OHHHHHHHHHH BOY! Where to begin on this? Well it stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a medium, a la James Van Praagh. Actually he’s the producer on the show. I wonder if he’ll make small cameos like he did in this summer’s mini-mini-series (it was that small) "Living with the Dead", which was his semi-autobiography. Praagh could be spotted playing the organ in a church. You could miss him if you blinked.
Ok back to the review at hand. JLH stars as Melinda Gordon, a medium living a seemingly perfect life. She has a loving fresh brand-new husband unit, a small store with Aisha Tyler playing her employee and good friend Andrea Moreno. From the pilot she seems to be the plot device for Melinda to explain what goes on when she has her super-natural dilemmas.
Melinda, we learn in a short back-story presentation, has had this gift since birth and so does her grandmother and together they work to connect the dead to the living so they can say their goodbyes and go in peace. And it was a sweet scene, in the church, with a younger and confused Melinda transmits a widow’s husband’s last words of goodbye by whispering them in her ear and the new widow weeps with joy.
Then we cut to what is the most vomit-inducing opening credits scene I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s just horrible. It has pictures of JLH with horrible Barbie doll clothes and horrible Barbie doll hair and it just sells the show horribly. From all the promos and ads, I only got the feeling this would be Medium crossed with Touched by an Angel. A goody-goody show with a loving heart string tugging message at the end of each episode. The opening just makes it worse. But I keep watching anyway.
At her wedding, Melinda is dancing with her new hubby when in the window, a person’s breath appears and the tracing of an invisible finger, draws a compass rose. This is the first clue. The couple goes home, to their new home, a very old house in dire need of rebuilding. The couple itself is simply unbelievable. A just-married couple should be hornier than a ten peckered owl and yet we don’t even get a feel for chemistry between the two.
Then the makes-sense part is just thrown out the window. The couple is in bed, sleeping, with lit candles on the window sill with thin and highly flammable curtains blowing in the wind. Am I the only one who sees the insanity in this? But it gets even more non-sensical seconds later. And no I’m not talking about the candles being blown-out without the curtains moving. I expect this level of detail when dealing with the super-natural.
I’m talking about a bedroom scene with a just-married couple after making the beast with two backs and she gets out of bed wearing three layers of clothes. Who the hell has sweaty crazy monkey sex and then puts on three layers clothes and goes back to bed? Maybe it’s just me but I just don’t see that happening. And I doubt it’s because the show is most likely targeted at a family audience, because the next night she’s sleeping alone and now she has a sexy pyjama-thingy going on. Author shakes head in confusion at these simple in your face mistakes. Not that I needed to see JLH in her jamies – though it wouldn’t bother moi, it’s just that if you’re gonna show it, do it right.
But anyhow, she gets a visitation from a dead-looking Viet-Nam era dressed soldier who doesn’t know where he is. The dead guy is played by none other than Wentworth Miller, star of Fox’s Prison Break.
The next morning she comes in to her store and she’s received a package, clue number two. It’s a big military compass. She and Andrea got to lunch, where she tells Andrea that they never visit her at home. “That’s not how it works”, she tells her.
So her adventure begins for her to meet dead-guy again where she learns he died in a chopper crash and his last thought was that he would never hold his son. Melinda quickly finds the son, through a series of coincidences and guides (A dog running across the street, for example). Along the way, other ghosts are met and are guided or guide the loved ones left behind, via Melinda. Eventually the Dead-guy meets his son by proxy of Melinda and he can now rest. That’s how the pilot ends, with Dead-guy and Melinda at the cemetery for his own funeral after his body was found. Not a second after Dead-guy goes to the light that a family of grievers are seen around a grave. The father looks back at Melinda, comes closer and creepily asks: “You can see us?” Fade to black.
I honestly don’t know what to make of this show. It’s too goody-goody and at the same time, treats on a subject matter that’s always interested me. JLH isn’t the best actress but she’s just lovable and huggable. The content seems like it was filtered through the Touched by an Angel formula and yet has an ever so little, but present feel of eeriness. It’s too cutesy, nice and feel-good, but still it works. As a whole it’s bland and formulaic and yet captivating at the same time. I want to hate it, but just can’t bring myself to. But I’m a guy who can easily transition from Metallica’s Master of Puppets to Sarah McLachlin’s Solace in one listen. It all depends on my mood I guess.
I’ll give it a jury’s-still-out 3 outta 5.Powered by Sidelines