24 January 2011

"The 4400" The Complete First Season

The 4400 The Complete First Season
Starring: Joel Gretcsh, Jaqueline McKenzie, Mahershalalhasbaz Ali, Patrick Flueger, Chad Faust, Laura Allen, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Brooke Nevin and Peter Coyote
Created by Scott Peters & René Echevarria
List Price: $19.99
5 episodes, 256 minutes

All I had to hear about The 4400 to become interested were the names Rene Echevarria, Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Ira Steven Behr: three of the key writers of Deep Space Nine. The five episodes here introduce the premise (that 4400 people were abducted over a period of about 60 years and all returned en masse without having aged a day since their disappearances). Along the way, we're privy to some interesting social commentary--this was at the height of the Bush administration, the PATRIOTAct, etc.--and story arcs that immediately began to evolve and sprawl before our eyes (something that we DS9 fans found quite familiar). These first five episodes are structured more like a mini-series (which is all the show was at the time of production) and gorging is easily the way to go here.

As for the DVD release, Paramount gave us no extra content at all; not even a promo ad for the series. Each episode opens with a recap of previous plot threads, which may have made sense for weekly, over-the-air broadcast but is extraneous on DVD. Shaving off these four recaps would probably have reduced the entire season to just over four hours and one wonders why Paramount didn't just go that route and fit all five episodes on one disc. At least they didn't present it as a flipper disc!

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