Friday, April 21, 2006


While listening to the Slice of Sci-Fi podcast the other day they spoke about the TV show Medium. This is the show where Patricia Arquette plays a character who dreams the future and can talk to dead people. Supposedly, this character is based on real life medium, Allison DuBois. I checked her out and she has a new book coming out about her life. She claims on her website that the show is an accurate portrayal of her life with a little "Hollywood Magic" thrown in. Her husband, Joe, is accurately portrayed on the show as well, she says, and her daughters all are developing their own abilities.

I started watching this show from the first day it came out. I probably watched about five episodes and then sporadically caught some others. I left the show because as the summary on the official website put it, her husband comes to believe in her abilities and she must convince her boss, a D.A., that her visions can help people in the cases she is working on. The stories are good, I give them that. The personal lives of the people she comes in contact with need her help (ala 6th Sense) and they appeal to her to help them (ala 6th Sense) solve their questionable deaths. The problem comes in where after five episodes, her husband still is skeptical and unamazed at her powers and her boss, in every single show I watched, despite the fact that she has been right every time, still holds doubts about her contribution to solving cases.

If my wife came to me and said she had suddenly developed powers of perception, I would be skeptical too. If one of my employees closed the door to my office and mentioned the fact that they dreamed some things about our job that would help us, I'd probably entertain them for fear of them snapping and bludgeoning me with a tape dispenser. However, if, after they came to me five, six, seven times with this information and every time they were 100% accurate predictions, I'd be their biggest supporter. From the shows I’ve watched this progress was painfully slow.

Now, I realize that in a story there must be conflict for it to be interesting but the writers should have thought of different ways for her to have personal conflict. Yes, the husband is sometimes peeved because she takes off for various locales following ghosts to the places they died pointing out evidence and he is stuck home with the kids but you'd think that with her higher calling, eventually he'd understand a little. Also, if she's so good at this sort of thing and she is using her powers for good, doesn't somebody in the DA office got her back, especially her boss who probably comes out looking like King Midas when she solves all these cases for him?

The concept and the stories are really good, but to keep the personal drama up there was a reset aspect to the show where the people around her kind of regressed to their old skepticism at the beginning of each episode. Also, Joe (Allison’s aerospace engineering husband), have some sympathy for the poor girl. She wakes up in the middle of the night after seeing visions of horror and death and you bitch cause you can't sleep!

I do remember one episode that highlighted one of her daughter’s developing abilities that was quite good. Her husband was convinced that the girl was advancing in her Math skills exponentially. As he helped her with her homework, she became savant-like in solving complex math problems. By the end, it was discovered that she was not favoring his mathematic genes but Allison’s ESP traits. She was reading her father’s mind to solve the problem. Of course, like any American male, his ego was crushed to think that the wife was a bigger influence and his inherent abilities at advanced math were manipulated by the girl. That was a brilliant turn of events in the storytelling.

I see that the show won an Emmy award recently and that they are going to have some high profile guest stars on the show like Molly Ringwald(?) With the writing centered on the main themes being so good, I think the producers are coughing up some bucks to bring attention to their little spec fiction show. To me, that's a good thing. Any attention to a well-written and moderately successful show that is alternative or speculative is fine with me. Just please; tell me they've improved the relationships this girl has with her husband and boss.

Except for those little annoying problems, I have rediscovered this show’s better qualities. The stories are good, the characters are real but the development of their relationship to Allison needs to be improved. The creator of the show, Glenn Gordon Caron, worked on Moonlighting, which practically invented the idea of ongoing sexual tension on prime time TV between Bruce Willis and Cybill Sheppard. This will explain some of the lingering tension between Allison, Joe and the boss. It worked before and it might just worked again. Personally, I think the show benefits from maturing characters not sophomoric sexual tension that Moonlighting did so well. Having said that, I plan to watch Medium again.



slap me happy said...

Check out her first Book "Don't kiss them good bye". It will shed a lot of light on where she is coming from. It is a very honest portrayal and she is not big on polishing every word before she prints either. Honest to a fault!

ObilonKenobi said...

I will. I saw her promo on her website for the book. Thanks for posting. I like to ask new posters how they found me? BTW, if you like stories with a supernatural twist see my book. Thanks.

The Phoenix said...

Yeah, I'm the same as you. I watched the first several episodes pretty religiously, but just haven't had the time to watch since.

The show's writing is very good, but I totally agree with you on the hubby and boss seemingly forget what's happened thus far.

Other than that, it's always interesting to watch an unwilling hero save the day.

ObilonKenobi said...

Phoenix. I am going to try to pick up the show again since they won the Emmy. I'll let you know how it is working out but if the husband and/or the boss haven't made progress, I'm not watchin'!

The Phoenix said...

I'd like to see them develop the storyline of her daughter's growing power. I think that would be great. I also noticed that the show was heavily reliant on serial killers the first several episodes.

I think they need more stories where she's working to prevent something really bad instead of trying to find the killer of a murder that already happened. And I don't think they necessarily need to deal with just murders.

How about lost people? Or victims of abuse? Or runaways? Cylons?

OK...I got carried away there.

ObilonKenobi said...

Cylons would be cool!