The 4400 Not Coming Back: Its Cancelled

Posted by: Jerrica

You’ve probably heard already, but in case you haven’t, USA’s science fiction wonderland “The 4400” has been cancelled. The show was a blend of “X-Men” and “X-Files” with 4400 people taken by the future, given the potential for extraordinary abilities, and seeded back into the timeline of the present to change the bleak events to come. Many fans of the NBC smash hit “Heroes” were also fans of “The 4400,” and many draw several parallels between characters, stories, plot, and concepts of both shows, some even claiming “The 4400” as a big influence of “Heroes,” and some sci-fi/superhero rivalry even passes between the two fandoms.

No matter what you thought, “The 4400” was pure sci-fi, some including myself would argue one of the best sci-fi shows in a long time. The drama of following Tom Baldwin and his partner Diana Skouris through their lives and trials mixed up with the enigmatic returnees. Fans hung on waiting to see what would come of Jordan Collier and Tom’s son, Kyle, and his nephew, Shawn, but now the future is left at a precipice that viewers will never be able to cross. The Season Four finale marked as far into the future as we will ever be able to see, apparently. Some NTAC workers gained abilities of their own and Seattle was cleaning up from the mess of Promicin spreading like a virus. Shawn lost his mother and brother in the same day, and Isabelle Tyler gave her life to let Collier take the lead, and he ends up on top of the city with Kyle by his side. And last but not least, Kyle told Tom that it was time for him to take the shot. This seems like a great place to leave off in some ways, especially with Seattle being eemingly reclaimed by the P positives and renamed Promise City, which would fit with Collier’s foretelling of the last city with walls that shelter what’s left of civilization from the wasteland the world might become.

Many have started and signed petitions to save the show, but it’s unlikely USA will give the show a stay of execution. “The 4400” was good enough that the chopping block was bound to come along before its time to go, especially with a writers strike in effect and threatening the television waves as we know them. If it hadn’t been now, this cancellation may have come in a few months when production would have been held up too long to get the show on the air for USA’s all-new summer season, as networks continue to toss quality programming aside to bring you the next generation of “American Gladiators.” Jordan Collier might as well have been forecasting the future of television! Because if all the loss of good shows (some permanently, such as “The 4400”), a barren and uninviting wasteland is precisely what TV will become. I’m very sorry to see “4400” go. Great sci-fi television is so hard to come by these days, and “4400” always packed better material and more of it into seasons that were half as many episodeslong as most shows get so they can lead absolutely nowhere. (Can’t they cancel “Lost” while network execs on the redlight rampage?)

The worst part is not having the closure that was so promising on “4400.” This is always the most troubling part. But since the last season finale was in September, and the cancellation came so suddenly so recently, killing the show might not have been the plan, even if it has ended up that way. Still, fans are most disillusioned when shows just hit a dead stop all of a sudden, particularly with a lead-in, story-arc, or cliffhanger that is waiting to be continued, picked up, or rescued. Why can’t studios have backup plans and allow shows one more episode or a two-hour series finale when something like this happens? The studio could consider it a courtesy to the fans, who will remember that the show was allowed to end well and even have an ending, as opposed to trailing off into the unknown on the brink of a new dawn. That’s the kind of gesture that would be appreciated if networks ever cared to think of their viewers in such a way, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of finding shows I lov and enjoy cut down without even being allowed a last stand. It’s like cutting off “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” right after they move to Bolivia; it cheapens something that was going somewhere significant to end powerfully and with meaning, and that’s just not right.

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