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My latest trade was for the first and second seasons of The 4400. This series made quite a splash in the states, just prior to Lost, and has enjoyed consistently high ratings over three seasons. Originally a mini-series, The 4400 ended up being so popular it managed to score a second season of 13 episodes.

What makes The 4400 such a cool show is how it manages to have the weird mystery element that keeps people turning to Lost, the complex “Big Picture” idea unfolding, and that missing element that Lost needs – well-paced progression.

What took Lost 26 episodes to get to, 4400 manages to do in six.

The basic premise of The 4400 is as follows:

When a comet that is meant to go on a flyby of Earth changes course and heads towards the planet, the world goes into a bit of a panic. Slowing down, the comet reveals itself to be a glowing ball of light, which lands at a lakeside outside of Seattle. The light vanishes, leaving behind 4400 people who had gone missing over the last sixty years.

These “Returnees” at first are welcomed back until the National Security force realises that some of them have been returned … changed.

Tom Baldwin, an NTAC agent whose son was there when one of the 4400 was originally abducted and went into a coma because of it, is teamed up with Diana Skouris – an ex-CDC agent who has now joined NTAC. They are tasked with learning the truth behind the 4400, while Tom secretly hopes to find out what happened to his nephew (one of the 4400) and his comatose son.

From that premise, the 4400 manages to expand out into a very complex and intriguing storyline. The characters are well thought-out and the choice of camera work (reminiscent of Collateral’s style) makes everything look that little bit more gritty.

One of the first secrets you learn in the pilot episode is that some of the 4400 seem to have innate powers. Suddenly what at first appears to be an x-files rip-off becomes a gritty supers series. Then, just when you are getting comfortable with the “super of the week” feel of the series, they drop a bombshell of a revelation on you. This revelation then changes the course of the series.

And that is probably 4400’s greatest strength. The creators are not afraid to change the world. The series is in constant progession. To date every episode has pushed the storyline along and some new revelation has helped to slowly reveal a bigger picture.

When I first watched this show I thought it seemed a bit patchy – but having watched it all now, I can see that it is a very clever show that is leading somewhere. It manages to avoid being cliched – despite having many cliched tropes (the creepy girl, the spooky baby, The Messiah-complex guy…) it does these well and uses them as sign posts for the viewers – cues to let you know where the show is going without spoiling any of the surprises as it moves along.

All in all, this is one fantastic series.

Two thumbs up!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: The Reality Dysfunction
Currently Playing: Exalted: The Seventh Legion
Mood: Still thinking about things in general…

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