Medium: Season Three
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (2nd March 2008).
The Show

'Death takes care of itself, life needs your attention.'

The most meaningful line of dialogue of the season and the line that most describes the series. It's said about two-thirds through the season but it encompasses what the ideas and concepts have pointed to since the first episode of the season. The show follows Allison Dubois (Patricia Arquette) as she solves crimes thanks to her special sensitivity to receive messages from the other side.

Also in the show are her husband Joe (Jack Webber), her three daughters, Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva), Bridgette (Maria Lark) and Marie (Miranda Carabello). She works part-time as a 'consultant' to district attorney Manuel Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) and is helped out by detective Lee Scanlon (David Cubitt). The season also has some pretty nice guest stars, such as Thomas Jane, Kurtwood Smith, Howie Mandel (in a funny 'Dead or No Deal' spoof) and Neve Campbell, to name some. Everybody does a very nice job, especially Patricia Arquette and Maria Lark. Mrs. Arquette and Jack Webber have very nice chemistry together and you really believe theyíve been married for a while.

The season starts and ends with very strong arcs. The ending especially surprised me and I'm quite interested in knowing how season four started. The continuity between the episodes is very nice and there are frequent references to past events. The episodes themselves are very nicely written (with one glaring plot hole, discussed in the next paragraph) and the mysteries are well thought out. 'The One Behind the Wheel' and 'The Boy Next Door' show a sharp sense of intelligence and play a lot with conventions of storytelling and these are probably my favorite episodes of the season.

On the down side, a lot of the episodes are fairly forgettable. Offhand, I wouldn't be able to remember the plot unless someone told me the story. Another problem I had (and this is a pretty logical one), is that the family is sensitive to messages from the other side. Allison (and her daughters, for that matter) gets bits and pieces of the story throughout the episode. When the climax comes around, they get the all the information they need. Why then, don't they get shown all the necessary information from the start? Wouldn't it be easier that way?

Allison is also ridiculously well-adjusted for someone who has gruesome nightmares seemingly every night. I suppose in her life she's gotten used to being woken up night after night after having nightmares of murders, beatings and worse. She must also not get a lot of sleep, but thatís something that I won't go into. The tone of the series is pretty light, which gives the chance for the writers to makes some nice jokes, some of which are pretty black.

'Medium' is not a show I would have watched on my own, but I found it enjoyable. The season was not the best television I've ever seen but I enjoyed the interplay between Patricia Arquette and Jack Webber, and the stories were pretty interesting, as well. If nothing else, the season had some nice ideas to put forth. In fact, the very first lines of the season are so poignant, they could easily have been the first lines of the series, or the last.

Here is a breakdown of the season by disc.

disc 1:
Four Dreams (Parts 1 & 2) (1:2437)
Allison Dubois talks about dreams and what makes us human. Meanwhile, the ghost of her old boyfriend haunts her house, maybe telling her something about some home invasions that have been going on. You learn here that Bridgette has some of the sensitivity her mom possesses. This is a great start to the season. Patricia Arquette's real-life husband, Thomas Jane, guest stars.

Be Kind, Rewind (43:17)
In this 'Groundhog Day'-type storyline, Allison dreams of the same day over and over again, and she has the chance to fix her mistakes of the previous dream.

Blood Relations (43:03)
This is part of the Dr. Walker saga (seen in 'Penny for Your Thoughts' and ‚ÄėDoctor's Orders'), where Allison finally has the chance to figure out what's going on with Walker.

disc 2:
Ghost in the Machine (43:03)
Allison busy a camcorder for her husband and she stars seeing what was previous recorded on it. Meanwhile, a sniper kills random motorists from overpasses.

Profiles in Terror (42:28)
In this episode, Allison had dreams of a serial killer, which her idol tried to catch ten years prior. Luckily for her, he happens to be working on this particular serial killer case with her. It's also learned in this episode that Allison's youngest daughter may have some special sensitivity. Kurtwood Smith guest stars.

Mother's Little Helper (41:57)
Remember 'Carrie'? This episode stars like that. It's actually an excellently-made homage. This time, Ariel is also having dreams, this time of the mother and daughter that are killed at the start of the episode. Ariel also has to prepare for the big dance coming up. The climax also has a very nice use of split-screen.

