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The 4400: Season 2
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Actors: Chad Faust - Conchita Campbell - Jacqueline McKenzie - Joel Gretsch - Patrick John Flueger. Format: DVD. Format Size: Widescreen. Runtime: 560 Mins. Language: English. Region code: Region 1 (United States Canada Bermuda U.S. territories). Discs: 4. Rating: Unrated. Genre: TV. Release Year: 2004.
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Ever since the second season ended on TV, I've been scouring Amazon and Best Buy at least twice a month for the release date!
The second season of the 4400 begins a year after the events of season 1, not counting the small interlude with Richard and Lily in hiding, and Lily going into labor with her baby.
Since the end of season 1, Baldwin has been stuck behind a desk while Skouris, rotating through a number of incompetent partners, has made little to no progress investigating the 4400. Skouris is also adopting the clairvoyant girl Maia as her daughter, and Baldwin's son Kyle, out of his coma, has been in quaratine for the past year, much to his frustration. Jordan Collier, billionaire and 4400 member, is attempting to build a seperate nation or some such for the 4400, and he's not above breaking the law to do it. His search for Richard, Lily, and their six-month-old baby Isabelle also continues, while Richard & Lily are on the run from the US government, and zealots who believe the 4400 to be a harbinger of doom. The cast took a bit of a blow with the departure of Peter Coyote as boss Dennis Ryland, who was replaced by Samantha Ferris as the new boss, Nina Jarvis. Star Trek fans receive a bit of a treat this season with appearances by Jeffery Combs (DS9's Weyoun, Brunt & Enterprise's Shran) and Robert Picardo (Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram).
With the third season set to begin this summer (with Combs appearing in half of the episodes!), I'm eager to see the second season again, without commercials.
The 4400 is the best sci-fi series on TV these days, IMHO, since the loss of Star Trek: Enterprise and The X-Files, which is why I'm proud to add this set to my collection.
Twelve episodes make up the 2nd season, and they're 12 good hours to spend. :-)
But if you plan to spend summer watching reality shows, I pity you.
The answers to these and other questions are not all revealed in the second season, but we do get some ideas about who took the 4400 and why. I won't give it away in case any of you have not yet seen the series, but suffice to say that the answers are not the standard space opera stuff.
I didn't happen to catch the first season of this series when it was originally broadcast, so ended up watching seasons 1 and 2 back to back on DVD. This is, in many ways, the best way to see the shows for the first time, as seeing them all in sequence makes the plot more sensible and also aids in helping viewers speculate about what is actually behind the "takings." If you like to puzzle out mystery stories and also enjoy top-of-the-line science fiction, The 4400 is for you.
What I found fascinating (this was in the Return of the 4400 Featurette) is that Season 1 was a mini-series and that it wasn't certain if it would become a TV show. In fact, a writer mentioned that it wasn't supposed to come out that the 4400 were humans sent back from the future until Season 5 or so...about 100 episodes into it! So when The 4400 was given the green light for the production, the writers had to figure out how to proceed with the proverbial "cat already out of the bag".
Personally, I'm glad the cat was let out of the bag! I have felt strung along by the show LOST and stopped watching it. But at least with The 4400, you know what you're dealing with. HOWEVER, we don't know who, exactly, sent them back...and what their motives are!
While the plot lines are solid, the characters and relationships (and, of course, the writing) are what really makes this show stand out. Season 2 shows plot elements I've not seen elsewhere (Tom and his new love!) and compelling scenarios. My husband and I were so blown away by Season 2 (especially Mommy's Bosses) that we've re-started our satellite subscription just so we can see the premiere of Season 3 on June 11th on USA!
I wish there were more extras on the Season 2 Discs, but it was interesting to hear what inspired The 4400 (9/11) and Jacqueline McKenzie's (who plays Diana) accent. I would have never guessed in a million years that she was Australian based on her preformance on the show! What an amazing actress...
I also enjoyed the Stitch in Time Featurette featuring astrophysicists talking about wormholes and the spacetime continuum--and how time travel could be possible.
Despite not having a lot of extras, Season 2 is worth getting just for the compelling stories and acting. I thought LOST (used to) have great writing, as well as The Shield, but honestly...I believe The 4400 is better than both of those shows!
