Spinning wheel of confused TV reboots lands on 4400 – Reason.com


4400. The CW. Monday October 25, 9 p.m.

As the fall TV season rollout finally draws to a close, let’s take a moment to consider an obscure asterisk from TV’s hazy past. The 4400, which aired from 2004 to 2007 on USA Network, was a bizarre sci-fi show with a small but fanatic audience, notable mostly for its does not have develop in. Made by American Zoetrope, production company Francis Ford Coppola-George Lucas, it was meant to spearhead a wave of original and imaginative new TV shows from that company.

Instead, low ratings, budget issues, scheduling difficulties, and finally a writers’ strike seemingly convinced American Zoetrope that making movies or even grinding lighted cigarettes in his own flesh was better than the crazy way of television. The 4400 gone, and only one more set – surely you remember Mozart in the jungle– has never been received from the company.

Not that The 4400 did not have a certain agility in his approach. The premise of the show was that 4,400 people missing in the second half of the 20th century suddenly found themselves wandering around Tacoma, Wash., With no idea what happened to them or what happened to them. the way they got there. A few of them seemed to have some sort of superpowers. Alien anal poll, are you interested? Nope. It turns out that they were time traveling janissaries from the future, sent to prevent a catastrophic event; but there were also moles among them, who were fighting to overthrow the mission. The Writers Guild’s 100-day strike in 2007 ended the series without ever resolving what happened.

Fast forward 14 years and we come to 4400, the imaginatively renamed CW remake of American Zoetrope’s Disorder. It’s unclear exactly why anyone would want to remake a show that didn’t have a lot of audiences and revolved around a now-compromised surprise gadget, although the CW has done much weirder things this past. fall. (And to hear some fans say it, The CW isn’t even the first network to remake The 4400.)

Because The CW only did the pilot episode of 4400 available, it’s unclear exactly where the show might be heading. Sometimes it’s soggy and silly, sometimes very insightful; sometimes a politically correct mass, sometimes a strange wasp. One thing that seems certain is that he is much more in the ideological phase than his predecessor. The original version certainly had a political bent, but only in a broad, traditionally sci-fi way: ruthless totalitarians are bad, smiling anti-totalitarians are good.

The new show is much more specifically tied to the awakened politics of 2021. The 4,400 missing persons who show up (in Detroit, not Tacoma) are not randomly selected, as they were in the first iteration. They are predominantly black and come from the ranks of the victims of history. Dr. Andre (Broadway actor TL Thompson) was a transgender man during the Harlem Renaissance, long before the term “gender fluidity” made sense. Claudette (Jaye Ladymore, Chicago PD) was a black activist from Mississippi in the dangerous Freedom Summers of the 1960s. Shanice (Brittany Adebumola, Netflix Great Army) was a leftist lawyer in the early 1990s, regularly seen at “no blood for oil” protests.

While the newly resurfaced people tend to see America as a strait-jacket police state (the book is circulating: Trotsky for beginners), their reception in 4400 only encourages him. They are not greeted by happy parents but by scowling police officers, who lock them up (Charges? We don’t need stinky charges!) in a hotel, not even in the rooms, but in the lobby. When Claudette, seeking to relieve boredom, bangs a rendition of Little Richard Lucille on the lobby piano, the cops screwed her up. Joint custodians — Constable Jharrel (Joseph David-Jones, Arrow) and social worker Keisha (Ireon Roach, the 2021 edition of Candy) —Are like good / bad cops in prison.

Returnees who manage to escape captivity to visit their families sometimes find their greetings at home not much friendlier. Shanice’s husband and daughter (a bubbly schoolgirl when she left, now a brooding teenager) bitterly regard her as a runaway mother who didn’t even leave a note when she disappeared. Give credit to 4400The authors of to be prepared to step away from the message at times, to abandon politics and consider the practical consequences of unintentional time travel. One of the funniest exchanges is an argument about Ruth Bader Ginsburg going from respectful RIP to are you-idiot? the retorts of those who disappeared decades before the Supreme Court had women. Not to mention the perplexed and semi-disdainful taunts of Claudette with all the acid complains of a particular series of police confiscations: “You all have a really surprising attachment to phones now. “Times like this make me think 4400 can avoid being crushed by the predictability of his political affections or his possibly exhausted conspiracy device.

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