The Good

An interesting premise and with 4400 missing people returning, their stories could keep this show going forever.

The Bad

Ultimately, I think the acting on this show could have been better.

The idea of The 4400: The Complete Second Season is nothing if not interesting. When 4400 people who have mysteriously disappeared, suddenly appear again, people are certainly going to have a litany of questions. These people have also been altered with certain powers, some that are good and others that could be perceived as dangerous. Naturally, there would be an FBI-like presence to get to the bottom of this and that is where the majority of this show resides.

As we move past the first year since The 4400 came back from wherever they were, we see all the characters (the National Threat Assessment Command agents included) growing as well rounded people. Characters are having seizures, another is prone to blackouts, while another seems blessed with the power to help people who are afflicted with ailments beyond their control. This speaks nothing of the genuine creepiness that surrounds the 4400 center and the involvement that some National Threat Assessment Command officers have in all this.

I apologize if I am being vague, but I certainly don't want to ruin any plot points for those who haven't seen the show. Truthfully, those who have don't really need to read this section anyway. Ultimately, The 4400: The Complete Second Season plays like one big, elongated episode of The Twilight Zone, and for the most part it works.

Features

Commentary Tracks

We get audio tracks on certain episodes by Jacqueline McKenzie (Diana Skouris), Joel Gretsch (Tom Baldwin), Craig Sweeny (a writer on the show) and Ira Steven Behr (executive producer). As is usually the case, the actors are mainly featured on those shows where there is something more closely related to their characters, and the behind the scenes types fill on the various story blanks. This makes sense because then they can speak to the material in a more direct way. I didn't have a lot of time so I skipped around on these tracks, but everyone seems to be enjoying the freedom of looking back and dissecting the work. Whether they discussing certain aspects of another character they are playing off of, or where they see the show going, these tracks seemed certainly worth the time for fans of the show.

Creating the Ball of Light

This section examines how ideas and visual components are created, but it also looks at how this show was put together as a living breathing entity. When doing a science fiction show like this, the effects need to be decent, but what really matters most is telling a story that is going to work from episode to episode and season to season. How that is achieved is the main focus of this piece.

Return of The 4400

Another featurette that looks at the ideas behind this show. It examines the traits that the characters have, and it also talks about how the creators if this show wanted to keep things moving as it came into this second season. Truthfully, both this featurette and the Creating the Ball of Light featurette would be great for screenwriters of this type of material to watch. They could learn what the thought process is behind not only this show but shows of this ilk.

A Stitch in Time

Scientists are going to enjoy this is as time travel and other aspects of science are explored. As someone who finds time travel to be very interesting, I really enjoyed what they presented here. Not that I know a lot about the subject or anything, but you don't have to be a scientific genius to really get a handle on what they are discussing here. My biggest complaint is that I wish this short featurette had been longer.

Video

Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1. The sterile dyspeptic look that this show employs actually really works for it. Too many times I have seen legal dramas that employ the same look but they don't really help the show. As The 4400 is science fiction, dealing with closed off aspects of human behavior, the look does more for this show than I think many others. On DVD, with the crisp transfer and well calibrated compression, this plays very nicely for the viewer and will probably be one of the next TV shows to make the leap to one of the next generation DVD formats.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1 - English. Dolby Digital 2.0 - English. The sound was my biggest problem with this show. On just a pure audio level, I found that I couldn't get passed a lot of the whispering the actors do. I guess this is a new style of acting, but it just seems like it was more natural in the one hour shows up until the 1980s/early 1990s. From an ambient perspective, the audio was where I thought it should be. It was straining to hear the dialogue that bothered me the most.

Package

Many of the main cast members of this show stand somewhat pressed together on this front cover. The purplish, blue tones make this cover seem like a show that Michael Mann might have created. The back cover offers up similar images, a description of what The 4400: The Complete Second Season is about, a Special Features listing and technical specs. All four discs that make up this set are neatly housed inside this packaging, which offers up other artwork and themes from the show, as well as an index of the episodes.

Final Word

While I enjoyed The 4400: The Complete Second Season, the biggest problem that I had with it was the acting. I just find that too many shows have our main characters whispering their lines. I have complained about this before when reviewing many one hour dramas, but there was something about it here that bothered me more for some reason. This show has a somber enough tone as it is, without needing to add any needless melodramatic actions.

Aside from this, I think The 4400 is very well done show that should get very interesting over time. Now, if we could just do something about the stilted "whisper acting"...

The 4400 was released .