Created By: René Echevarria & Scott Peters Starring: Joel Gretsch, Jacqueline McKenzie, Patrick Flueger, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Laura Allen, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Chad Faust, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Samantha Ferris, Jenni Baird, Brooke Nevin, Conchita Campbell, Karina Lombard, Bill Campbell, Peter Coyote
Certificate: 15 Running Time: 42 Minutes (per episode)
Tagline: "Abducted. Returned. Changed"
I must admit, I'm pretty picky when it comes to watching TV shows. When I first saw The 4400 advertised I immediately thought 'blah, blah, blah', another stupid 'ordinary people with special powers' show and dismissed without a second thought. Until, that is, a couple of months ago when I noticed it was one of few shows available to stream via Netflix. This is probably the greatest advantage of a service like Netflix – I can try one episode, or even just the beginning of an episode, instantly without any trouble, rather than having to risk some cash or go to the effort of catching it on TV. After reading a brief synopsis of the show and realising that it sounded at least potentially non-crap, that was exactly what I did.
The basis of the show involves the return of 4400 people of all shapes, sizes, races, and nationalities, who were missing and presumed dead. It turns out that they were actually abducted over a period of about fifty years but now they’ve all been returned at once on Highland Beach at the foot of Mount Rainier, close to Seattle, in a ball of light which was initially assumed to be a comet... until it started slowing down! All 4400 of them are dropped off in the same place at the same time so they’re understandably confused and disorientated, particularly since as far as they’re concerned no time has passed since their abduction and accordingly they haven't aged a day either.
Spoiler Alert: I'll try not to reveal any major plot twists or cliffhangers with these posts but they may contain a few spoilers so if you haven't seen them and don't want to know anything, don't read!
Season 1 (6 episodes)
|The unexpected arrival of the 4400...|
Season 2 (12 episodes)
|Tom and Diane investigate their latest theory...|
Season 3 (12 episodes)
|Isabelle - well, she is still only two, strictly speaking...|
Season 4 (13 (episodes)
|A messiah or just a nut-case? We'll never know...|
Well, it was over far too quickly for my liking - the entire show only consists of 43 episodes, not even two seasons of a normal-length American show - but if there's one thing that The 4400 has taught me, it's that I shouldn't prematurely judge a show based on a quick advert and then dismiss it! Yes, many are still crap, but as I've now discovered, some are not. The basic premise behind the show doesn't sound too original - the whole supernatural 'humans with mysterious powers' thing has been done time and time again over the years, especially in recent times, but the creators of The 4400 have certainly put an interesting spin on the concept.
Much of the appeal of the show is down to its likeable characters which is largely down to superb casting and a high-standard of acting throughout. Even the 'bad guys' are difficult to hate as they all have their own agenda and you can usually see things from their point of view as well. Many sub-plots or incidents may seem implausible or even downright preposterous if you were talking about the show with someone who's never seen it, but the acting as well as consistently good dialogue usually makes everything seem sensible enough and the snappy pace means you'll be too intrigued by the story to dissect and analyse things too much.
As you may have guessed by now, although sceptical at first, I was quickly drawn in by this superb show. It's a real shame it was cancelled, especially without sufficient notice for its producers to craft a 'proper' ending. Some of the plots left open have been wrapped up in a novel released a little later but a few more seasons of this great and oft-overlooked show (yes, yes, I know - by me as well!) would've been mighty tremendous. It makes me angry really, when I see how many seasons some truly horrific shows end up with, but at least The 4400 exists at all I guess. It's definitely a show I'd recommend then, but prepare to be frustrated by the end!