‘4400’ – They baaa-aack! — again

CW series reboots early 2000s cult sci-fi hit

Brittany Adebumola stars in “4400,” premiering Monday on The CW.

A new cast and a familiar premise mark a reboot of a mid-2000s cult hit in a sci-fi series upcoming on The CW.

“4400,” an hourlong series that premieres Monday, Oct. 25, follows 4400 overlooked, undervalued or marginalized people who vanished without a trace over the last century and literally drop out of the sky one night in 2021 in Detroit, having not aged at all and with no memory of what happened.

They include Shanice (Brittany Adebumola, “Grand Army”), a lawyer and young mother from 2005 whose reunion with her husband and suddenly teenage daughter is rocky; Andre (TL Thompson, “Adventures in New America”), a World War I Army surgeon; Claudette (Jaye Ladymore, “Chicago P.D.”), an influential figure from the civil rights movement; Isaiah “Rev” Johnson, (Derrick A. King, “Call Your Mother”), a cleric from 1990s Chicago; and LaDonna (newcomer Khailah Johnson), a reality TV star from 2015 Miami.

As the government tries to understand the phenomenon, it sends social worker Jharrel (Joseph David-Jones, “Arrow”) and prison guard Keisha (Ireon Roach, “Chicago P.D.”) to analyze the threat and contain the potential story — and the refugees themselves.

The series is a reimagining of the 2004-07 USA Network series “The 4400” and stars a diverse cast headed by Adebumola, who jumped at the opportunity to play a successful Black woman who struggles with motherhood, postpartum depression and, of course, her alien new surroundings.

Brittany Adebumola stars in “4400,” premiering Monday on The CW.

“It’s funny because when I first got this role, I thought Shanice and I were very different,” the actress says with a laugh. “But the more I sort of did my research and dug deeper into the character, I realized that she and I are very similar. I won’t go into specifics but in many ways I was Mariah (Shanice’s daughter) in my personal life. So to play this character in Shanice, who is an actual person in many ways in my actual life, it required a lot of empathy for me to understand what that person in my life was sort of going through. So looking at Mariah was almost like looking at my younger self. That was a trip.”

Also emotional for Adebumola was the reunion scene in 2021 with Shanice’s husband Logan, and the actress credits her TV spouse Cory Jeacoma (“Fan Girl”) for helping her through it.

“It wasn’t an easy scene,” she says, “and of course in this industry you do a couple of takes of the same scene. So I think we definitely leaned on each other but also just tried to be as open to whatever would come emotionally in the moment with each other. It’s always great when you’re working with a scene partner who is as generous as Cory is, who was always full of ideas. So it just makes it feel a lot safer to go there with each other.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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