Follow TV Tropes


Series / 4400

Go To
4400 is a 2021 science fiction mystery series airing on The CW. It is a remake of The 4400, which aired on USA Network from 2004 to 2007. The series is executive produced by Ariana Jackson, Anna Fricke, and Laura Terry, and began airing on October 25, 2021.

One night, 4,400 people from different places and time periods are all unceremoniously dumped in the middle of Belle Isle in Detroit. All of them turn out to have been reported missing in the past. As the government tries to figure out where they all came from and how they all ended up in the same place at the same time, the returnees discover that some of them have returned with superhuman abilities.

The series cast includes Brittany Adebumola, Joseph David-Jones, Ireon Roach, TL Thompson, Jaye Ladymore, Derrick A. King, Khailah Johnson, Cory Jeacoma, Amarr Wooten, and Autumn Best.

In May 2022, the series was cancelled by the CW after its first and only season.


This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Diversity: In the original, the main cast was white and straight aside from one token black guy, with one mixed race character and one Ambiguously Brown one joining later. In this version, not only are almost all of the main characters black but the majority of the returnees are also non-white and one of the main characters is a lesbian, while another is a trans man. Of the white characters, Noah is a trans boy and Mildred has a malformed left hand. Two more minor women of color in the cast are lesbians too. It also turns out that Isaiah's son is gay. Hayden is Black and also implied to have autism.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In this version, Homeland Security is portrayed in a much darker light, actively looking for any pretense to crack down on the largely non-white returnees.
    • Advertisement:
    • It gets worse in episode 8 where it's revealed not only do they know all about the returnees' powers but already have a lab set up to hold and "study" them.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Noah is nervous about letting Doc inspect him, with it implied to be a result of negative past experiences due to being transgender. Doc helps him sympathetically though, and it turns out is a trans man too.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It is indicated that Hayden has an autism spectrum disorder, though it hasn't been stated. From his flashback episode in the 1930s, he was having issues looking at people in their eyes, socializing, and eating foods with certain textures. It's also stated he was placed in a sanitarium for his condition. In the present, he's withdrawn and shy and hyperfixated on saving Mildred from the hospital she was taken to.
  • Been There, Shaped History: One 4400 recognizes a Confederate sword as being from the Battle of Antietam. When asked if he's a Civil War buff, he says, "no, I was there."
  • Bittersweet Ending: In season 1; the 4400 were able to avoid major casualties in the standoff between them and the 44forum white supremacists, and the tide is slowing turning in their favor in regards to public opinion. But Logan was nearly killed during the riots and whisked away by a green light, along with Hayden. Andre and Shanice decide to end their brief romance, with Andre starting to work with Dr. Sienna Stone of BHN who can't be trusted with the wellbeing of the 4400. Mildred isn't able to reach Millicent and Millicent takes off, with her future unknown. And there are so many other questions, such as Reverend Isaiah's whereabouts, time-traveling and just how Manny was able to come back from being shot and whisked away by a green light with no memory of what happened to him.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: A variation as Jharrel is confronted by Keisha, who has a bag claiming it has the evidence that Manny stabbed Rev. She emphasizes that once she shows it to the feds, they can use their tech to catch Manny. Manny turns himself visible to demand what's in the which point Jharrel handcuffs him while Keisha reveals she had a copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Too late, Manny realizes the pair set him up for a capture.
  • Break the Haughty; LaDonna gets this when she realizes that no one in 2021 has the slightest idea who she is and most believe she just went into rehab. She also remembers she was falling to her death when she was taken and no one even noticed she was gone.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Soraya is a brilliant tech expert and profiler... who gets distracted whenever Keisha is around and who attributes her profiling skills to having watched a lot of reality television.
    "Uh, technically, I went to M.I.T. and Quantico, too. But that was a lot more boring."
  • But Not Too Black: During LaDonna's flashback scene, her mother tells her to stay out of the sun because she doesn't need to "get any darker."
  • The Chosen Many: Isaiah preaches to the 4400 that they were chosen by God, sent through time by him for some unknown divine purpose.
  • Compelling Voice: Noah is able to influence people's behavior with his singing - for instance, he can make someone hungry just by singing a snack jingle.
