The 4400 (2004–2007)
User ReviewsReview this title
Hard to follow, and occasionally borderline kitsch, somehow The 4400 keeps you hooked with the fascinating characters, deep plot and unpredictable turns.
The storyline is highly original. The actors and the characters that they play are highly engaging. It tests some scientific and moral boundaries and makes some other programmes seem like music videos in comparison.
I think it is a sci-fi classic which, like Dune, will be loved by a small hardcore of fans, whilst most will just scratch their heads wondering what it is all about.
Each episode features another 4400 that has interesting abilities from the future and usually their powers have a repercussion, and Tom Baldwin and his team at NTAC try everything they can to bring the 4400 to justice or help them balance their powers.
The 4400 is a winner, and you will not be disappointed if you watch it. Rating: 10/10
Seattle Washington, 2004 - It's a seemingly normal night, when a space satellite picks up something unusual. Government agencies are in a panic, as this weird object descends over a mountain lake and emits a bright white light before vanishing. Once it's gone, 4400 people stand on the banks of the lake, 4400, who as it would turn out, have at one time or another been missing since as far back at the 1940s and as recently as six months ago. There's a big to do about what to do with these people, but they are soon released and a new agency is tasked with tracking and monitoring them. A seemingly easy job, until it's discovered that many of them have developed super human abilities.
The premise of the show is fantastic, on top of that it was created by one of the guys who is behind Star Trek: The Next Generation, basically a God in my eyes, and if that weren't enough it features Joel Gretsch, who is one of the most believable, realistic actors to ever play a federal agent in the history of television. This show had everything going for it, even the ratings were good, so why did they have to go and change things so much! Despite good ratings and reviews, people thought the show was too much like the X-files, so they turned the 4400 into this kind of religious cult. Instead of being a mostly episonic show with underling story lines, the show went continuous, spending all of it's time following just a handful of characters. The line between good and bad, blurred, and most times you really couldn't follow who was doing what for whom and why anyone was doing what they were doing. After the first season, there were a couple of good episodes here and there but by season 3, the whole thing had just completely fallen apart.
I readily admit that I watch far more television than most people and far more than television than any normal person should, so trust me when I tell you, that in all my years of doing this, I have never seen a show go so quickly from as good as the 4400 was, to as bad as it became. It defied all logic, honestly did the actors and network involved in producing the shows not realize that after a while the whole thing just didn't make any sense anymore? The bottom line is that the 4400 should have been the next Heroes, X-Files, Lost, Fringe, what have you. It should have been that next big sci-fi show, that had everyone talking. Instead too many chefs ruined the pie and the show literally became unwatchable.
The tone and the atmosphere of the show hit just the right notes. The acting is good all around with standouts Billy Campbell playing a totally different kind of character than in "Once and Again" and Conchita Campell convincingly playing equal measures of cute and creepy.
After seeing the first couple of shows in Season 2, I am looking forward to seeing where the 4400 is going to take us.
Unfortunately, it seems as if I watched a different series. The writing was awful...contrived and unrealistic. The special effects were not even good enough to be "skimpy". (Come on! You couldn't afford to put two characters in front of a REAL cabin and photograph them? You had to superimpose them rather poorly on a photograph of a cabin?)
By now you must know the gist of the plot. So we have 4400 "returnees" showing up in a ball of light from what appears to be a comet. Naturally, all news coverage and websites concentrate on the 4400 returnees. There's virtually no discussion of ETI or how they got back or what exactly is going on.
Then the DHS (which I gather is charged with handling alien abductee returns) decides that the best they can do is put TWO investigators on it. One is a flaky FBI agent who happens to be closely related to one of the returnees (yeah, the government is real keen on putting relatives in charge of investigations). The other is a CDC investigator (I gather that being abducted by aliens is also considered some sort of disease). As far as you can tell from this show, the Federal government can only spare a couple people to investigate the whole darn event.
None of the characters act in any way that can be considered the least bit natural, plus, the writers have this dedication to making social commentary through the script. This ends up being heavy-handed and totally out of place.
The creepy little girl is the final straw. You start yelling at the screen, "Hey, dimwit! You might STAY with foster parents if you quit telling them about the future and making remarks about their deaths!" She's a super-intelligent (and apparently psychic) little girl who can't seem to understand that her little eccentricities might freak people out.
All in all, this series royally deserved to be canceled.
* (for effort) out of *****
the lead duo have no chemistry, they look like two employees at a DMV office rather than mystery solving partners!
In the second season.. the lead female couldn't be more dumber... instead of leaving the Bailey dude alone... they shoot him for no reason!
The other characters are way too much of a cliché...
Its a pandering set of characters, none of them alive or involving.
