Tuesday, July 4, 2006


Since it's been on the air, I've always maintained that 'The 4400' was one of Toobworld's necessities; one of those shows that is integral to the overall concept of the Television Universe. This "honor" was due to the basic premise that these 4400 people were taken and not seen again until they were returned together at Mt. Rainier.

There's no way, no matter how long the show runs, that they'd be able to introduce us to all 4400 returnees. So that means we can use this group as an umbrella splainin to cover the mysterious disappearances of TV characters in the past: Chuck Cunningham of 'Happy Days', Henry Finnerty of 'Grounded For Life', Seven Bundy of 'Married... With Children', and Charlene 'Matlock', as examples.

But with the second half of the two-part episode "Gone", 'The 4400' gave the Toobworld concept so much to work with, and with no more than a few throwaway lines of dialogue.

Let's take a look at the episode's storyline first. A dedicated "good" faction from the future were dismayed to realize that the "catastrophe" that would affect that future was still on track to occur, even though the 4400 had been genetically altered and returned to the present time in order to prevent that catastrophe from happening.

But since the project was panning out to be unsuccessful, the "good" future faction chose to abduct several of the 4400 children again and re-seed them even farther back in the timeline. They sent Maia back to 1832, where she lived to the age of 25, dying of smallpox on the Oregon Trail in 1847.

With the rest of the other children, however, the project yielded better results. Tyler Downing invented a synthetic fuel which must have significantly altered the history and political structure/influence of the Middle East. And Lindsay Hammond created the composite materials that were so instrumental in establishing the lunar colonies.

Who knows what the other relocated children accomplished? That must have been an incredible timeline!

But it didn't last long, at least within the perspective of the present day. The children were taken back out of their new timelines and returned to their previous lives in the present. This wiped out all the advancements of that alternate history; so to have agreed to do it, the future faction had to have been offered a better deal. And they got it by demanding that NTAC agent Tom Baldwin should kill the 4400 "baby", Isabell.

Even though that Toobworld timeline has been wiped out, it still existed for a while. And as such, it offers Toobworld the perfect place to store all those TV shows (including individual episodes of anthology series) which envisioned the 1990s and the early years of the 21st Century as some kind of outer space utopia.

"Given the chance, what young girl wouldn't happily exchange a plain face for a lovely one? What girl could refuse the opportunity to be beautiful? For want of a better estimate, let's call it the year 2000. At any rate, imagine a time in the future when science has developed a means of giving everyone the face and body he dreams of. It may not happen tomorrow--but it happens now in the Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling
'The Twilight Zone'

"Number Twelve Looks Just Like You", an episode of 'The Twilight Zone', is a perfect example. By choosing the date of 2000, Rod Serling was proposing that this was the future for Earth Prime Time. Once the year 2000 passed, the episode had to be relegated to an alternate dimension.

But now we can assign the Age of the Transformation to the main Toobworld, in a timeline created and then wiped us by the future faction's manipulation of the 4400 children.

Here are some other examples:

'The Martian Chronicles'
Earth sends its first manned probe to Mars in 1999, and a jealous Martian murders the two astronauts when his wife has erotic dreams of meeting them. Members of a subsequent expedition are hypnotized into believing that they have landed in the childhood community of their leader and have been reunited with deceased family and friends, and they are poisoned by the Martians. Col. John Wilder leads a third expedition and learns that a chicken pox virus brought to Mars by the first two expeditions has almost eradicated the Martian population. A member of Wilder's team becomes obsessed with protecting Mars from Earthman and murders some of the others in Wilder's party, before Wilder kills him. Colonists arrive on Mars to settle, among them priests seeking God, and a lone Martian masquerades as the most desired persons of various settlers. Global war on Earth reduces man's natal planet to radioactive waste, and most of the settlers returned there prior to the holocaust. Wilder struggles to assemble the remaining humans on Mars, who cope with their loneliness in different ways and will not leave their piece of Mars, before Wilder meets a Martian of past or future who tells him the secret of simple Martian life and convinces him to abandon the Earth lifestyle.

[Summary by Kevin McCorry for the IMDb.com]

'Science Fiction Theater'
"PROJECT 44" A Space physician selects eight young scientists for training which proves man can survive in outer space.

"THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON" Astronomer Larry Kerston, with his revolutionary telescope-camera, takes a strange picture of the moon -- and finds men from other worlds at work on its dark side establishing a nuclear waste dump.

This can tie in to 'Space: 1999' in that the Earth's governments were able to take control of that nuclear waste dump and then established their own lunar colonies.

But even with the lunar colonies, 'Space: 1999' couldn't exist as is in this new timeline for 'The 4400'. The Moon should have been ripped out of its orbit seven years previously, which would have caused untold devastation back on Earth. But we saw no evidence of that, and besides, Marco spoke of the lunar colonies in "Gone, Part Two" as if they were still around.

I'll stick with my original theory about 'Space: 1999' (posited in a Tubeworld Dynamic essay called "Moon Boom") - after the waste dump explosion caused by Orlando Jones when he used a laser to carve the 7-Up logo into the Moon's surface back in 1999, Commander John Koenig survived, but in a coma. And in that coma, he created a dream world for himself in which he kept his friends alive by fantasizing that the Moon broke free of its orbit. (The same situation, a variation of it, occurred to the astronauts on board the "Death-Ship" in an episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.)

But again, the whole thing becomes moot once the original Toobworld timeline was reestablished with the return of the children.

I would still keep the CONTROL Moonbase of 'Get Smart' as is in the main Toobworld, because that was a very small, "low-key" top-secret Government installment.

Similarly, the Jupiter 2, with the Space Family Robinson on board, still blasted off for Alpha Centauri in 1997. Again, it was a top-secret project whose details the general public didn't need to know about. ('Lost In Space')

We met about five of the children re-abducted by the future faction but only learned the fates of three of them when they were re-seeded farther back into the past.

But 'Tales Of Tomorrow' may have introduced us to one of these characters as far back as April 4, 1952, over fifty years before 'The 4400' was first broadcast.....

"And a Little Child" The little daughter of plain mountain people can read minds. Her powers are called upon when a famous scientist suffers a paralytic stroke.

She may have been adopted by those mountain folk, once she was sent back by the future faction.

'Seaquest DSV' is set in the year 2019, and 'Rocky Jones, Space Ranger' is set later for this century. Both may seem unlikely to happen now to the reasoning mind, but for the time being I would leave them in place as having taken place in the main Toobworld to come. When 2019 comes and we still don't have underwater colonies (aside from those of lost Atlanteans), we can always explore our options then. ('Sealab 2020' and 'Sealab 2021' take place around the same time. But they're over in the Tooniverse and they can look out for themselves.)

As for 'Rocky Jones', the only downside is that the style of clothing is so 1950s, but we can chalk that up to a fashion revival. Otherwise, it can be set so far ahead in the 21st Century that none of us are going to be around to worry about .......

I've got plenty more topics to mine from this two-part episode of 'The 4400', so bear with me.

Or go surf elsewhere for the next few days.....


"My generation never got the future it was promised....
Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel's exactly the same.
We don't even have the Concorde anymore.
Technology stopped."
"The personal computer...."
"Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?"
'The West Wing'

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