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Title: Medium - The Complete Series

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:75

With the serialization of so many TV shows over the years it’s sometimes nice to just be able to sit down in front of the TV and watch an episodic show where you don’t have to worry about being “caught up” from the previous weeks and can just watch on its own merit. Kind of like “CSI” or “Law and Order” you can just watch a single episode or two and not miss out on anything previously. Basically, watch an hour long (or 45 minutes after filtering out commercials) self-contained movie and just relax. I’ve watched countless shows that follow this path over the years and have enjoyed many of them, but 2005’s “Medium” feels very different even though it follows many of the standard genre tropes. Mostly because the powers that be infused the classic 1 hour mystery genre with the supernatural genre, but also because they made their main heroine an “everyday” type of person. Even though Allison Dubois (Patricia Arquette) can speak to the dead, she’s not your typical female heroine. Instead of being some independent career woman she’s a mom with three kids, a loving husband and just likes to help out the Phoenix D.A. put away scumbags with her skills of talking to the dead.

As with all these shows there is a hook. With NCIS it’s their job. Naval criminal investigative services, “Law and Order” it’s that they’re lawyers. With “Medium” it’s not JUST that she speaks to the dead. It’s the nature of the crimes. The supernatural element actually gets downplayed quite a bit in the show, and it’s less “spooky” than you’d expect. What keeps the show unique and fresh is the TYPE of cases that come up in the Phoenix D.A.’s office. Usually the crime of the week tends to be something rather sickening and perverse (for broadcast TV). Rapists, pedophiles, child abductors, wife beaters and the like. The kind of crimes that naturally makes the viewers enraged against the perpetrator. More so than your average murderer or kidnapper featured in many shows. Even though NBC never SHOWS anything that bad on screen, the episodes feel a little macabre and creepy as a result of that bend.

“Medium” has its ups and downs, but it carries a very steady progression throughout the seven seasons running from 2005-2011. There’s no massive storylines that get pushed like in “Bones” or “NCIS”, but some minor serialization does occur, usually between Allison and her husband, Joe (Jake Weber). In fact, that’s where most of the humanization comes from, Allison and Joe’s relationship. That’s one aspect of “Medium” that really appealed to many of the viewers. Besides Allison’s supernatural abilities, she and her husband are just an average couple. They fight, they have squabbles, they raise 3 beautiful girls and have friends outside of the D.A.’s office. Many times, much of the case is solved while Allison is off duty even though there is plenty of legal proceedings that she has to navigate as well. Especially with D.A. Manuel Devalos using her on the sly to solve cases without the rest of the legal staff knowing that he’s using the services of a “Medium” (something which makes for some fun conflicts as they have to wind in and out of legality to prove Allison’s “hunches” since no jury or judge is going to believe a psychic medium).

Creator/Producer Glenn Gordon Caron did the smart thing here. He knew that the supernatural element of the show could easily get out of hand, turning it into a sci-fi show more than a police/procedural mystery show if he didn’t have some grounding element. As a result, he made Allison and Joe’s relationship the grounding element as the more “real” these people seemed to the viewer the more the supernatural elements could be accepted without going off the rails into “The X-Files” territory. Something that Caron has made very clear that he didn’t want to copy. Personally, I think he did a terrific job in that respect. There’s a much more “homey” vibe to the series than most and the interpersonal stuff actually makes for some of the more compelling elements of the series run.

Despite its successes and long running status (7 seasons is nothing to sneeze at), “Medium” had its fair share of road blocks. In 2008 or 2009 the show was cancelled early by NBC (which is why season 5 has a shortened episode runtime), but was luckily rescued for another two seasons by CBS. NBC is known for these type of stunts (although not nearly as bad as Fox is. We probably would have only gotten 2 seasons if Fox was in control), but I guess the ratings weren’t as high as they were for the first couple of years. Thanks to CBS we get a more natural conclusion to the show, although they did expand the format a bit in those later seasons. More supernatural elements were focused upon (like Allison and her daughter Bridget pulling a “Freaky Friday” body switch in the last season’s opening episodes). All in all, the series is a blast to watch. Personally, I felt it was one of the more criminally under rated shows in the mid 2000-2010 era as most people I know only vaguely remember the show (even though it only ended like 6 or 7 years ago). The great performances by Arquette and Jake Weber make for some fun watches and I’ve been having a blast chewing through the 7 seasons the last few weeks.


