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Wednesday, June 22, 2005
TV Round-Up
The 4400: Weight of the World
Alright, so who didn't see the twist of Trent Applebaum's miracle saliva having unexpected consequences coming? I figured as soon as the mobster showed back up, having lost 75 pounds in two days that there would be some Twilight Zone like twist to the storyline. And we certainly got it--turns out once the reduction starts working, it's difficult to stop. And then Trent loses his ability in order to save his daughter and everyone else. But not before he's left behind samples of his saliva so that it can be studied and other uses besides rapid weight loss can be discovered.

I enjoyed seeing Robert Picardo in a good post-Voyager role. As salesman Trent Applebaum, he did a nice job and I liked that his overriding concern wasn't just the money but creating a better life for his daughter after all she had to sacrifice for him while he was gone.

Meanwhile, the other plot threads are slowly starting to boil. We find out that Jordan is a user--using those around him and then tossing them aside when they are no longer necessary to his overall goals. The more we discvoer about Jordan, the more I wonder--how long will it be until Sean is more a liability than an asset? (I mean, this is the man who jumps into bed with the singer and causes Devon to attempt suicide because she can't stand the thought of being used and tossed aside) And why is he making claims of grooming Sean as a successor to take over the institute at some point in the future? And is Jordan's agenda actually one that is benefitting the overall plan of the future humans who took the 4400 and then sent them back? And how much does Jordan know that he's not telling us? It seems as if the 4400 were given their gifts and sent back, but I have to wonder just what was Jordan's gift. Was he brought in on the plan somehow? Does he know more than he's telling?

Meanwhile, Kyle is having blackouts and apparently attempting to date his literature professor (which for some reason, she seems way too convient a character to be introduced at this point for her not to have some other type of agenda). And the Richard and Lilly storyline pushes forward. Honestly, of all the plotlines, this one seems the most rushed week in and week out. They've become the David Banners of this show. I found myself sort of wishing we'd seen them settle down for a few episodes before being forced to leave. I'd feel a bit more sympathy for their plight if we'd had time to see them settle down and begin to enjoy their current residence rather than just jamming in the coming into a new place, wanting to settle down, getting exposed and then going on the lam again. All this within the context of one-hour of screen time. There are a lot of other plots going on and I find myself wishing that The 4400 would give into the tempation to have some of the plot threads unfold over more than just one episode. As it is, the series isn't exactly self-contained episode-wise, so why not allow some things to unfold over the course of an episode or two rather than having to wrap up the central conflict in one installment?

The Dead Zone: The Collector
"The Collector" is the first episode produced for The Dead Zone's fourth season and, quite frankly, it was kind of disappointing. Character-wise I enjoyed what was going on, but the main plotline just didn't ever really grab my attention. I guess part of my bias here is that in season two of Buffy we had the brilliantly underrated "Ted" with John Ritter as a robotic monster who was trying to transform the women he dated into his image of the perfect woman/wife. Here we get something similiar but, honestly, I have to say that Buffy did it better. (I can see Barry even now rushing to hit click the comment bar and question my insane, obsessive love of all things Buffy). There was a sense of tension to the storyline but it came in spurts and was never sustained enough. Also, I guessed early on in the story why our pyscho of the week was collecting the women and so that sort of took out the suspense of the central mystery for me.

But while the main mystery of the week plotline left me a bit chilly, I did warm up to what we were doing character wise. One thing I will give The Dead Zone credit for is that these characters never stay static. Last year, we had a resolution of sorts of the Johnny/Sarah/Walt triangle and now we see the producers pushing forward and continuing the growth of the characters. Sarah's sense of isolation with Walt having to work long hours and J.J.'s growing up was nicely done. I also felt like this wasn't something that came out of left field because we've seen Sarah take part in efforts she believes in in the past--such as Stillson's campaign. And the scene in the car as Walt vents his frustration to Johnny was nicely done as well.

But a couple of isolated scenes don't make up for the fact that the central mystery wasn't much to write home about. But then again, every show can have an off episode every once in a while. If there's one thing I've found with Michael Piller involved--there generally isn't going to be a long string of misfires. And even if there are some that just aren't up to the usual standard, I can always find at least one nugget of something to enjoy--as I did here.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/22/2005 07:49:00 AM | |
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