The 4400 (2004) - The Complete Series
|Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Science Fiction|
|Paramount || NR - 1938 minutes - $99.98 || October 28, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-11-19|
Writer(s): Scott Peters (creator)
Cast: Jacqueline McKenzie, Joel Gretsch, Patrick Flueger, Conchita Campbell, Chad Faust, Richard Kahan
Comment on this and other movies on the message board!
[Portions of this review have been taken from the Season Four Review I did several months back]
The First Season arrived on the USA Network in the form of a 5 part mini-series and was an instant hit. The show starts with an interesting twist - we are greeted with the brief stories of several individuals - all from different time periods - who are abducted. One night, seemingly out of nowhere, 4,400 of these people are returned to earth no memory of what happened. For some, they have been gone only a few years and for others, decades have gone by and they not aged at all. The season tends to explore the history of these characters, their fight to find (and hopefully rebuild) their long lost family, and figure out what exactly happened to them. **** / *****
The Second Season sets the stage for the rest of the series by introducing several new characters or improving on those that were lacking from the previous season. Shawn, one of the returnees and Tom's nephew, leaves his home to live in the 4400 center led by Jordan Collier. Lily, Richard and their new Baby make a run for it to escape from Collier as they believe he is going to harm their supernatural baby. Tom and Diana continue their investigations on several 4400's that have developed powers all while Kyle, Tom's son, has blackouts about what he is doing. The Season ends with a huge shock - which I won't reveal - that makes the Third Season a bit difficult for several characters. Overall this is the best Season of the show as the actors become a bit more comfortable with their characters and USA gave them the freedom to explore a bit more. ****¼ / *****
The Third Season is incredibly dark compared to the previous two and eventual fourth and final season. Still living off the shock of the Third Season, Richard has some tough decisions to make with his daughter and one of the main characters from the start is killed off (poor decision). We are then introduced to a group that calls themselves NOVA, which is made up of 4400's that will take out anything that is considered a threat against them. This marks the return of own of my favorite characters, Jordan, and his god-like approach at humanity. This is considered one of the weakest seasons of the show and I have to agree with that. ***¼ / *****
The Fourth, and final Season of "The 4400" is definitely an improvement over the much darker Season Three, but still not anything as good as Seasons One and Two. Most of this Season deals with the once leader of the 4400 Center, Jordan Collier (Billy Campbell), now assuming an almost cult-like role by doling out the drug Promicin. Promicin is essentially a drug that can give someone a 50/50 chance of either gaining some sort of special ability like a 4400 or killing them. While many questions are answered, we are still left with many unresolved due to the cancellation. A wrap-up movie has been discussed before, but at this point it does not look like it's going to happen. ***½ / *****
If you have never seen any episodes of the 4400 (or caught a few here and there like I did originally) I'd recommend purchasing the entire series. It's a great Sci-Fi show and The Complete Series is offered at a very fair price and comes packed with everything from the individual releases as well as a new Bonus DVD packed full of brand-new features. Much like a show that came out around the shows demise, "Heroes", it’s a fairly serialized show that I found to be a great watch.
The Four Seasons in the Complete Series Set use the exact same discs from the previous individual releases so they maintain the exact same features as before (several episode commentaries, featurettes and gag reels).
As a bonus to those buying The Complete Series Set, a new disc has been included with even more additional features that will make any "4400" fan run out and buy it.
The packaging is a bit of a disappointment to me because each disc is held in a plastic book-like case where you "flip" each page and are presented with two discs. This becomes a tedious chore after a while and the quality makes me think that even a small fall from the shelf may result in shattered trays. An outer slip case is included the house the plastic cook like casing.
Video Introduction by series creator Scott Peters - A very somber clip where Scott goes into details on the shows cancellation and other interesting tidbits. Worth a watch.
Commentary by Scott Peters and Joel Gretsch on the Pilot - This was recorded after the show was canceled and gives a good look back at the first episode and the direction as to where they wanted to take the show.
Commentary by Ira Baer & Craig Sweenny on The Great Leap Forward - With a commentary for the first episode...one for the final should be included as well, right?
The 4400: The Ghost Season - A really good feature on the shows first season and how some of their ideas for the show were implemented.
Promicin: The Moral Choice - Some commercials for the fictional drug Promicin.
Deleted Scenes (Seasons 1, 2, & 3) - Nothing that great, mostly stuff cut for running time as USA Network has strict guidelines on how long each episode should be.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
All four seasons are presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Picture Quality is much cleaner now on DVD then what was originally shown on TV. Each Season pretty much looks the same with the exception of Season One which was a little bit murkier in color.
Each season includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 track. The 5.1 track has a huge feel to it but since the episodes are very dialog driven, don't except much coming out of the rear speakers. I did notice a few spots where dialog was a bit tinny, but it quickly faded away. Nothing amazing, but it’s much better than what was broadcast.
The 4400 is an interesting Sci-Fi should that is definitely worth the price of admission. While it tends to get a bit dull towards the end... it’s still a worthy purchase. Paramount has gone all out for this set and with a pretty low MSRP makes this a perfect choice for yourself or Holiday gift for any Sci-Fi fan.