Monday, August 28, 2006

The 4400: Season Three

Monday, August 28, 2006
Man, what a disappointment this season of The 4400 has been. This is a show that is nothing but unrealized potential. From the first episode where the concept of all of the "alien abductees" over the past fifty years being returned at once and with strange abilities the show had the potential to be something special. The distrust the United States government has and the rise of a charismatic leader organizing the 4400 returnees had the makings of a great conflict and the end of the short first season gave me hope. My hope was never realized. Is it possible that in three seasons nothing really happened? Jordan Collier had this great vision for the 4400 and he was assassinated midway through season two. Up until this point the show was starting to build and improve and right after it happened The 4400 fell apart. It was followed by several one-off episodes that did not advance a storyline and the murder of Collier was never truly built upon. Sure, Shawn (the healer) took over but it never amounted to much. Richard and Lily's daughter Isabel, the one with the mysterious powers as an infant...well she grew up in a flash of light for the start of the third season and she has these amazing powers but also has the intellectual development of a child so she knows all these concepts but doesn't really grasp them and is very petulant. Season Three promised this big war, the Us versus Them mentality of the 4400 vs the Government. It never materialized. There were hints of the conflict to come and Shawn was having visions of a future war with Isabel at the center and Jordan was somehow alive and later preaching about the war and knowing how to save the future, and the show did nothing with it.

Obviously, if I truly knew better and could write I would be working on the show rather than sitting in front of a computer complaining about it, but as a viewer and the target audience, I suppose it is my right to feel let down when a program doesn't deliver the promised goods. The 4400 could go in any direction, but we knew from the final episode of season two, nay the final shot of the final episode, that Jordan was still alive. We don't see him again until at least three quarters of the way through the third season. The entire ending was rushed and the hint of the "war" or conflict didn't even come through until the very last episode. Really, Jordan could have returned at the halfway point and there could have been a solid build towards the war and then the final three episodes could have been the real conflict, the Big Finish that has been promised and hinted at but never delivered.

Instead, nothing. There is enough for a fourth season as the show sets up the expansion of Jordan's plan but this time the producers do not even bothering promising something special or amazing, just more of the same. More one-off episodes with the hint of an ongoing storyline that will not reward the viewer for sticking around.

On the plus side the show has given a job to Summer Glau (River from Firefly) with a recurring role as one of the 4400 with a mind control ability, so there is one positive to the program.

Will I watch Season Four if it is broadcast? Probably. There is little original programming during the summer and I keep hoping like a mindless drone that the show will deliver on the potential it still has but is losing rapidly.

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