According to this message board post by creator-executive producer Scott Peters, the USA Network has pulled the plug on The 4400. It’s unclear if this cancellation was prompted by the WGA strike or if USA just thought the show had run its course, but either way, it’s a sad day in sci-fi fandom. Because when it was good, The 4400 was every bit the superhero TV show that Heroes is. And when it was great…let’s just say that it blew the second season of Heroes out of the water.
The story of 4,400 people who were abducted from earth (I won’t ruin it by saying by whom) and then sent back enhanced with wondrous powers might’ve felt like a pure sci-fi show — especially with the two Mulder and Scully-esque government investigators and all that abducting — but it was a comic-book drama to the core. These people were ripped from their lives and came back as mutants, for all intents and purposes, and had to learn to coexist in a world not ready for them. Like all good superheroic fiction, it used the powers themselves to illuminate facets of the human condition: What would you do if you could do anything? What happens to your life if you disappear from it and come back super?
Was The 4400 a perfect drama? No. It could veer off into melodrama with frightening speed. And it was shot in Vancouver, which is almost never a good thing (because everything’s so damned green). But it tried. It went for it. Sometimes it fell short, but that’s what happens when you reach.
Now the world has one less sci-fi/comic book TV show of substance in it. And that just makes me a little sad.