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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Medium: The Complete Fifth Season
Medium: The Complete Fifth Season
Paramount // Unrated // October 6, 2009
List Price: $60.90 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 23, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Created by Glenn Gordon Caron ("Moonlighting") and exec-produced by Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") and based upon the real-life Allison DuBois, "Medium" is a successful NBC series starring Patricia Arquette as DuBois, a psychic who uses her unique talents to see the future, read thoughts and communicate with the deceased. All of these abilities are used to help people and assist the Phoenix, Arizona, district attorney's office - headed by Phoenix District Attorney Devalos, (Miguel Sandoval) - in solving crimes.

Allison is supported by her husband, Joe (Jake Weber), who - by the third season - has come to accept his wife's gift. The two also have three children: Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva), Bridget (Maria Lark) and Marie (Madison and Miranda Carabello). While the two older children - Ariel and Bridget - have shown to be paranormally inclined, in the third season, youngest child Marie also started to show signs of having the same gift, as well. The episodes continue to revolve around Allison's visions, and her attempts to unlock what these visions are trying to communicate to her.

The fourth season threw Allison's life into disarray, as her secret gift is revealed to the public and soonafter, everything falls apart: Davalos is fired, she loses her position and Joe also finds himself looking for work. The series mines some very strong drama out of the upheaval that occurs in the lives of the characters.

As the season goes on, the characters find themselves facing change and starting to try to climb out of the depths they've found themselves in. Allison meets up with a new character in the series, Cynthia Keener (Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston), an investigator who tracks down missing or kidnapped children - a task that is particularly meaningful for her, having a missing child herself. Huston and Arquette are fantastic together, and while the series was already on good footing to begin with, Huston really brings a lot to the proceedings with her superb performance. Davalos also works to try and reconstruct his career, which includes Allison.

The fifth season of the series was the end of the show's run on NBC, and is once again a shorter season for the show. While it seemed as if the show's return wasn't assured, the series soon found a new home on the CBS Friday Night line-up, where it's probably a better fit (and comes after - not surprisingly - the network's "Ghost Whisperer".)

As for the fifth season of the series, it's an enjoyable progression forward for the show, continuing to focus and develop its core concept while adding some new twists and further developing the characters. The season opens with a mostly strong episode where Allison explores the case of a woman whose husband seems to be possessed by the spirit of her ex-husband. The rest of the episode is pretty uneven, but this plot thread is pretty compelling, occasionally powerful and in some instances, rather creepy.

Other episodes throughout the season also present some inspired, engaging plots, such as "...About Last Night", which sees Allison have to work backwards to solve her own mystery - after waking up under a freeway, she realizes that she has absolutely no memory of the last 6 hours. The series also gives the other characters the focus at times, such as Scanlon, who gets unexpected news about potential parenthood.

Other highlights from this season include: "Apocalypse...Now?" (Allison views what she believes to be the end of the world and begins to prepare, while realizing that there's also a case), "The First Bite is the Deepest" (Allison visits former boss Cynthia Keener in prison, while Joe's new boss offers him a job in San Diego)
The season ends with a rather shocking twist that throws the future of the main character into doubt. I can't imagine how fans would react if the series had ended in this form and not been picked up by CBS for another season.

Overall, "Medium" impresses throughout the fifth season . While I've liked the series in the past, the writing continues to be sharper and more inspired, with some wonderfully eerie plots throughout the season. The general feel of the show is a bit improved, as well, as the series has a stronger mood and atmosphere in this fifth round of episodes. Performances continue to be first-rate, with Arquette, Weber and Sandoval giving compelling, often moving performances. Hopefully the series can find more success on CBS.

Season 5

77. 5- 1 2 Feb 09 Soul Survivor
78. 5- 2 9 Feb 09 Things to Do in Phoenix When You're Dead
79. 5- 3 16 Feb 09 A Person of Interest
80. 5- 4 23 Feb 09 ...About Last Night
81. 5- 5 2 Mar 09 A Taste of Her Own Medicine
82. 5- 6 9 Mar 09 Apocalypse...Now?
83. 5- 7 23 Mar 09 A Necessary Evil
84. 5- 8 30 Mar 09 Truth Be Told
85. 5- 9 6 Apr 09 All in the Family
86. 5-10 13 Apr 09 Then...and Again
87. 5-11 20 Apr 09 The Devil Inside (1)
88. 5-12 27 Apr 09 The Devil Inside (2)
89. 5-13 4 May 09 How to Make a Killing in Big Business (1)
90. 5-14 4 May 09 How to Make a Killing in Big Business (2)
91. 5-15 11 May 09 How to Make a Killing in Big Business (3)
92. 5-16 11 May 09 The Man in the Mirror
93. 5-17 18 May 09 The First Bite Is the Deepest
94. 5-18 25 May 09 The Talented Ms. Boddicker
95. 5-19 1 Jun 09 Bring Me the Head of Oswaldo Castillo


The DVD

VIDEO: "Medium" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is mostly marvelous, as sharpness and detail are quite good throughout the episodes. Some slight artifacting was occasionally seen, but the presentation was free of edge enhancement and mostly crisp and clear. Colors looked natural and accurately presented. Flesh tones appeared spot-on, as well. Overall, one of the better presentations of a recent TV series I've seen...recently.

SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offered up an audio presentation that was slightly more active than most TV fare, with some minor surround use for effects and ambience. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue, effects and score.

EXTRAS: A "making of" documentary runs nearly 30 minutes and provides a very enjoyable overview of the season, offering interviews with cast and crew. We also get an amusing Q & A between actors Jake Weber and Patricia Arquette, who chat about their experiences on-set and offer thoughts about their characters in-between some light humor and jokes. Finally, we also get a set tour ("Curious Maria") and a very enjoyable look at the making of "Apocalypse ... Now?" ("Script-to-Screen: Apocalypse...Now?")

Final Thoughts: "Medium" is a compelling, entertaining series with a terrific lead performance from Arquette. It's nice to see an underappreciated actress like Arquette get consistent work in a highly-regarded role. Additionally, I was pleased to find that this season is a step up in many regards from the prior (and quite good) seasons. The DVD set offers excellent audio/video quality and a few minor extras. Highly recommended.
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