Medium was based on a real person with alleged psychic powers who apparently has helped out various law enforcement agencies in some actual cases. If you’ve seen the series, you might find that hard to believe, and the episodes are obviously fictional adventures and not based on the real Alison Dubois’s experiences. At first glance it might be easy to lump Medium in with Ghost Whisperer or The Dead Zone. Actually there are almost no similarities to any of those shows. Allison does not gain any understanding through touching and while she does see ghosts at times, that aspect of the show has been made to play in only a small percentage of the episodes. Allison accesses her powers through dreams. These nightmares are usually vague and often provide additional clues with each recurring dream. The formula for the show is that she must interpret these images and signs in time to do whatever it is she needs to do.She works as an assistant for the Phoenix District Attorney’s Office, but only the DA and one cop know how she comes across her tips.
Patricia Arquette is actually very good in the role, but I have to say there’s something about her performance, or perhaps the character itself, that does wear thin after too long. There are certain mannerisms that just begin to annoy me after more than one or two episodes at a time. The DA is played marvelously by Miguel Sandoval, and fortunately for us he is given a lot more to do in this third year. We get to meet his wife and watch him on a more personal level as he deals with diabetes this season. David Cubitt plays Detective Lee Scanlon with a ton of levels that make him the most viewer friendly character on the show. Allison has a family that often suffers the brunt of her nightmares and work for the DA. Jake Weber plays husband Joe with an almost deadpan style that makes him always a secondary character no matter who else is in the scene. I guess part of that is intentional, as I know I’d be rather dumbfounded in his circumstances. The upside is, when he does react emotionally, it is more powerful stuff. Sofia Vasssilieva shows a tremendous amount of maturity both on camera and in her interview sound bites for a child actor. She plays Ariel, the older daughter. Maria Lark is the cute factor and specializes in making faces as Bridgette, the middle daughter. Miranda Carabello is the newcomer as the growing baby daughter in the family.
If Medium has a fatal flaw it is that they attempt to do too much in one episode. This is a complicated world that quite honestly can wear you out before an hour is over. You have the family dynamics with the three girls beginning to display Allison’s talents. Poor Joe is stuck not only in a houseful of women, but psychic women at that. You have the usual chase for the bad guy and all of the dynamics involved there. Finally, each episode tends to run some creative ground that is cool at times and brutally obnoxious others. I stopped watching on television around the time of the first season episode The Song Remains The Same where you hear the song I Will Survive over and over again until I just had to turn it off. This season you get an animated section and a Barbie doll playhouse version of Allison’s nightmares. Cute for a while, but as usual taken to extreme.
There are some really nice episodes in this set. Very Merry Maggie is the doll episode and is pretty nice until the dolls are just overused. The season starts on solid ground with the two-parter Four Dreams that makes sure every character has some solid screen time and phenomenal moments. Also, Arquette’s real husband plays a dead ex-boyfriend who won’t go away. Finally Blood Relations adds an Old West flavor to the show and is a very welcome escape from the show’s normal formula.
On disc 1:
Drawing On Dreams. This is a 6 minute look at the animation sequence. You see the process from concept to storyboard to animation.
Disc 5 contains the following features:
Directing With David Arquette: Arquette, Patricia’s brother, got to direct an episode, and here we get to hear his take on the show as well as other cast and crew members. He brags about his first directed film a lot, The Tripper.
Acting Is My Racquet: It appears that Miguel Sandoval is quite the racquet sports nut. You get to see him clown around while playing tennis, ping pong and badminton.
Disc 6 contains the last of the extras.
The Story Of Medium Season Three: Each of the 22 episodes is examined by cast and crew for a 19 minute breakdown of the third season..
Gag Reel: These are getting quite commonplace on these sets, and you get about 7 minutes of missed lines and pratfalls here.
The Making Of Medium Season Three: F/x make up a huge part of this show, and we get a breakdown of many of these episode-specific f/x in this the longest feature at 25 minutes. Basically it takes many of the episodes, pulls out a particular effect, and lets us see how it was done from age makeup work to some of the blood effects.