  • Cool Old Lady: Ms. Grover, Shanice's Honorary Aunt. She helped raise Shanice growing up, completely believes her when she hears her story, then bluntly tells her she's in no fit state to look for her family and puts her to bed. When she hears that she's hosting Claudette, an activist from the 50s, she pulls out all her scrapbooks so that Claudette can see all the progress the Civil Rights movement has made.
  • Corrupt Church: Flashbacks show that Isaiah grew disgusted at his televangelist father raking money in from his poor parishioners, especially when it was far more than they could afford to give away. He turned against this, but then was sent into the future.
  • Cure Your Gays:
    • It's implied that Noah's fear of doctors stems from his parents trying to stop him from transitioning.
    • Isaiah's family is involved in the "reparative therapy" business... which has been denounced by his son.
  • Cute Mute: Hayden initially doesn't speak, and is assumed to be mute before suddenly telling Jherral that his missing brother is still alive. As Hayden has been indicated to have an autism spectrum disorder, this may have been selective mutism.
  • Darker and Edgier: The government is way more hostile to the returnees, while the returnees themselves are much more bewildered by their new circumstances; poor Shanice discovered that in her absence, her husband has assumed that she ran off and has remarried.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The show really drives home the comparisons of regular racism to prejudice against 4400 people over having unexplained powers through having them be majority Black (while they get this even worse due to their race), along with two being trans men (so transphobia is also referenced). There is also the poor treatment of neurodivergent people like Hayden (committed to a mental institution, experimented on) compared with 4400 people dealt with the same way, and on it goes.
    • LaDonna reunites with her father...only to find the older man has become addicted to talk radio programs spouting conspiracy theories without any rational evidence and believes his daughter is actually an alien.
  • Domestic Abuse: Claudette's husband Jimmy was verbally and emotionally abusive (and possibly physically) to her when she would speak for herself and speak up during meetings with the other civil rights activists. Before she was whisked away by the green light, Jimmy was trying to get her committed to a sanitarium.
  • Dramatic Irony: Doc discovers that he has the ability to heal someone, ingesting their pain and the only way to get rid of it is to spread it to someone else, often with painful results.
    Doc: I took an oath to heal...not harm.
  • Fantastic Racism: Mixed with real life bigotry, as most of the 4400 are from a marginalized group and are feared and hated for coming back with powers.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water:
    • The returnees all hail from different time periods - Shanice is from 2005, Claudette is from 1958, Doc is from the Harlem Renaissance, Mildred is from 1972, Rev is from the 90's, and LaDonna is from 2015. As a result, all of them have difficulty with how much has changed since.
    • Naturally, the black people from the early 20th century to as late as 2005 are astounded to find themselves in an America that elected a black President.
    • Doc, who didn't even understand he was transgender, is amazed to realize how open these people are now.
    • At the same time, some will complain that, in some ways, the world hasn't progressed as much as they'd like (especially considering they're still kept prisoner in the hotel).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Noah comes out to Doc, he is surprised by the terminology but not the idea of transgender people. As it turns out, Doc himself is a trans man who was part of a whole queer community back in the 1920s.
    • Claudette is intensely suspicious of Isaiah's preaching and growing control over the 4,400, saying that men like him are dangerous. It's later revealed that her husband was a reverend and civil rights activist who abused her while the community looked the other way.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Soraya is a brilliant profiler and tech whiz who spends her free time watching reality TV in order to study people's body language.
    • LaDonna covers for a library trip by claiming she wants to look up the latest fashions. She then uses her illusion powers to make it appear like she has fashion magazines, not computer books.
  • Good Parents: Hayden had a loving, understanding mother who is about the best a neurodivergent child could hope for, especially in the 1920s.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Some of Claudette's experiments with her powers might have given her permanent damage if she didn't have her powers.
  • Healing Factor: Claudette heals quickly from her wounds, much to her surprise.
  • Healing Hands: Andre can heal injuries, but at a cost-he absorbs the injury within himself which makes him incredibly sick. The only way to relieve this is to transfer the injury to someone else.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Isaiah's church opposed homosexuality and recommended "reparative therapy" to change people's sexual orientation. He learns his son is gay, and denounces these attitudes, but struggles due to his own homophobia after hearing this.