The Whole Truth (42:50)
Allison has dreams of a boy trapped down a hole in the ground. At the same time, a prominent city politician is found dead, seemingly by suicide. Perhaps the two things are connected?

disc 3:
Better Off Dead (41:22)
A couple of ghosts seek out Allison's help, after they're murdered. The funny thing is that one of hem doesn't really want to figure out who killed him.

Very Merry Maggie (43:21)
Allison has dreams of being a doll, and this connects to a little boy whose father dies.

Apocalypse, Push (42:12)
A couple of people go on a killing spree, but nobody can figure out why. Someone has dreams of the pair, but it's not Allison, it's one of her old friends from Texas.

The One Behind the Wheel (43:04)
Allison wakes up in bed and doesnít remember anything. This is an interesting twist in that this is an episode where everybody else knows the right information except the main character. This is also the Valentine's Day episode.

disc 4:
Second Opinion (42:50)
After a dream of her future, Allison is worried about cancer in her family. The safety of her family is also on her mind.

We Had a Dream (42:37)
This is a continuation of 'S.O.S.' from season 2. Allison and Sonny Troyer have the same dream, and convicted felon Sonny Troyer may end up escaping from prison. Eric Stoltz guest stars.

The Boy Next Door (42:08)
A teenage Allison has dreams of being middle-aged and married. You see her almost meet her future husband. Peri Gilpin guest stars as Allison's mom.

Whatever Possessed You (41:16)
This time, Allison has dreams about a priest who happens to be Devalos's best friend, and a possessed woman.

disc 5:
Joe Day Afternoon (42:32)
Allison has a bad dream concerning Joe and she doesn't think he should go to work today. Adam Goldberg and Larry Miller guest star.

1-900-LUCKY (42:15)
Allison's brother, Michael, comes to Phoenix as a sleazy phone-psychic, who happens to be able to speak to a dead person, the killer of whom is being sought by the police.

No One to Watch Over Me (43:33)
Allison keeps seeing snow everywhere, which is strange because she lives in Phoenix. She ends up discovering a frozen body.

disc 6:
Head Games (43:10)
There's a big trial going on, one with a man accused of cutting off the head of his wife. Also, Allison makes a new friend. Jason Priestly and Neve Campbell guest star until the end of the season.

Heads Will Roll (43:08)
After the last moment of the previous episode, Allison is a bit shaken. The Joe mini-arc started in 'Joe Day Afternoon' continues. Arye Gross and Howie Mandel guest star.

Everything Comes to a Head (44:14)
As the title of the episode says, everything from the past few episodes come together here, and it makes for a very good season finale.

Video

1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The show has a very nice picture throughout the season. Colours are always accurate, either dim or saturated as needed. The picture also exhibits little noise, except in cases of hard scenes to transfer. The picture may seem a bit flat, but thereís a nice sense of depth most of the time, with the sharpness and level of detail being quite nice. Thereís no (or very little) edge enhancement, and print defects are non-existent. This is a very nice picture.

Audio

Two audio options are present: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The 5.1 track presents a very nice mix. Positions are accurate and bring you into Allisonís dreams at times with a very natural environment. The dialogue is always clear, though sometimes mixed in a bit low, I find. This is not a bit problem, but itís something I noticed. The score uses up the side and rear speakers nicely, spreading the atmosphere very nicely. The track is very nice and a very effective one for a television show.

Extras

Paramount and CBS were very nice to this set, with a very nice set of extras. Disc one starts off with an audio commentary on 'Four Dreams (Part 1)' by creator Glen Gordon Caron and executive producer Larry Teng. These two guys have a lot to say, but there's still a lot of dead air. The writing process is mentioned, with how this particular episode came about. The logictics, actors and character evolution are mentioned, as well. The animated bits are also expanded upon, which is quite interesting for 'Johnnie Bravo' fans. They try to stick with whatís new in this season, which means they sometimes stretch for things to say, but itís an overall good track. Additonally, 'Four Dreams (Part 2)' has an audio commentary by supervising producer/episode director Aaron Lipstadt and co-executive producer/episode co-writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach. These two men are a bit more lively than the first part's pair. They first talk about the technicalities of the show, and shooting various scenes. They also talk about the guest stars and about making this episode as well as how the third season went. They also talk about keeping the show real, even given its subject matter. Again, it's a nice track, enjoyable for fans of the show.