The writers should just go jump into a shark infested waters.
years...They come back unchanged, physically and emotionally-fully capable of functioning, fully remembering the life they last saw before they vanished. But when they come back, they realize the life they had left behind was not the life that re- greeted them was landing on the place called home.
People grew up. People changed. People died. And the returners felt an emptiness like never before---like, they lost out on some wonderful life they knew they would have had, if only, they never left.
it's like coming back from heaven and realizing that everything has changed. But you're still the same. You're still you. An old man, married for 20 years. A little girl with parents still well-alive. A brother and a son, in high school, tall, handsome and healthy. In your heart and mind, you have taken these memories with you--memories of the life and the people you once loved have embedded themselves deep within your heart, and you wonder why the world has kept spinning without you. You were gone, but can't quite remember where you had gone to and what you were doing in that period of time...you don't remember....you can't remember, and you feel like an alien on your own planet. A stranger to your own world....your own home...Earth.
But story is not believable and neither is acting.
I can't believe how unrealistic and incompetent American government and her officials are displayed. Well, except the part about acting all morally righteous, especially with people from other countries (Rwanda).
It's a shame, because this could have been a great SF.
Have you noticed advertisement?
Unfortunately the original storyline was washed away by adding more and more esoteric and religious nonsense in S3 and S4 , which amounted in the praise of a new Jesus (Jordan Collier) with a cult like movement willing to sacrifice half of the population of the earth because of some book and visions, a way that was hardly questioned in the end (altough it ends on a cliffhanger),and was indeed portrayed as good.
The whole mess started out when they added that rival group from the future trying to sabotage the 4400 with grown up Isabelle, instead of focusing on what really happens in the future (which was never made clear) and how the 4400 should prevent it, I mean set some milestones! By that time unfortunately a lot of plot holes started to emerge too, for example abducting Maia again and sending her further back into the past, or Tom committing "suicide" and being send back, Elena being abducted and send back further in the past too. I mean if it's just that easy to send everybody around in time and bring someone back from the dead into another dimension, what's the point of the 4400 anyway? Then everything goes, why not sending someone back to the ancient Romans and change course there, and if you don't succeed try again in the middle ages. ^^ They really should have focused more on the upcoming catastrophe in the future, on how and when it's going to start, how to prevent it.
Another frustrating factor were the relationships of Tom and Diana in S3 and 4. I mean I appreciate the fact that they for one time didn't do the obvious and brought Diana and Tom together, but their relationships seemed random and meaningless to the storyline, even Tom and Elana, but especially Diana and Marco/ Ben.
But the most upsetting part was the "let's bring god to earth" and "the solution for paradise is everybody on promicin" storyline. I guess looking back 2004-2007 was a time were evangelicals were on the rise in America and maybe that storyline reflects that a little bit, but it was unbearable to watch.
The idea behind this whole storyline alone contradicts everything we learned throughout the first 2 seasons, and that is that people with abilities are not automatically better human beings than people without. Just like the regulars some of them used their powers for good, some of the for their own sake or fraud, and some of them to hurt and kill people. I mean even the abilities itself were not in every case designed to do good, some of them were (like healing), others just caused destruction, chaos or violence.
That all was negated in S4 and especially in the finale, just do what some vision/ ability and an old book tells you (dumbest character of the series: Kyle) and give everybody an ability or let them die, because then you'll get heaven on earth, sure, no one out of billions of people will ever use an ability to kill somebody anymore, hallelujah, we are all reborn *facepalm*.
When you start skipping some scenes while watching to get to the end you know something has been lost in S3 and S4, and that's what happened when I watched. I'd still recommend it though if I have to rate all 4 seasons together.
It's just too bad that the story doesn't make me wanna know more about the characters. I do wanna know why all of those people were taken and why they were changed, but it wouldn't be a disaster if I never find out (which will be the case, since the show has been canceled...). Most of the actors were good, but even they couldn't take the story to a higher level.
I still give the show three stars, because of the soundtracks. The theme song is very cool and relaxing (like most of the songs they use).
Yes there are the typical Sci-fi clichés (maybe 4400 by the time the show is finished?). But I would say that this is a Sci-fi show and not a Sci-fact show, and by it's very nature it's a work of fiction, thus real world science doesn't really matter or nessecarily apply.
The scene the first post was alluding to was (I'm sure) not intended to be a dazzling display of the script writers grasp of near and outer orbital rocket science, but a characterization of both the governmental paranoia and hopeless desperation that humans can exhibit when faced with seemingly futile situations.
Personally, I don't think the acting is too bad, yes it does smack of countless other Sci-fi shows and draws heavily on many common themes running through all Sci-fi series, but what shows don't? There is little originality in Sci-fi these days, but the premise of this show is at least relatively unexplored.