  • Hidden Depths: LaDonna wanted to be a computer-science major if her mother ever allowed her to attend college. She is knowledgeable enough about the subject to recognize lines of COBOL code.
  • I Have No Son!: Isaiah finds out that his son is alive, but has long since come out as gay and has disowned his family's church. When someone later asks how his search for his son went, Isaiah declares that he has no son.
  • Invisibility: It turns out this is the reason the government can't find Manny as he has the power to make himself invisible. He's been in the hotel this entire time unseen until he reveals himself to Jharrel.
  • Left Hanging: The show was cancelled after the first season, despite lingering questions about the 4400's powers, BHN's plans, and several character's fates are left open.
  • Life Saving Misfortune: The reason LaDonna doesn't remember how she was taken is because she has blocked it out, because she was in the middle of falling to her death.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Brought up when Keisha is irate on the group breaking into a government lab, telling them they have to be careful not to let the government know about their powers...only to be informed that's what the lab is for.
  • Magic Music: Noah discovers an ability to make things happen just by singing, like putting people to sleep with "Rock-a-bye Baby".
  • Master of Illusion: LaDonna can create realistic illusions with her mind.
  • The Medic: Doc takes it upon himself to offer medical care to the returnees, having little faith that their mostly-white guards care about them.
  • Mind over Matter: Mildred discovers she now has telekinesis.
  • Missing Mom: Shanice realizes this is what her now-teenaged daughter believes she abandoned her, since she'd mistaken a letter (along with her father) Shanice wrote in a bout of postpartum depression as leaving them just before she vanished. Naturally, they're not open to her "vanished out of time" explanation.
  • Mistaken for Misogynist: When Shanice mentions that she works at a law firm, Doc automatically assumes that she's a secretary. She sees it as a typical sexist assumption, but Doc's just from a time when "secretary" was the only position a Black woman could have in a law firm.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Doc and his beloved partner Cynthia had an argument the night that he disappeared, and he regrets that that was the last time he saw her.
  • Nice Girl: Mildred. One of her first actions is to use her powers to help Shanice escape the hotel.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After seeing Steve injured at the park, Doc feels duty-bound to heal him with his power. This results in Steve being misperceived as having the power himself, which gets him doxxed due to the paranoia about the 4400 and he's quite angry with Doc for helping him as a result.
  • Older than They Look: None of the returnees have aged a day since they were taken, even though some of them have been missing for the better part of a century.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: LaDonna seems more concerned with the fact that DHS took away her cellphone than she is that she's being detained against her will.
    Claudette: You do seem overly attached to telephones.
  • Police Brutality: One of the guards is quite violent to the returnees, striking Claudette and then Noah for simply disobeying him or mild protest at their confinement.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: LaDonna creates an illusion of medical equipment she says she saw on Grey's Anatomy. Doc assumes she's referring to an updated version of the medical book.
  • Power Nullifier: The Reverend Isaiah's power is revealed to be this in episode 8 when he tried to stop Mildred from attacking him and causing further damage - by touching her, he completely takes away her power. And it doesn't seem as if he can just as easily return it unless his life is threatened - Mildred and several other characters' powers return after he gets stabbed.
  • Real After All: It takes seeing Claudette amazed at the modern Detroit and her talk on how things have changed for it to finally sink in to Keisha she's talking to a woman from 1958.
  • The Reveal: Much like in the original series, the reason why the 4400 was transported was due to people in the future year 2062 using time travel to alter the timeline and avoid a catastrophe.
  • Skewed Priorities: While the others are desperate to leave the hotel, LaDonna cares more about getting her cellphone back and trying to rebuild her brand. This leads to considerable friction with the others in "That LaDonna Life" when she agrees to help the government with a PR event in exchange for access to her phone.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In "That LaDonna Life", LaDonna tries to capitalize on her supposedly famous name, offering to be a spokesman for the 4400 in exchange for getting her cellphone back, only to discover that the rest of the world believes that she burned out and went into rehab, and thus her name is largely worthless.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Shanice was an anti-war protester back in the early aughts, and then a lawyer, and quickly becomes one of the more outspoken members among the returnees.
  • Stage Mom: LaDonna's mother Loretta definitely appears to be one of these. In the flashbacks, she is shown micromanaging LaDonna's life in order to keep the family name viable.
