Friday, October 19, 2007
Medium: The Third Season
Written by Senora Bicho
Medium is a crime drama based on real-life, self-proclaimed psychic Allison DuBois, who utilizes her abilities to assist law enforcement agencies in solving crimes. In the series, the main character works for the Phoenix district attorney’s office and her abilities include seeing and speaking to the deceased along with having dreams that give her clues for solving the crimes. Patricia Arquette masterfully plays the lead role and has won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance. Glenn Gordon Caron is the creator, executive producer and writer. He has written for many successful television shows such as Taxi and Remington Steele before creating great shows of his own including Moonlighting and Now and Again. Caron likes to refer to Medium as ghost stories for adults.
Season Three was originally slated to start in early 2007. However, due to an early cancellation of another NBC show, it was brought back in November 2006. Besides starting the show later in the season, the network also changed its time slot, moving it from Monday at 10 p.m. to Wednesday at 10 p.m. I missed the majority of this season primarily because of these factors. This seemed to impact others viewers as well as the show fell in the ratings from #35 during Season Two to #61 (it had also dropped tremendously from Season One where it was ranked at #19). I am happy to report that the network has renewed the show for another season, but again as a late addition and with another changed time slot. This time around it will be a replacement for NFL football on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. starting in January.
It is a shame that more people didn’t watch Season Three but hopefully the DVD release will provide an opportunity for them to see what they missed. The season started with a two-hour movie premiere. This extended episode alone is reason enough to at least rent the collection. It focuses on the dreams that Allison and her daughter Bridgett are having about the same murders. Since Bridgett is only 10, her dreams of the crimes are animated featuring monkeys as the criminals. The cartoons look incredible and add an interesting dimension to the episode. One of the set’s special features is a featurette about the time and effort that went into making the cartoons.
The other reason that I missed a lot of the season was that it was just another crime drama. While I didn’t know when it started or what its time slot was, I didn’t make the effort to find it either. I had more than enough TV shows in my lineup and was grateful to have one less to watch. However, Season Three was a departure from the traditional crime drama formula used in previous seasons. This one focused more on the peripheral characters and their stories in addition to seeing more of Allison’s personal and family life. At home all of the daughters deal with different levels of their own paranormal abilities. Joe DuBois, played by Jake Weber, has a much more prominent role and is no longer relegated to being the listening board for his wife’s struggles. He is involved in a hostage situation at work which causes some psychological problems and results in him being unemployed at the season finale. The season finale was the conclusion of an extremely well done three-part storyline. Jason Priestly and Neve Campbell were guest stars in all three episodes.
Included in the DVD collection are some great special features. There is commentary for the season premiere with Caron, Larry Teng (Producer), Aaron Lipstadt (Director and Supervising Producer) and Javier Grill-Marxuach (Writer). It is interesting to hear their vision of the season and this episode. Lipstadt was added as the supervising producer to give the series consistency and Grill-Marxuach is a new writer to the show who previously worked on “Lost”. The episode “Whatever Possessed You” also offers a great commentary by Miguel Sandoval, who plays Devalos and director of the episode, and Jessica Kender, Production Designer.
There are also some fun featurettes. “Directing with David Arquette” discusses brother David’s direction of the episode “1-900-Lucky.” “Acting is my Racquet” gives an inside look at the actors’ addiction to ping-pong. “The Story of Medium, Season 3” provides background on the decisions and thoughts behind the show and “The Making of Medium, Season 3” showcases what it takes to make the show and the intense production involved. You will also find deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Even with the changes that give more depth to the secondary characters, Patricia Arquette is the heart and soul of the show. Season Three was her strongest performance yet as she struggles and experiences many frustrations with her abilities and those who fight her on her instincts. I usually prefer my crime without the personal stuff, just give me the cases. However, this change in direction brought the show to another level. Medium offers well-written storylines, great performances and intriguing cases. I think it is the best crime drama out there so here is your chance to get caught up on Season Three before the next season starts. You can also give the show a test drive via reruns from all of the seasons on Lifetime Television. My dreams tell me that once you try it, you will like it.