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Fighting the Numbers (and the Odds): USA's "The 4400" Panel

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm never quite sure why The 4400, a smart, slick series with sci fi appeal, somehow always gets overlooked, sitting there in the shadow of its sister network's series Battlestar Galactica.

So I was happy to see that the cast and crew of The 4400--including Jeffrey Combs, Jenni Baird, Conchita Campbell, Megalyn Echikunwoke, supervising produce Craig Sweeney, and executive producer Ira Steven Behr--returned to Comic-Con again this year to drum up some support for the series.

Let's get the big news out of the way. Two former cast members are due to return to The 4400 this season; of all the casting changes over the past few seasons, I've noticed the loss of these two most acutely. (Stop reading right now if you're spoiler-adverse!)

Returnee #1: it's going to happen in Episode Nine and it's none other than Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, a.k.a. the telekinetic Richard Tyler, who has a reunion of sorts with his now grown daughter Isabelle in Promise Town... Oh and he might not be too happy to see Tom and Diana.

Returnee #2: Laura Allen. Yes, Lily is returning to The 4400 and she's apparently not (A) dead and buried, nor (B) an elderly lady played by Tippi Hedren. So just how is Lily alive and restored to her youthful looks? Your guess is as good as mine, but expect her return to happen close to the conclusion of Season Four.

Random fact that makes me question the sanity of USA executives: Behr said that USA asked the writers to downplay the promicin storyline and then based their entire promotional campaign--including a nifty viral site--around the ability-granting substance. Riiiight.

Speaking of the drug, which members of our illustrious panel would take the promicin shot, knowing that there's only a 50% chance of survival? "I already did," joked Combs, while Campell says no and Beard and Echikunwoke said that they would. (Me, I'm on the fence.) Behr notes that by the end of the fourth season it might not matter whether or not anyone WANTS to take the shot or not. Hmmm, ominous. (Please tell me Jordan is not spiking the water with promicin!)

Then again, it seems as though Combs' character, Dr. Burkhoff, has figured out a way to increase the odds of survival in an upcoming episode and has rigged something like a CAT scan to predict whether or not a person will survive the promicin dose.

Regardless of the outcome of Burkhoff's research, it seems as though there is a definite storm on the horizon and not every character will make it out of this season alive. "It's going to be a rock-em, sock-em finale," said Behr.


Anonymous said…
I'm not sure either why 4400 always fails to get recognition but I am glad that they are usually willing to trot out the cast at events like these. Now if only Tom, Diana, Jordan, Shawn, or Kyle had been there!
Anonymous said…
It's really a shame that this show doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's a million times more interesting and intelligent (and original) than Heroes. Truly.

So happy that Richard and Lily are coming back! (Although I can't figure out how they're going to bring Lily back into the fray.) I've missed those two crazy kids. And it will be interesting to see their reaction to the new and improved Isabelle. I can't wait!

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