Not Rated

Video :4stars:

“Medium” uses the same DVDs as the 2006 released sets so if you’ve seen those individual seasons then you know exactly what you’re getting. Back then they were scene as solid DVD encodes, but looking back at then they lose a little bit of their luster due to breakthroughs in compression technology. The seven seasons were all shot the same with, with the same cameras, so they retain roughly the same look from years to year (well, besides changing hairstyles that is). The first few seasons look the grainiest, but around season 3 the show looks a bit crisper and cleaner than the previous two years. Colors are nice and vibrantly warm, with solid saturation levels and a fairly neutral balance to the show. Blacks can have some crush and digital noise tossed into the mix and some very mild macroblocking can be seen in the darker shots. “Medium” maintains a healthy looking encode that is typical of your average TV show being brought to 480p.

Audio :3.5stars:

The 5.1 audio mix for “Medium” was always a bit lacking and it’s even more so as the DVDs have aged. The mix is decidedly front heavy, almost completely so in fact. 99% of the show is centered in the front three channels with a majority of THAT majority right in the center channel with the dialog. The rest of the shows ambiance is shared in the mains and MAYBE a flicker in the side surrounds. LFE is fairly minimal and usually only pops up for a car crash, a balloon going “pow!”, or the opening theme music. Beyond that it’s really a 3.0 track for the most part. Which isn’t surprising considering the made for TV source that is indicative of early 2000 era dramas. It’s not a bad track, as the dialog is strong and crisp and the mains do a good job with special imaging, it just doesn’t utilize the full 5.1 experience that modern TV shows do.

Extras :3stars:
• The Making of Medium, Season One
• The Story of Medium, Season One
• Interpreting Allison DuBois
• The Real Allison Dubois
• The Story of Medium, Season Two
• Medium in Another Dimension
• A Day in the Life of the DuBois Daughters
• The Museum of Television & Radio Q&A with Cast and Creative Team
• Drawing On Dreams
• Directing with David Arquette
• Acting is My "Racquet"
• The Story of Medium, Season Three
• The Making of Medium, Season Three
• Joe's Crayon Dream
• Introducing Cynthia Keener
• The Making of Medium, Season Four
• Script to Screen: "Apocalypse Now"
• Curious Maria
• The Making of Medium, Season Five
• Jake and Patricia Q&A
• The 100th Episode of Medium: A Celebration
• Zombies on the Loose: The Making of "Bite Me"
• The Mind Behind Medium
• The Music of Medium
• Non-Fat Double Medium
• The Making of Medium, Season Seven
• Memories of Medium
• Medium: Shadows & Light
• Meet Detective Lee Scanton
• Medium Around the World
• Audio Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• TV Spots
• Gag Reel

Overall: :4stars:

“Medium” is a fun deviation in your standard episodic criminal drama genre. We’ve seen TONS of these types of shows, from “Law and Order”, to “NCIS” to “CSI” and even a few oddball ones. “Medium” makes its mark by veering away from the tried and true police thrillers and mixing in a nice dose of the paranormal counterbalanced by some very “human” character moments that spring up from Allison’s “everyday mom” persona. It’s fresh, but also very familiar, and makes for fun watching. The show was originally put out season by season from 2006-2011, and this boxset utilizes the same discs like most of paramount’s “complete” series recently. If you have the individual seasons than I see no reason to upgrade unless you want the space savings, but if you HAVEN’T bought the show just yet than this is a dirt-cheap way of doing so. Recommended for a fun watch.

Additional Information:

Starring: Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber
Created by: Glenn Gordon Caron
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Mpeg2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: CBS/Paramount
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 5622 Minutes
DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Buy Medium - The Complete Series On DVD at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended

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