Jose Chung becomes the target of a religious group known as Selfosophy,
Frank Black teams with the flamboyant writer to investigate a string
of bizarre murders.
Season Two on DVD
Full Transcript Available
As a series of still photographs pass into view, author Jose Chung
describes the life of Juggernaut Onan Goopta, who went to college
hoping to become a famous neuroscientist and instead was overcome by
dementia and institutionalized. During his hospital stay, Goopta
decided to become a writer. His first literary works were so
incompetent they were mistaken for "brilliant parodies." Chung met
Goopta when his stories were published in a detective magazine. When
that publication folded, a desperate Goopta "changed the course of
human history" when he published the first in a series of highly-
successful self-help books and founded the "Institute of Selfosophy,"
which taught members how to shed negative thoughts. It was an enormous
success. Anyone responsible for internal criticism of the organization
was reprogrammed, and if that failed, dubbed a "Ratfinkovitch" and
excommunicated from the church.
While performing research on "the
newly arising belief systems at the end of the millennium," Chung
encountered Joseph Ratfinkovitch, who was excommunicated for reading
Chung's most recent fiction. Ratfinkovitch's body is discovered
inside his apartment, the victim of an electrocution. Giebelhouse
contacts Frank, hoping he can shed some light on the case. As the
group examines the crime scene, Chung steps forward and claims that
he is responsible for Ratfinkovitch's death. He explains that when
Playpen magazine ran an excerpt from his short story, the
Selfosophist Institute grew offended. They instructed members to buy
up all existing copies. However, Ratfinkovitch read, and enjoyed,
Ratfinkovitch was then
approached by, Mr. Smooth, a fellow Selfosophist. Using a device
called an Onan-o-Graph, Smooth attempted to recounsel Ratfinkovitch.
According to Chung's version of events, the device malfunctioned and
Ratfinkovitch was inadvertently electrocuted. When Chung admits he
made the whole thing up, Frank and Giebelhouse meet with a
Selfosophist spokeman, Robbinski, who insists his fellow members are
incapable of murder. Despite this, Mr. Smooth attempts to control
his homicidal rage after reading — and being offended by — Chung's
story. He sends Chung a clown doll impaled with a variety of knives.
Chung contacts Frank with the news. He explains that the antagonist
in his story sends similar threats before committing murder. At the
conclusion of the story, Chung states, the "Selfosophist Psycho"
confronts and kills the author.
Chung accompanies Frank to the scene
of a (seemingly unrelated) murder on a college campus. The victim is
Professor Amos Randi, a Nostradamus scholar. Frank concludes that
the perpetrator is targeting victims he considers to be Nostradamus'
Three Anti-Christs — and will attack two more authority figures. But
Chung does some profiling of his own. He determines that the killer,
who was fulfilling self-interpreted prophecies, targeted his ex-
girlfriend's teacher. The trail, Chung believes, leads to a
Hollywood movie theater. The next victim, it turns out, is a ticket
girl at a Hollywood movie theater. Frank realizes that Chung's
profile predicted the murder, and later concludes that Chung is the
killer's third Anti-Christ. He, Watts and Geibelhouse race to
Chung's hotel. Smooth, however, arrives first. He pulls out a gun
and berates Chung for ridiculing the church's beliefs.
Frank suddenly bursts through the
door. Smooth takes a shot at Chung, misses, then sprints from the
room. Frank follows Smooth onto the rooftop. Smooth convinces
himself he can leap onto a neighboring building and escape. But all
the positive thoughts in the world cannot save him, and he plummets
downward to his death. Meanwhile, the "Nostradamus Nutball"
surprises Chung and murders him with a pick axe. Later, Frank begins
reading one of Chung's books, entitled Doomsday Defense. In it,
Chung predicts the millennium will bring forth "one thousand years
of the same old crap."
- Quirky novelist Jose Chung
- Frank assists in examining the murder
- Frank follows Chung to his book signing
- Giebelhouse and Frank
discuss the case
- Chung receives a peculiar death threat
- Frank watches helplessly as Chung dies
- Frank and Chung discuss the future
- Frank and Chung compare profiles
Goopta's hero, Rocket McGrane
"['Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense'
is] written with the density of a Simpsons cartoon.
You'll scream till you laugh,
or laugh till you scream. Be dazzled, be wildered.
Four stars." —Matt Roush, USA Today
"After a year and a half of doom and gloom
stories, one of the most astounding television writers of the
nineties, Darin Morgan, is allowed his fractured take on Millennium
and Frank and author Jose Chung investigate murders that lead them
deeply into the world of a pseudo-religion called Selfosophy (read as
Scientology). Bizarre is exactly the word for it as Millennium
takes sharp aim at itself and has fun with it."