How many shows do you know that effectively try to portray the multitude of challenges that face abductees when they try to re-integrate into a society that seemingly doesn't want them, can't understand them or are jealous of them?
Comparisons are inevitable, but when you're subconsciously thinking "Mulder and Scully" or "Rouge and Wolverine" while you are watching supposedly new characters then as a script writer you've got to try to distance yourself from what could easily be considered as stereotypes. This is probably my greatest (and only real) criticism.
If the script writers were just a little less derivative, and a bit more adventurous then I think we have a winner.
P.S. Oh, and they need to stop the re-caps at the start of every darn episode, the fast forward button on my Tivo's getting worn out as it is.
I just finished the first 30 minutes of the pilot. That may not be a lot, but it was quite enough. First off I see a bunch of actors delivering what appears to be script. The Cliché-ridden dialog ranges from "I'm worried about you Tom" and "Is it supposed to be that bright?" The latter referring to a fastly closing comet as if the character already saw the episodes of this series and suspected it may not be a comet at all but rather an extra-terrestrial 'Ball of Light' made by a wannabe CGI-expert who normally does the catering.
The Intergalactic marble is counter-measured with ballistic CGI missiles. In clear sight we see the missiles hit the object somewhere beyond the moon. Not only did it take these missiles just a few seconds to get there, they must have been the size of a small African state to be visible that far away. Despite their gigantic size, the SGI-Missiles have no effect and the Ball of Light conveniently descends in the back-garden of our protagonist's Observatory of Stray Alien Objects. It must have had a map.
After the Ball of Light delivers a couple of thousand CGI produced actors, the contest for the Worst-Wooden-Dialog-Award continues. Some of the CGI-actors turn out to be real people and they are held hostage by Homeland Security for 3 weeks being thoroughly interviewed while none of the returnees remembers a damn thing of their trip in the ball of Light. I'm sure this made for excellent conversation during those interviews.
Eventually the returnees are set free. One of them is a woman who's been gone for 10 years and thinks it would be a good idea to visit her daughter and husband after so long. When she gets to the house where her husband and daughter live, the screenwriters truly run out of inspiration and quickly down a six-pack of tequila flavored beer. Seeing his wife return after being gone for ten years, being abducted by aliens no less, the husband, in no more than 4 lines, tells her that 'alas things have changed for him' and adds a hasty 'sorry' as if he was sending some kids away who tried to sell him cookies. Without a single real-life emotion, the woman turns around and departs.
I don't know what the people that find this show even remotely enjoyable are on, but I wouldn't mind trying some of it.
This is considered good TV? Astonishing.
After watching the complete series this show has become one of my favorites, although it was unfortunately canceled prematurely. Now, I've even purchased the novel that continues this series.
Great story, great acting, and a series that piques your imagination. And this series isn't corny like No Ordinary Family and it doesn't turn into a huge soap opera like the Heroes series. By the way, another great series similar to this one is Alphas, that's the one I'm on to now!
"The 4400" has the possibility to become a series of almost "unlimited" access for the creative process. If they want they can make 4400 episodes, just to explain the destiny of each and every one of the "returnees". So far, in season one, only 5 episodes has been made, including the pilot, and it looks good. First seasons often suffer under the pressure of establishing the cast and the story.. 4400 does this very good. Even after 2 episodes you got the notion of the different roles and characters, and you get truly "engaged" in the series. I saw all 5 episodes in one night! According to the website of the series the next season are to be aired in the summer of 2005.. I can't wait!
The actors/ actresses do not portray true emotion and are void of feeling. I could not get pass the horrible acting by the lead character.
The special effects are sub-par and look extremely cartoonish. "The Langoliers" came to mind a few times during the special affects scenes.
The first episode, although 2 hours in length, was way too jumpy from scene to scene. They seemed to rush through the plot and jump right into the next problem but it does not work. It takes you away from getting into the story. ie, *SPOILERS* when they find a comet is going to hit earth, about 1 minutes later they have already synchronized nuclear missile attacks heading for the object. The ridiculously fast pace is garbage.
The little girl is like a fricken robot and gets very annoying by the end. Who acts like this!!??
The superhuman aspect is another great idea but comes off as too "comic book" and not realistic enough to believe when this series is supposed to be a serious drama/ suspense show.
The only positive things I have to say about this series is the interaction between 1. The 1979 business man and his old wife and 2. the inter-racial couple. They brought feeling into the story and made the "4400" experience seem more realistic and heart-wrenching. I waiting over 2 weeks to see this show and will not watch another episode. I almost shut the TV off toward the end because it never grabbed my attention. Maybe I am too over-critical, but for the hype it got, I was not sold.