Carl's Netflix Review #6

The 4400 (season 1)
4/5 stars

The 13-episode-season is one of the few good trends happening in television (reality programming and talent shows of the average joe/celebrity kind being a couple of the worst and most tired). Viewers are treated with rich storylines that run for the 13 episodes, and in most cases -- because these programs are on cable -- it's hard to miss a week when a show is repeated almost every day. The doldrums of summer repeats is subsiding.

HBO invented this practice and now FX, TNT and USA are moving forward with it -- and with success.

I'm not sure how I heard about The 4400. I saw somewhere that the third season was to premier last week, so I decided now would be a good time to Netflix the DVD's and play catch-up. I'm always willing to give a science fiction program a look.

The 4400 is the poor man's X-Files, which I suppose is better than no x-Files at all. In the pilot episode, 4400 people who were thought to have been abducted an disappeared over the last 50 years all of a sudden return in the mountains of Seattle. The show follows the stories of these 4400 "returnees" and the federal investigators who are trying to figure it all out. Your average show consists of a few storylines:

1) Investigation of the week: It seems that each of the 4400 has also gained some special powers since they were away. Usually every week someone ends up dead and it's up to Federal investigators Tom and Diane to solve a crime.

2) The pregnant girl and her boyfriend who also happened to be her grandmother's boyfriend because he's from 1951 and she's from 1991: Her baby might be the second coming of Christ or something. She can sense its feelings while still in the womb. Season one ends with them on the way to the hospital.

3) Boring Billy and his brother's boink-able girlfriend: This is the most annoying subplot. Billy -- I think his character name is actually Seth -- can heal things just by touching them. How Carnivale. He can also suck life out of people by the same method, if he's pissed. For some reason his younger brother's hot girlfriend is immediately attracted to him upon his return (she was 14 when he disappeared, now she's 17). He's conflicted, but he's also horny and they have sex.

4) Federal agent Tom's son Kyle: He was with Billy/Seth -- his cousin -- when Seth was abducted. Kyle went into a coma instead. In the season one finale, it turns out whatever/whoever was behind the abductions was using his body as a ways of communicating with modern-day people. Too bad he took a three year nap.

The writing is pretty atrocious and the sexual chemistry between Tom and Diane is pretty forced, but I can't stop watching -- and I can't help from giving it four stars. Peter Coyote is the biggest name in the cast.

Despite all this I'm liking it. If you're bored of what's on TV in the summer, and miss the X-Files enough to want to see a shadow of what it used to be, check out The 4400.


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