Wednesday, October 18, 2006

REVIEW: The 4400 - series 3

The one where...We get an Adult Isabelle and like a club foot, it drags.

The American TV networks are a strange thing to behold. One the otherhand you have Firefly, a show beloved by fans and critically acclaimed, even by those who normally abhor the Whedonite cause (like me!) that gets cancelled half way though the first season. On the other, you get The 4400, with far from stratospheric ratings and mediocre reviews, now in it's third season with the fourth confirmed before the third had even finished.

This year should have been the end for many reasons. The major addition this year was Adult Isabelle, miraculously grown from a baby to late teen at the the end of last year through some sort of 4400 ability. Daughter of Lily and Richard, she'd been signposted as a Big Bad to come, being able to communicate and destroy from an early age IE birth. While played by the admittedly beautiful Megalyn Echikunwoke Isabelle is perhaps one of the most obnoxious characters ever created. Evil people should have charm and style, not throw tantrums and sulk. it wouldn't be so bad if she was played well; you can't lay all the blame at the feet of the writers but Ms Echikunwoke tries to act like the two year old person she technically, instead of giving her character a defined purpose.

Much of this year focuses on the characters and suffers because of it. Isabelle ponders her role in the coming war far too often and can't make up her damned mind which side she's going to be on. Despite the viewer knowing it way before the climax.Too much of what happens is signposted, too much is just bland. Matthew, Sean, Kyle...why should you care about them when they're just so boring! Matthew it turns out is an agent of the future and what do they do with him? NOTHING!

In the first two years this was an exciting program, you didn't know where it was going but it was good to watch them get there. This year you knew exactly where they were going and they took far too long about it. The entire middle third of the season could be excised and make a much better season. I actually stopped watching and only came back to it for want of something better to do - "What have they done to this program??!!" I cried.

In the final few episodes Jordan Collier returns from the dead and impacts like the Tunguskan Meteor. Boy did he save this series; he should have been bought back at least four episodes earlier and allowed to develop. Instead, he's in, he schemes, he's possibly Jesus Christ and he makes the program exciting once more but even for a season climax it's a damp squib.

The main stable of actors are satisfactory enough, Diana gets a new love interest, Maia is her normal great Child Actor Who Doesn't Annoy, Jeffrey Combs (he's got his own fan club dontchaknow) is one of the Sci-Fi alumni obviously and Summer Glau is now a semi-regular.

Final mark? Big disappointment. Must try harder. 5/10.

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