HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Hawaii Five-0: The Complete Series
HTS Overall Score:71
The USA Network is a is programming network that has come out with some very unique and entertaining dramas over the years. From shows like “Burn Notice” to “Suits” to “Covert Affairs”, they have a feel that is home to ONLY that station. Even shows as different as “Dead Zone” is from the others mentioned can’t wipe that USA Network “scent” off of them. Back in 2004 I remember seeing the first season of “The 4400” air on TV with curiosity, but ultimately passed over it due to so many other shows I was interested in coming out about the same time, and time is limited for most of us. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine kept pushing me to watch it that I broke down right about the time the 4th season started airing. After 2 episodes I was HOOKED, and binge watched everything but the last few episodes of the series and was forced to wait the unsightly WEEK between episodes (I’m only being slightly sarcastic) to complete the arc.
The show was originally talked about like it was an “X-Files” knockoff, and in some ways, they were correct. The first episode sets up the mysterious “alien” nature of the show by having us be privy to a giant ball of light that descends upon earth and returns 4400 humans that were kidnapped over the course of the last 70+ years, safe and unharmed. The thing is, these humans are the same age as when they left (no matter when they were picked up from Earth) and have NO memory of where they were and what happened to them. The Department of Homeland Security is MOST interested in these people, with agent Tom Baldwin (Joel Gretsch) having a personal connection. One of the 4400 returned people is his nephew Sean (Patrick Flueger). Homeland Security doesn’t have much to hold these people on, so subsequently lets them back into the general populace (something which as me arch an eyebrow, as I think for sure the government would have black sighted them fast their heads would have been spinning were this real life), but assigns Tom and agent Diana Skouris (Jacqueline McKenzie) to investigate what happened to them.
It doesn’t take long before members of the 4400 begin exhibiting strange powers. One man can create shockwaves with his mind, another can react with incredible reflexes and strength, while others can see through walls, and a young girl demonstrates clairvoyance. Naturally these aspects of the 4400 are cause for concern for the rest of society, as they try to fit back in with their newfound gifts. This is compounded simply due to the fact that they are seen as “outsiders” and have to deal with the prejudices and fears of society, who view them with nervousness. Tom and Diana head up the investigative unit and the show morphs into a “returnee of the week” formula that is heavily reminiscent of “The X-Files”.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96810[/img]This is where the show ends being like that “other” show. There is a very strong and heavy undercurrent of a serialized story that makes its way into each and every episode, and with a season length ranging from 5 to 13 episodes, the filler is kept to a bare minimum. Another unique aspect of the series comes from the relationship between Diana and Tom. Usually when you pair up members of the opposite sex as collaborative leads, the show naturally delves into the romance department, but “The 4400” bypasses that cliché by allowing Tom and Diana to bond as friends without going there. This alleviates the “will they? won’t they?” aspect of the drama and allows them to focus on the actual events unfolding instead of miring us down with overly repetitious romantic underpinnings.
Without giving too much away, let me say that the “twist” at the end of the first season about WHO abducted the 4400 humans is much different than what I expected, and almost anti-climactic. However, the show uses that twist and creates a new direction with their powers and the 2nd season only rises up from there. It’s around the time of season 3 that the show starts to dip in quality ever so slightly. Especially due to the fact that fan favorite Jordan Collier (played by Billy Campbell) left the show to go work on a boat for a full year (no, I’m not kidding) before returning in the last season once again. While the dip is a little unfortunate, there was never ENOUGH dip to really make me want to stop watching the show. Rather it’s a simple case of knowing that it could have been slightly better had circumstances been more kind to the series. The personal relationships make the incredibly engrossing, and if it wasn’t for the limitation of the star rating system I would have rated this a 4.25/5 instead of a 4/5 (4.5/5 felt a bit too high considering the dip in the last season or two, but 4/5 still feel too low to me).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96818[/img]“The 4400” always had a very unique look to it when the show aired. The colors are dull and fairly flat, and the whole image changes between a variety of filters that give very stylized and unique looks to them. Sometimes we have day for night shots that have a HEAVY dose of flat blue and grey, while others taken on a yellow or green hue to them. Then yet again we have entire sections of the show that seem to have very little grading applied to them, and look a lot more natural. There’s some smearing here and there, as well as compression artifacts and some baked in haloing, but black levels look solid enough and the fine detail is pretty impressive (especially in those non color graded scenes that retain a more natural look). Skin colors are well done, but sometimes take on a pasty look depending on the type of color grading being applied at the moment, while contrast levels are fairly normal. These are the exact same discs that Paramount released a few years back with the individual seasons, as well as the complete series boxset before this, so if you've seen those you'll know exactly what to expect.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96826[/img]The show was always shot with a 2.0 stereo track in mind (most TV shows of the early 2000’s were done that way, especially the ones that were publicly broadcasted), and the 2.0 stereo original is retained on the discs. There is also a 5.1 mix that was made specifically for the DVDs when they were released years ago, but the 5.1 mix is a little disappointing for a surround sound mix. The track is decidedly front heavy and there is not a whole lot of difference from the 2.0 track. LFE is fairly mild (although present and accounted for) and the surround channels don’t get a whole lot of information sent their way. However, the dialog is clean and well balanced, giving us a solid front soundstage, but one that is mainly devoid of much depth besides replicating a 2.0 TV show track with a few tweaks.
• Creating The Ball of Light
• Return of the 4400
• Powers Grid
• The Great Leap Forward (Director's Cut)
• Jordan Collier: The Grey Man
• Audio Commentaries on Selected Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
“The 4400” was one of those shows that completely blindsided me back when it was airing (I didn’t start watching until the show had just about ended), and one that people are still finding out about today as it seemed to fly under the radar and written off by many early critics as an “X-Files” knockoff. The show could have probably been so much more, but there was a mild drop off in the 3rd and 4th season due to some writers and casting changes, but it has still endured as a very VERY entertaining sci-fi show that didn’t get nearly enough due. Again, with all of these “complete series” boxsets that I have been reviewing from Paramount lately, whether or not you wish to upgrade will depend on a few factors. 1. The discs are the exact same discs as were released in the 2008, just sans the extra features disc. 2. They’re housed in the slimmer “mega case” sets that paramount is using (which is a plus or a negative depending on if you like the overlapped disc method that nets it the smaller space) ,and 3. Whether you’ve bought the seasons/complete series before. If you have, then no need to upgrade, but if you haven’t then the slim set and INSANELY cheap price on the set (less than $30 for 4 seasons) makes this a no brainer. Recommended.
Starring: Jacqueline McKenzie, Joel Gretsch, Patrick John Flueger
Created by: René Echevarria, Scott Peters
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Mpeg2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 1938 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Buy The 4400: The Complete Series On DVD at Amazon
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