Out of all the “paranormal” series out there on mainstream television, I have to confess that I find Medium to be the one of the better entries. Inspired by a real-life psychic named Allison DuBois, Medium gives us an entirely fictional crime drama so that viewers don’t fall asleep repeatedly. Our heroine of the series, Allison (Patricia Arquette), is a very happily married woman with three girls in Phoenix, Arizona. Employed with the local District Attorney (Miguel Sandoval), Allison is frequently haunted by dreams and visions — usually regarding murder cases and kidnappings. And, while many people have their doubts over the real Allison’s abilities, the on-screen Allison always manages to come through for us.
In season five, Allison’s daughters (Sofia Vassilieva, Maria Lark, and Miranda & Madison Carabello) begin to show either advanced or beginning signs of having inherited their mother’s psychic abilities. Meanwhile, her faithful hubby Joe (Jake Weber, who is excellent as always, but still needs to work on his American accent) is busy trying to get his start-up company off the ground.
Episodes range from the deadly serious to the extremely lighthearted (a hilarious episode in which Arquette switches bodies with guest star Jeffrey Tambor is practically on par with a big-screen comedy). Anjelica Huston returns from season four for an episode. The ever creepy David Morse shows up for a three-parter as an industrial tycoon who entices Allison to come work for him and share her dreams (“How To Make A Killing In Business”). And co-star David Cubitt still manages to do his best impersonation of Jason Statham, Vince Vaughn, and Jason Evers all at the same time (hey, it isn’t an easy thing to pull off).
As a side-note: this may be the last box set to see the light of day from CBS/Paramount — the series was dropped by CBS at the end of season five, only to be picked up by network rival NBC. But, there’s no telling in this day and age.
On DVD, CBS/Paramount presents Medium: The Fifth Season in a lovely 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The colors are vivid and the contrast is very nice. Eighteen episodes (including one double-length episode) are squeezed onto five dual-layered discs, with a choice of English 5.1 Dolby Digital or English Stereo sound. I only bothered with the 5.1, which came through rather well — although the rear speakers were left hanging every now and again. No subtitle options are given with this release.
The selection of special features with Medium: The Fifth Season appear to be fewer than the previous season sets. There are four featurettes (ranging from five to 30 minutes in length), found on discs two, four, and five. The most interesting featurette of all has to be the “Jake And Patricia: Q&A,” wherein cast member Jake Weber interviews actress/producer Patricia Arquette à la Charlie Rose.
Sure, it might be the only TV series out there with enough garbanzo beans to use the dreaded "Papyrus" font in its credits. But, when you get right down to the heart of it, Medium is a fun, addictive show that treats its audience with enough respect and manages to keep them coming back. Granted, I haven’t seen the new NBC shows at this point in time, so you may not want to quote me on that as yet.