During the past century, thousands of people have gone missing. When 4400 of them return all at once unharmed and looking the same as when they disappeared, the government investigates, unsure of how this can be possible. What the government does not know is that the presence of these 4400 will change the human race in many unexpected ways.
, which began as a five-week miniseries on the USA Network, is built around a deceptively simple, dramatically rich premise. What if all the people, who had ever been abducted by aliens, were suddenly returned to Earth? What would happen? Although they look exactly as they did when they left, they have no knowledge of where they were or why they were taken. Now some even have special powers, like clairvoyance. As with ABC's Lost
, which centers on the survivors of a plane crash, The 4400
features a large cast of characters and a host of mysteries to be solved. If the special effects, which are kept to a minimum, can be a little cheesy at times, the concept--and the skillful execution of the concept--easily makes up for it.
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope and created by Scott Peters (The Outer Limits), The 4400 is set in Seattle, where the 4400 are returned. The principal characters include Dennis Ryland (Peter Coyote of E.T.), the local supervisor of Homeland Security. He's joined by agents Tom Baldwin (Joel Gretsch of Taken), whose nephew was one of the returnees, and Diana Skouris (Jacqueline McKenzie of Romper Stomper), who takes in one of the youngest returnees.
Guest stars include Michael Moriarty (Law and Order) in "Pilot" and Lee Tergeson (Oz) in "Becoming." Billy Campbell (Once and Again) also appears in several episodes as Jordan Collier, a real-estate magnate and returnee who becomes an advocate for others like himself, many of whom are having problems adjusting to a changed world. Like Lost, one of the biggest success stories of 2004, The 4400 debuted to strong ratings and was renewed for a full season. --Kathleen C. Fennessy