  • Stealing the Credit: Back in his own time, Doc came up with a new treatment for whooping cough, but after his disappearance, his white boss took all the credit for it.
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe with the returnees adjusting to changes in technology.
    • Rev (who vanished in 1993) is astounded at the existence of the Internet.
    • Doc is likewise amazed at how far medical science has progressed in a century.
    • When Shanice wants to find her husband, her first thought is to look him up in the phone book only to be informed Detroit (like almost all major cities) stopped publishing those years earlier.
    • Played for laughs when Doc boasts of using a phone to catch someone entering a code. Given he's from a time when regular landline phones barely existed, it's no surprise he ended up just taking a video of himself grinning.
  • They Would Cut You Up: It turns out that the government has a secret lab in a hospital where they illegally hold and study 4400 "patients". Mildred is about to go into the operating room for some probably nefarious purpose when she's rescued, validating their distrust of the government.
  • Touch Telepathy: Shanice can see into other people's minds by touching them.
  • Trans Tribulations:
    • Noah distrusts doctors, with it implied to be a result of his parents trying to stop him from transitioning. He approaches Doc nonetheless as he's now cut off from his hormone treatments for medical transition while they're being held in isolation.
    • Downplayed and somewhat defied with Doc Andre who's a trans man too, even in the 1920s. He found it difficult to advance in the medical field due to his race, but he was able to pass as cisgender and surrounded himself with queer black intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance, and his partner was a trans woman.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • All three of the named lesbians on the series are women of color - Jessica is Indian, Keisha is Black, and Soraya is Bengali/Pakistani (she's a Muslim as well).
    • Doc is a Black trans man, although it takes him a while to realize that there is a word for what he is. His partner in the 1920s was also a Black trans woman.
    • Isaiah has a son (Black, like him) who's gay.
    • Mildred is a girl with a deformed hand, the only character who has a disability.
    • Hayden is a Black boy implied to have autism.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Claudette, who has plenty of reasons to be angry about the treatment and terrorism that black people were subjected to back in the 1950's, wanted to fight fire with fire and possibly firebomb the houses of Ku Klux Klan members to send a message. The ending of her Day in the Limelight episode indicates that these tendencies are still with her as she has plans to build an explosive device after receiving discrimination as a powered person.
    • Claudette was recruited by Manny as we later find out and he's committed to letting an atrocity happen between the 44forum terrorists and the 4400 to help fuel an uprising that will bring about societal change after he spent two years in 2062, frustrated by how slowly the future BHN foundation was working to correct the timeline to improve their circumstances.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 8, "The Kaminski Experiment" which served as season 1's mid-season finale. Mildred re-appears towards the end of the episode, and using her powers throws Bill Greene out the window, critically injuring him. This is all captured on live TV during an interview, and now the entire world knows that the 4400 have special powers.
  • Wham Line:
    • In-universe in the pilot when the returnees are gathered, Shanice complains about "this happening in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's America!" When a modern guard remarks about her death, she's confused...then Rev talks about Ginsburg as the "new" Justice while Claudette laughs at the idea of women on the Supreme Court. Finally, Shanice asks the guard what year it is and when he answers 2021, everyone reacts in shock and disbelief.
    • The pilot ends with the formerly mute Hayden suddenly speaking to Keisha on a conversation he couldn't possibly have heard.
      Hayden: Tell Jharrel that Manny’s all right. And that he’s sorry for everything.
    • Episode 12 ends with this revelation from Manny:
      Manny: But [the green light] didn't take me to 2021. It took me to 2062.
    • The final scene of the season-turn-series finale has Jharrel and Claudette shocked when Manny walks into the apartment...only his words indicate he has no idea who Claudette is and seems to not even remember anything that's happened since his abduction.
  • What Year Is This?: When Shanice learns that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died and the others around her give conflicting accounts, she slowly puts it together and asks the guard what year it is. He answers, confirming to the returnees that they've time traveled.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Doc and his partner (both transgender-he's a trans man, she was a trans woman, though none of the terms even existed at the time) went to an LGBT+ club in 1920s Harlem, with other queer people there.
  • Zen Slap: Cult leader Caleb compulsively pokes his disciples in the neck to check their pulse, gaging whether or not they are "zen". Those who are not "zen" are usually punished.