Medium made a jump in its 5th season. NBC axed the show, but the folks at CBS decided to pick it up and continue the series. It’s not a huge leap, actually. CBS was already showing the similar and better Ghost Whisperer, and the series was produced by the CBS parent company, Paramount. That means that the production team pretty much stays intact and the show doesn’t really suffer any kind of transition. The same can be said for the release. The packaging and production values are pretty much identical to the previous four years.
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 Allison 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. Now that her secret is out, she’s not able to continue her work at the DA’s office. Joe’s career is also in jeopardy, so the show is going through some changes here. The strike likely did some damage, so we may never know exactly what was in store.
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. 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. 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.
As the 5th season begins things are actually quite normal, or as close to normal as the Dubois household gets. Allison is back in the DA’s office. The public now knows what she can do, but the big press stuff has blown over. Joe is finally starting his own business, something he’s been trying to do for a couple of seasons now. The girls are growing up. Miranda Carabello and her twin sister play the youngest girl, who is finally talking. For the young actresses that means lines. There aren’t any cast shake-ups, so it gets back to business as usual for the series. Fans might actually find this to be the best of the seasons so far. There’s less over the top gimmickry, and the cast gets a chance to really carry the episodes.
Each episode of Medium is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The picture looks every bit as good as the HD broadcasts on my satellite television system. Colors are outstanding, as is the level of detail. Black levels never fail to produce fine shadow detail. The animated episode carries incredibly bright colors. There isn’t any overt problem with compression artifact. This is always a very sweet picture presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track works very well to spread out many of the show’s claustrophobic moments. While not extremely aggressive, you get a good scence of space with the ambient channels. Dialog is clear and always placed correctly compared with what’s on the screen. Occasionally musical cues are a little louder than I’d like, but the clarity and quality is always consistent.
The episodes are spread out over a collection of 5 single-sided discs. The extras are also a little scattered, but I’ll tell you exactly where to find what. There are less extras here than in previous seasons.
Script To Screen – Apocalypse … Now: (7:56) A look at the post apocalyptic dream episode. All of the cast and crew join in to offer their insights. We get a look at some set construction and see first time director Larry Teng shoot his first episode of the series.
Curious Maria: (10:21) Maria Lark, who plays Bridget on the series, interviews several crew members. It’s an amusing bit, and Lark sure can bring the cute.
The Making Of Medium Season Five: (27:15) Cast and crew examine the season and several episodes are profiled.
Jake And Patricia Q&A: (22:59) cast members Jake Weber and Patricia Arquette joke around as Weber attempts to interview her Charlie Rose style..
The network switch really didn’t do anything that fans would notice on the DVD releases. Expect the very same things. Actually, they may be a bit better this time around. The show is very easy to join in progress this time around. After a short strike condensed season and a cancellation, “It’s nice to see you again, Mrs. Dubois”.