Television normally slows down in the summer, most shows in repeats or off the air entirely, but there are some quality summer shows, including USA Network's The 4400 which returns for its 13-episode fourth season on Sunday at 9:00.
As I wrote when I reviewed the Third Season DVD set of the The 4400 (which, coincidentally, you can win a copy of by visiting Joe's great I Am A TV Junkie Blog) The 4400 is a smart, compelling show, with great characters, and a great story. Yes, it's science fiction, but I am not a real big science fiction guy and I have loved the show since I started watching during the show's first season. While the sci-fi elements make up the backbone of the show (and I have loved the episodes about the shows mythology more than the others) the show is really a character drama, and a drama about the government's response to the powers of "The 4400".
Basically, in a nutshell (and please, don't the description of the show's backstory may scare you off if you dislike science fiction)) 4400 people were abducted and vanished without a trace over a 60 year period from 1940-2000 (or thereabouts). Then, one day, they all returned, all in one place, without having aged a day from when they were taken, and some had special abilities (like being able to heal people, see the future, ect.) Over the last three seasons we have learned that these people were taken by people from the future, given special abilities, and seeded back into the timeline in hopes their abilities and return would save the world from its coming future, which isn't pretty. At the end of last season, the enzyme which gives the 4400 their powers, Promicin, was being freely handed out (in injection form) to all who wanted, and the first part of this new season will deal with the consequences of that distribution.
The man handing out the "Promicin" injections and the leader of the 4400? Billy Campbell's resurrected Jordan Collier (who was presumably shot to death in season two, but returned in season three after wondering around in what he now describes as a very bleak future) who is one of the most interesting and intriguing characters on television. You never really know, from one scene to the next, whether he's good, evil, both. He keeps everyone guessing, from the characters on the show to viewers watching at home, and now that he's a series regular, this could very well turn out to be Collier's season.
If you have never seen the show, I really encourage you to give it a shot even if you are not a traditional science fiction fan. Which would be easy to do if you win a free copy of the DVDs. If you are already a fan, then you'll be watching, as I will be, Sunday night, when the fourth season of the best television show you've probably never heard of kicks off.