I was looking at my DVD shelf the other day and realised I’ve had The 4400 series 4 on DVD since Woolworths went out of business, which is getting on for 9 years now, and I’ve still not watched it.
So I’ve been rewatching the whole series. The first two series are solidly entertaining, with a good balance of series arc stuff and freak of the week stories. The notion of ripple effects from the actions of the 4400 is interesting and well explored.
I’m in series 3 now and it’s had a marked drop in quality. The big problem is Isabelle. Previously an Omen-esque fetus and baby, she’s rapidly aged up to her late 20s for series 3 and it becomes much less interesting, as we get a load of “I’ve not experienced a normal life, have missed out on so many things” stuff. The positioning of her as an anti-messiah figure set up to kill the 4400 is just really dull and the character of Matthew Ross is completely changed out of the blue to facilitate it (previously a pragmatic sceptic, he becomes conspiring and overly knowledgeable about the 4400 and the politics of the future).
And for some reason, starting with this season, the DVD producers have decided to put a recap of the entire premise of the series on the front of every single episode. As if someone’s going into episode 10 of series 3 and still hasn’t picked up the gist of things yet.
ETA: one thing that’s stuck out through this is the very post-9/11 themes. People being arrested as terrorists (“you do not have the right to a lawyer, you do not have the right to remain silent”), waterboarding interrogation, no mention ever of warrants.