone, it's got great visuals and a commanding performance by Henriksen, whose tired eyes and rumbly voice are mood enhancing. Gallagher must be stopped from reciting lines like ''Sometimes I think of Frank as the Catcher in the Rye, standing at the edge of the world trying to save everyone.'' But given Carter's achievement with The X-Files, he deserves all the slack you can cut him. (Grade is provisional.) B+