The CW is developing a reboot of USA’s cult sci-fi series The 4400, but fans of the original are first owed a resolution to its cliffhanger ending.
The CW is developing a reboot of USA’s cult sci-fi series The 4400, but fans of the original are first owed a resolution to its cliffhanger ending. Sadly, The 4400 is one of many TV shows to end without a proper resolution, as TV networks really don’t seem to consider pleasing a small but devoted fanbase when deciding how and when to cancel a struggling series. From Quantum Leap, to Sliders, to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the list of shows to sign off without wrapping up loose plot threads is a long and sad one indeed.
For those in need of a refresher, The 4400 aired for four seasons on USA Network, and was one of their first high-profile original dramas alongside Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone. The initial premise was simple enough, as 4400 missing people from different eras all reappeared inside a big ball of light near Mount Rainer, Washington. The “returnees” as they were dubbed, came back different, sporting superhuman powers of various types. The returnees were overseen by the National Threat Assessment Command (NTAC). Needless to say, things got pretty complicated as the series progressed, with the eventual reveal that the arrival of the 4400 was connected to an attempt to avert a disastrous future, and time travel was involved in both their disappearance and return.
It was announced last month that The CW is working on a reboot of The 4400, and from the sound of things, it won’t have any involvement from the original creators or cast. While the idea of the show certainly has potential for a new take, that still unfairly leaves fans of the first 4400 series out to dry, with no answers to the cliffhanger ending found in unplanned series finale “The Great Leap Forward.” The series ended with charismatic cult leader Jordan Collier having commandeered the city of Seattle (renaming it Promise City), and injections of the 4400’s neurotransmitter promicin awakening new abilities for a large percentage of the population. A new age looked to be at hand, and season 5 promised countless possibilities for the future. Instead, USA canceled The 4400.
While lots of TV shows have been rebooted in recent years, few of them are in this type of situation, where the original show ended without resolution. Naturally, most shows that get reboots were long-running, successful properties, and ended with planned series finales or final seasons. By contrast, The 4400 was never a ratings hit, and barely survived as long as it did. The 4400’s advantage was that the fans it did have were very devoted, and if the show had been canceled during the era of streaming, it’s not hard to imagine Netflix or Hulu picking it up.
The only logical reason to reboot The 4400 instead of creating a new series is the hope that its old fans will come back based on its name value, so why not do those fans a solid and somehow provide some closure for the original? Why not make the new one a loosely-connected sequel series instead of a reboot, and offer updates on where various popular characters ended up? While two books attempting to follow-up on “The Great Leap Forward” were released in the years since the cancellation, that’s hardly equivalent to a proper onscreen resolution. If The CW expects to profit off of fans’ attachment to The 4400 name, the least they could do is throw them a narrative bone or two.