Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The 4400: Reboot Pilot

It debuted four years after Lost, but it predated Manifest, La Brea, The Returned (both French and English versions) and most of the other series in the where-the-heck-are-we-where-the-Hell-have-you-been-did-you-miss-me-while-we-were-gone genre, by several years. It lasted four seasons and lent itself well to distinctive title graphics, so it makes sense Rene Echevarria & Scott Peters’ science fiction franchise would get a new treatment—and here it is. The pilot episode of Anna Fricke & Ariana Jackson’s rebooted The 4400 premieres this coming Monday on the CW.

One moment Shanice is driving to work and the next thing she knows, she is falling from the sky, landing in a Detroit park with several hundred other people. It is sixteen years later, but she doesn’t know that yet. Apparently, many of her fellow drop-ins came from further in the past and at least one influencer came from about 2015. She will find her followers and likes are down drastically.

The super-helpful Federal government collects them in a downtown hotel and bring a local probation officer and a bleeding-heart social worker to conduct interviews. This really doesn’t make sense, especially considering how psychologists must be on staff at the DOD, VA, and DOJ, even if the P.O.’s lover is the FBI agent in charge. However, it turns out Jharrrel Mateo, the social worker, has a personal reason for taking the case. He also quickly proves to be slightly less than vigilant when Shanice escapes, thanks to the help of teenaged Mildred, who suddenly exhibits telekinetic abilities. She is not the only one with strange new powers.

The reboot pilot is a workmanlike introduction to its big puzzle-box macguffin, but its closing cliffhanger is not nearly as grabby as this [very] loose sub-genre requires. So far, it just can’t compete with Netflix’s
Dark or any of the aforementioned shows. Janice Cook’s direction is professional, but it lacks a sense of ominous mystery. However, Joseph David-Jones is a clear standout as Mateo, supplying the kind of intensity the show needs more of. Also, Jaye Ladymore and TL Thompson already add some intriguing depth as a Civil Rights-era preacher’s wife and a Harlem Renaissance doctor.

This being a CW show, there is a long eye-rolling love-fest for RGB. Now that they’re in 2021, they should check out ABC, who in contrast, has a judicial philosophy rather than a collection of political positions. Regardless,
The 4400 pilot will hold most viewers’ attention for an hour, but it faces a lot of superior competition for their continuing time and loyalty. Just okay (and very much like a lot of other things), The 4400 reboot pilot airs Monday night (10/25) on the CW.