—Michael Patrick Sullivan, Underground
"This season, [Frank Black] has a
wry, biting wit that comes out at surprising moments. Initially it's a
strange fit —
you don't immediately think of Lance Henriksen as the sort to laugh,
or even smile —
but it soon gets there, allowing the show two of its finest but purely
comic episodes, 'Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense' and 'Somehow,
Satan Got Behind Me.' The comedy never lessens the tension, though."
—Tony Whitt, Now Playing Magazine
"Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense"
is the first of two Millennium stories scripted by Darin
Morgan, the eccentric and talented brother of executive producer Glen
Morgan. The comedic-minded Darin was reportedly reluctant to
work on the typically dour Millennium but an agreement that
offered him the opportunity to both write and direct his episodes
convinced him to join the show's staff.
In daring to spoof the infamously
litigious Church of Scientology, Millennium drew considerable
protest from those Hollywood insiders loyal to the religion. Word of the script spread and Darin Morgan's story immediately earned
the ire of Scientologists. Executive Producers Glen Morgan and
James Wong subsequently visited the
Scientology Celebrity Center in Los
and spent several hours discussing the
script with church officials. One of the agreed upon changes was
dubbing Darin Morgan's fictional religion
Selfosophy rather than Selftology. Darin Morgan
later noted how trying the experience was from a creative standpoint,
commenting, "It seemed like a very simple freedom of speech issue.
You take free speech for granted until certain people are threatening
you, whether it be legally or otherwise, to shut up. And it isn't
until that happens that you go, 'How much am I willing to stand up for
In covering the show's conflict with the
church ABC News reported, "It's no
secret that the Church of Scientology wields considerable power in
Hollywood — after all, its members include Tom Cruise, John Travolta,
and Kirstie Alley. But according to the Hollywood Reporter,
that influence was recently used on the Fox series Millennium.
Seems some members thought that an upcoming episode of the paranormal
series dealing with the murder of a member of a New Age cult called
Selfosophy hit a little too close to home." The Hollywood
Reporter's initial report commented, "Execs on the show and at the
studio had taken concerned calls from within the Scientology
organization and from reps of industry people who belong to
Scientology, as one studio individual described it."
Featuring the character of novelist Jose
Chung, who first appeared in The X-Files episode "Jose Chung's
From Outer Space," this episode acts as the first clear
crossover between Chris Carter's two shows. When the episode
first aired, fans of The X-Files were outraged that a beloved
character had been killed off while visiting Millennium.
Bringing back one of The X-Files' most popular guest stars and
guest characters seemed like a surefire way to boost Millennium's
chronically low ratings numbers. An appropriate scheduling choice made
on the part of the Fox network only increased those odds. On the night
"Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense" first aired
Friday, November 21, 1997 —
it was preceded by a showing of The X-Files' "Jose Chung's
From Outer Space"; Fox prepared a Jose Chung double feature for
the fans, primarily in an effort to draw a larger audience to
Millennium in its difficult Friday night timeslot. Unfortunately,
the event didn't work out as planned. While Fox registered a
significant number of viewers for The X-Files rerun, the
producers were stunned to discover that those numbers disappeared once
that episode of The X-Files came to an end. A low percentage of
the audience carried over into the regular Millennium timeslot.
Glen Morgan later noted that "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense"
was one of the second season's lowest rated episodes.
Thespian and comedy veteran Charles Nelson
Reilly took out a full page ad in the November 21, 1997 issue of
Variety expressing "loving
thanks to Chris, Darin, Rob, Gillian, David, and Lance." Reilly's enthusiastic
performance as the irreverent Jose Chung earned Millennium its only non-technical Emmy Award
nomination, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
Like The X-Files
episode that introduced the character, "Jose Chung's From Outer
Space," this episode takes its title from the fictional author's
most recent tome.
"Dance and Dream" by
"Let's Get Goin'" by Johnny Lightning
Emmy Award - Charles Nelson
Reilly, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Nominee)
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
Stephen James Lang as Detective Giebelhouse
Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung
Patrick Fabian as Ratfinkovich
Richard Steinmetz as Mr. Smooth
Dan Zukovic as Robbinski
Scott Owen as the Nostradamus Nutball
Alec Willows as Det. Twohey
Steier as the Anti-Porn Feminist
Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producers Darin Morgan
Co-Producer Robert Moresco
Co-Producer Paul Rabwin
Producer Thomas J. Wright
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis
Executive Producer Glen Morgan
Executive Producer James Wong
Executive Producer Chris Carter