Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Can't Go Home Again

Series: The 4400; season 2 (2005)
Setting: Mostly in and around Seattle; contemporary, 2005-2006.

Did I even mention that I'd watched season 1 of this show? It's a very interesting premise, from the middle 1940's until the early 21st century, 4400 people were abducted from all around the world, only to be returned to Earth on August 14th 2004. None of these people had aged a day, and after there return some started to develop special powers. The reason why only some developed powers, and not all, is one of several major mystery's explored in the second season. The big mystery reveled in the truncated mini-series like first season, was that the 4400 had not been abducted not by aliens, but rather by future humans who wanted to use them to stave off some kind of disaster that threatened the future of the planet. In terms of show structure this paved the way for everything, even the most minor seeming of subplots, to prove over the course of a few episodes, to be intemently connected to some vast future plan. Thus there isn't a lot of filler on The 4400.

The major characters on the show are two agents for the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, that has been tasked with monitoring the 4400, largely because they reappeared near its Seattle headquarters, and most have chosen (for an unknown reason) to remain in that general area. Tom Baldwin (Joel Gretsch, who was just excellent as a very different character in the somewhat similar Taken), is a former FBI agent now NTAC operative whose son Kyle (Chad Faust) was left in a comma for three years after witnessing the abduction of his best friend and cousin Shawn Farrell (Patrick Flueger). Diana Skouris (Jacqueline McKenzie, who is very attractive in this role), is Tom's partner and a former CDC employee (shades of X-Files). The primary 4400's that are featured in most every episode are Maia Rutledge (Conchita Campbell) a little girl abducted in 1946 who can now see the future, Richard Tyler (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) a black fighter pilot taken from 1951 Korea, and Lily Moore Tyler (Laura Allen, who looks like a cross between Sherlyn Fenn and Kristin Bell) a 1993 abductie who returns miraculously pregnant with Richards child, who turns out to be a disturbingly powerful little lady.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the show is the way it deals with religion. Jordon Collier (Bill Campbell) a powerful young real estate tycoon abducted in 2002, starts a Scientology type group called The 4400 Center upon his return. This group believes that the 4400's powers come from the simple unlocking of parts of the brain we don't normally use, and that everyday Jane's and Joe's can be taught to develop such powers through a seven staged (or seven key'd) process they must pay to learn. While Jordan has no powers of his own, he eventually finds a powerful portage in Tom's nephew Shawn, who has the power to heal any illness. Anyway I watched this shows second season while also watching the current 6th season of 24, and well, this stuff is better.

Factoid: Actor JefLinkfery Combs, DS9's Wayone, has a recurring role as an eccentric neuro-scientist.


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