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The 4400: Season 2 DVD Review

The 4400: Season 2

June 20, 2006

Director: Leslie Libman, Scott Peters, Douglas Petrie,
Starring: Peter Coyote, Bill Campbell, Joel Gretsch, Jacqueline McKenzie, Summer Glau, Chad Faust, Laura Allen, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali,

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DVD Review

When 4400 alien abductees return to earth just as mysteriously as they vanished, the Department of Homeland Security demands answers. But even more pressing than the concerns of the government are the experiences of the victims as they re-adjust to life on earth. Upon their return, these formerly missing persons lose all memory of what happened to them. Though they can’t remember where they’ve been, they are haunted by the knowledge that their experiences have changed them. Operating in a cloud of unknowns, the victims start to go through mysterious changes, gaining powers that they can’t always control.

Jokingly referred to as “Put Back,” due to its later scheduling to avoid being released too close to Steven Spielberg’s similar (and frankly superior) “Taken,” The 4400 somehow returns for a second season and is just the kind of po-faced science-fiction that gives science-fiction such a bad name. 4400 people are abducted by aliens over the last half century and are returned in present day, apparently unchanged but as we learned in series one: something fishy is going on. Why were these people abducted? What’s the purpose of their new powers? Do we care?

Not so much. There’s a sort of budget version of Mulder and Scully, investigating the 4400 and, gee, Agent Tom Baldwin’s son was one of the abductees! Then there’s a creepy little girl who can predict the future, a healer and most important of all, a baby conceived during the abduction which is “the key to what happened.” To top it all Baldwin’s son Kyle is having frequent blackouts and then a member of the 4400 is assassinated. Hmm. Despite the occasional guest star worth tuning in for (Summer Glau from Serenity, that Jeffrey Combs from The Frighteners) the problem with The 4400 is that it builds itself around a sci-fi concept and then sketches in cardboard characters as an afterthought. So we’re left with corny dialogue (“Let me get this straight…You met in a parellel world where you’ve been for the last eight years?”) and seen-it-all before conspiracy theories. Between The X-Files and Taken, The 4400 is about as necessary as a solar powered torch. Even if it had come before those shows, bad writing is bad writing. Even the special effects are “unspecial.” So what are we left with? A forgettable “power of the week” series that somehow has just begun a third season in America.

Not so much. There’s a sort of budget version of Mulder and Scully, investigating the 4400 and, gee, Agent Tom Baldwin’s son was one of the abductees! Then there’s a creepy little girl who can predict the future, a healer and most important of all, a baby conceived during the abduction which is “the key to what happened.” To top it all Baldwin’s son Kyle is having frequent blackouts and then a member of the 4400 is assassinated. Hmm.

Despite the occasional guest star worth tuning in for (Summer Glau from Serenity, that Jeffrey Combs from The Frighteners) the problem with The 4400 is that it builds itself around a sci-fi concept and then sketches in cardboard characters as an afterthought. So we’re left with corny dialogue (“Let me get this straight…You met in a parellel world where you’ve been for the last eight years?”) and seen-it-all before conspiracy theories. Between The X-Files and Taken, The 4400 is about as necessary as a solar powered torch. Even if it had come before those shows, bad writing is bad writing. Even the special effects are “unspecial.” So what are we left with? A forgettable “power of the week” series that somehow has just begun a third season in America.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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