I missed seeing more of Jordan Collier (found out in the Featurette that Billy Campbell insisted on sailing on a tall ship as a crewman!), but the actors playing Kyle, Tom, and Shaun are top-notch. Kinda neat seeing Kaj Erik-Eriksen (who plays Danny, Shaun's brother). Remember him from The Commish?. He played Scali's son in that show.
P.S. The final scene is amazing. Interesting that Jordan Collier's initials are J.C...
The premise is that 4400 people have been disappeared over the last 80 years. They all return at the same time and place with no memory of having been gone and some have incredible powers--such as healing, esp and more.
Initially the public has a hard time with these returnees. They are frightened of their powers. Through the public relations efforts of a very wealthy 4400, Jordan Collier, the tide changes and a cult springs up around these gifted 4400's.
The first season was a mini-series consisting of the pilot and four episodes. This mini-series established the history of the 4400 and laid the groundwork for the episode formula--the focus of each episode is the two NTAC agents, Tom and Diana, who investigate issues resulting from an individual 4400. These two agents are also involved personally--Tom has a nephew who is a 4400 and Diana adopts a 4400 child. The series also focuses on the plight of a 4400 couple, Lily and Richard, and their possibly alien child Isabella who has many advanced, sometimes frightening, abililities.
The second season expanded to 12 episodes that continue to explore the ramifications of persons with these advanced abilities entering the population. The story unfolds in interesting and unexpected directions building to an excellent and surprising season finale. The actors are fairly good and all the regular actors settle into their roles by the second season. Patrick Flueger, who plays Shawn Ferrel, provides the most charismatic and relaxed performance.
If you are looking for an innovative Sci Fi program this is the one for you--highly recommended!
This season, however, is missing a lot of the heart that was previously there, and feels less moving.
One unfortunate change is that the bond between Diana and Maia -- the heroine and the young returnee she took in -- has been significantly strengthened. On the surface, that sounds like a good thing, but in execution, it's a different story. What was interesting about their relationship in Season 1 was the fact that there WAS a hint of a slight emotional gap between the two (hence Diana's skepticism), thus making it all the more gratifying whenever we saw them display affection. Now, after a year together, the two of them have been given a routine mother-daughter relationship -- a scenario that can be called realistic, but is ultimately far less interesting than before. This is complemented by the words "mommy" and "my daughter" being pushed into nearly every episode, which doesn't come across as touching, but forced. In short, their state at the end of Season 1 should have been maintained, not evolved. Maia and Diana shouldn't have been given this level of closeness until the end of the series, because in making things typical you naturally make them less fascinating.
Also unfortunate is that Maia herself has been made a lot more emotional this season. This could be called character development, but it's a development that makes for a less interesting character than the unusually collected, almost apathetic figure from Season 1. It's also confusing that, after so much devotion to them last season, not only does Shawn not see Nikki, but he barely ever refers to her (odd because a situation in the second half here would have lent itself well to a reunion).
On the positive side, there's a very notable character-driven episode devoted to Tom called "Life Interrupted," which presents an intriguing if somewhat absurd scenario. Also notable is the establishment of Kyle's character this season, his bond with his cousin Shawn, and the addition of Alana.
The problem I found with the ongoing story line is that it feels like the show is desperately searching for direction, as though, already, there's barely anyplace left to go. A lot of what happens this season, to me, feels irrelevant and of little consequence -- from Richard and Lily on the run to the escapades of Jordan, Shawn, and their "4400 Center." This lack of consequence is why the occurrence of an event around the middle of the season comes off as a bit confusing. The show tries to include some of what worked previously (and should work now) by bringing in guest 4400s whose actions stir up trouble or controversy. However, this season we have scenarios like a 4400 who wants to build a strange monument, or a 4400 teacher who can increase her students' abilities. When one compares that to the sympathetic plight of Orson Bailey, the deranged Oliver Knox, or the vengeance of two mad brothers, the storytelling here just isn't as interesting as it was in Season 1, and neither are the antagonists.
What does manage to intrigue is the story with Kyle, though questions surrounding it still remain at the end.
First of all (and this is admittedly of minimal importance, but still...), the very look of the show seems to be slightly altered. I don't know the technical terms for the styles of film, but the first season had a more appropriate down-to-earth, up-close-and-personal look, while the second, right from the start, has a more detached, almost movie-like appearance. It becomes increasingly apparent, though, that the special effects have improved.
Some very nice episode commentaries with cast and crew are included.
Season 2 of 'The 4400' is at times well done, but just a bit lacking when compared to the first. Still a good show though.
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