Disc one also has the Drawing on Dreams] featurette (7:04). This is a talk about the animated sequences in ‚ÄėFour Dreamsí. The crew talk about how the designed the sequences and why they wanted animation. You see how the scenes were done and how much work went into making the animated bits. It's an interesting featurette. Some Deleted Scenes on the episode 'Blood Relations'. There are two scenes, 'The Charles Walker Files' (1:48) with Allison trying to find some files, and 'Amandaís in Danger' (1:29), where Allison tries to convince Lee to get more security on Amanda. These two scenes are kind of redundant and donít really need to be in the episode.

Some random Previews are also here: 'CSI: Miami', 'CSI', 'CSI: NY', 'Numbers', 'NCIS', 'Medium' and 'The 4400' (1:47), 'Dexter: Season One' (0:38), 'Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box' (1:40), 'Ghost Whisperer: Season Two' (0:53). The last two are also start-up trailers.

Disc two only has one Deleted Scene, from the episode 'Profiles in Terror'. 'Cooper Shoots Gomez' (1:41) and it just bridges a small gap in exposition, though it's not really necessary. It just shows Cooper's character concerning the past case. Disc three has some more Deleted Scenes. 'Very Merry Maggie' has two scenes, 'Allison and Joe Alone' (1:14) and 'The Doll' (0:25). They simply expand on the emotions of Allison and Joe, but ultimately only repeat what's in the episode. Additionally, 'Apocalypse, Push' has 'Looking at the Map' (0:24) and 'Elevator Talk' (0:22). With their short running times, they don't really add too much, apart from very short bits of logic that can easily be explained.

Disc four continues with another audio commentary on 'Whatever Possessed You' by actor/episode director Miguel Sandoval and production designer Jessica Kender. Mr. Sandoval talks a lot about his ideas in directing and how his ideas had to fit in with the concepts the show created. He also talks about his casting ideas and his role as a director. Mrs. Kender mentions the layout the sets a few times, which is pretty interesting. How some the pieces connect together is pretty inventive. These two have a nice time talking about the episode, and you should enjoy it.

There are also a couple of Deleted Scenes. Episode 'Second Opinion' has 'A Busy Day for Allison' (2:26), which shows more of Allison's obsession with cleanliness. It also shows a bit more of the case being worked on. It's a nice scene, but I suppose it was too long to include in the episode. Episode 'The Boy Next Door' has one scene, 'Someone Outside' (1:13), and this scene isn't quite necessary. It just adds more suspicion on the guy.

Disc five has a couple of featurettes. Directing with David Arquette (5:30) is first. David Arquette directed '1-900-LUCKY' and this is about him directed this episode. The creators talk about working with the actor and how his sensibilities go well with the show. It's a very short and light featurette, but nice to watch. The other is Acting is My "Racquet" (8:04). This is about Miguel Sandoval (who likes sports involving raquets). This is all about tennis and ping pong, and how obsessed Mr. Sandoval is with these sports. This is 8 minutes of the entire cast and crew talking about someone's obsession with ping pong and suchlike.

Disc six finishes off the set with more featurettes. [b]The Story of Medium: Season Three (19:53) talks about the various plots in season three. The creators and actors talk about the important episodes, like the first and last episode arcs and a few episodes focussing on various characters. A nice featurette, though the information given isnít the most exciting.

There's also a Gag Reel (7:00). As may be expected, this is a collection of goofs, flubbed lines and people hitting things. It may seem long, at 7 minutes, but the first minute is pointless introduction. A lot of scenes have actors mugging for the camera, but some of these are actually pretty funny.

There's The Making of Medium: Season Three (25:17). This is the longest featurette and a pretty good one. The cast and crew go through the season, explaining how various shots were made. Car crashes, the 'Carrie' reference, aging Patricia Arquette and Jack Webber, creating the sinkhole, and many other little moments are shown. It's a very nice and carries a nice amount of detail, considering how many things they show you.

Lastly, there are some Deleted Scenes. There are four scenes from 'Head Games', the first part of the season finale arc. There is 'Devalos Sums It Up' (3:21), which has Devalosís closing statements from the case, 'Depressed, Not Angry' (2:11), which is about Joeís therapy sessions, 'Inspecting the Car' (0:26) and 'Walter Sums It Up' (4:58). These are all extensions that are too long to be in the episodes intact. They're pared down very nicely for the episodes, though and their uncut nature doesnít add too much, but they inject a little bit of fullness to the emotions and characters.

Overall

The Show: B- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: B Overall: B

 


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