4400 Series Premiere: Missing Man Formation
As much guff as I give Hollywood for its love of endless reboots, I don’t actually mind it that much. I don’t want nothin’ but reboots, but they’re not all bad. (I say, controversially.) Really, I think of them like song covers. The best of them can illuminate the original material, making you connect with it in a way you didn’t before. (See also: Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt.” Or Jimi Hendrix doing “All Along the Watchtower.”) And even if they don’t reach those heights, they can still be entertaining. So with that in mind, I checked out the series premiere of 4400. Then I checked out another episode, just to be sure.
4400 Is…So Many People
As I just alluded, 4400 (airing on The CW) is a reboot (of the USA series The 4400). However, I was and am still only vaguely aware of the original series. Basically, all I know is missing people came back. Is it aliens? Government stuff? A massive time travel cult? Don’t know.
What I do know, though, is that’s exactly the framework with which we begin this reboot. The show first introduces us to Shanice Murray (Brittany Adebumola), an attorney living in 2005. She’s just going back to work after maternity leave when she goes missing. And she’s literally going back to work when she goes missing–she’s in her car when she sees a bright green flash.
image via The CW
The next thing Shanice knows, she’s at Belle Isle, a park in Detroit, with 4399 other people. All of them are confused about where they are and how they got there. Unlike Shanice, many of them aren’t from Detroit. And all of them are from different points in time.
Almost immediately, the government rolls in and scoops them all up. Corralling them at a hotel, the government agents (and especially the guards) treat the group as hostile. At the very least, they’re acting as if this is a massive security threat. And maybe it is, because no one, including the returned, knows what the heck happened.
What they do know, however, is that some of them have come back with some fancy new powers. Mildred (Autumn Best), for instance, is now telekinetic. Claudette (Jaye Ladymore) heals almost instantly. And Noah (Theo Germaine) can influence people with song. Strangely enough, his power doesn’t work on the rest of the 4400–only us boring people who didn’t go unstuck in time.
4400 Series Premiere
For the purposes of evaluation, I watched the first two episodes, “Past Is Prologue” and “All Things Are Possible.” Sometimes, with things like the Chucky TV show premiere, it’s easy to get the gist from one episode. He’s a doll, he kills people.
However, with a show like this, obviously the narrative is a bit more complicated. So once I watched the pilot, I didn’t feel as if I had enough information yet. We had just barely begun to dig into the story, after all. In fact, in the pilot, we mostly get Shanice’s story, with brief glimpses of others.
Watching the second episode, though, it’s clear that the show intends to parcel out information about other characters, both the missing and the not, as it goes. This includes social worker Jharrel Mateo (Joseph David-Jones). The returned draw his interest not only as a social worker, but as a person, because his brother has also gone missing. Jharrel’s brother isn’t part of the 4400, but there are hints that at least one or more of them had or have some contact with him.
image via The CW
And that mystery is the kind of thing that will keep me coming back. So is the social aspect, for that matter. It’s no coincidence that so many of the 4400 are folks who didn’t exactly have the easiest path during their lives and times. It’ll be interesting to see what has gotten better for them in 2021 and what hasn’t.
On that note, let’s talk about some of the weaker aspects of the first two episodes. The dialogue, for example, can be a little unnatural. Further, I struggled with the super-aggression of the guards. It both seems realistic, as I’ve seen how police react to certain kinds of protests, and a little cartoonish.
Again, though, I’ve seen only two episodes, so there’s still time for the show to really find its groove. It’s pretty good so far, but I can’t wait to see where the future takes it.
4400 is now airing on The CW on Monday nights.
Did you check out the 4400 series premiere? Tell us what you thought on our social media or in these comments.
featured image via The CW
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]