Thursday, December 21, 2006

What I’m Watching:
TV Series Returning Next Year (part three)

The 4400

Before there were Heroes, there were The 4400. This series started as a six-part miniseries. In that miniseries, 4400 “abductees” from over the years (starting in the twenties, I think) were returned to America all at once without aging a single minute. Immediately, these people are quarantined and a government agency is set up to deal with the “returnees,” many of whom no longer have any surviving family members or whose families have moved on after assuming their loved one had somehow perished. Soon after their return, many of the 4400 started exhibiting special powers and abilities. Tom Baldwin and his partner Diana Skouris work for the newly formed government agency and are sent out to deal with the “freak of the week” aspects of the show. But they’re involved too. Tom’s son Kyle was with one of the returnees (his cousin Shawn Farrell) when he was abducted and has been in a coma ever since). Diana winds up adopting Maia, a young clairvoyant from the 20s. The lives of other 4400s interweave throughout the series. Questions permeated the original miniseries. Who abducted these people? Why were they returned? How did they get their abilities? Why were they given abilities? At the end of the miniseries, we discovered that humans “from the future” had abducted the 4400 and had returned them to avert some future catastrophe. We still don’t know what that catastrophe is or how it comes about and there is some speculation now that re-introducing the 4400 back into the earth’s population might be what causes the catastrophe. We can only watch to discover more.

The show was picked up as a series and then ran for two seasons until it went on hiatus at the end of this past summer. But it’s been picked up for a fourth season (they apparently count the miniseries as a short first season). The 4400 deals brilliantly with issues of the day in a way that has elicited comparisons to The X-Men. The characters are rich and invested in the increasingly interweaving political aspects of the world in which they live and, when it’s running new episodes, I consider it a much-watch, edge-of-your-seat show. Not so much for Lori, but it’s pretty high up there on the geek-o-meter for me. Check it out on USA (check local listings for times).

No comments: