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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Medium: The Sixth Season
Medium: The Sixth Season
Paramount // Unrated // October 5, 2010
List Price: $57.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted January 11, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Series:  
 
If there is one thing I am absolutely certain of concerning psychic phenomenon, it is that there is no way I could have ever predicted such a grand and enthralling series being created surrounding the idea of a psychic. This enthralling and now long-running series was inspired by a "real-life" psychic, Allison Dubois, and her family. It was created by Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting). I will be the first to admit that I know very little about the real Allison and those who surround her in life. I do know that she recently made an appearance on a reality show that made some fans quiver to think of how different she could be from the character they have come to know and love as played by Patricia Arquette. You could choose to look up video of this on YouTube, but honestly I wouldn't recommend it. I instead suggest that you take a minute and consider what this series presents to audiences with each episode: "What if psychic energy was real? Does it exist, and if so, how would someone use that energy?" That is one of the core defining attributes of this series, and the Allison I have come to know and care for makes me take a moment to pause and reflect on that possibility each and every episode.

The series manages to grasp at such a lofty question by grounding things with a realistic setting. Most of us are probably not aware of what it is like to work for a district attorney's office but we can understand the importance of one. The story of this series mainly centers on the day to day working life of Allison, who works for the Phoenix District Attorney's office with Manuel Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) and with Detective Lee Scanlon (David Cubitt). Whenever something bad happens you can bet your money that she is going to be having a dream about it and that she will help them to solve the case. This often leads to her waking up during a dream and consequentially waking up her husband, Joe (Jake Weber), who I suspect has never been given a decent night's sleep.  They have three children: Ariel (the oldest), Bridget (the middle), and Marie (the youngest). All three girls display some psychic energy themselves and that develops over the course of the series. This season was no exception to that. Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva) was given a lot of great material this season in particular and was featured prominently in a standout episode, "Time Keeps on Slipping", which demonstrated Vassilieva's acting at its finest with a neat theme of her character skipping through time (and not remembering what had happened in between), while she is supposedly growing up and living her life in an increasingly shorter period. It was one of my favorite episodes in the series thus far to focus on one of the three Medium children.  While I am giving standout praise to this episode in particular, I would like to commend all three of the young actors for doing such a good job on the show. They genuinely act like real sisters and have personalities that are uniquely their own and this is a testament to their acting, the writing, and the overall spirit of the show and the crew that makes it become a reality. Audiences should be able to connect to the entire Dubois family as if these characters were in some way a part of their own and that is no small feat to accomplish.





Jake Weber (Joe Dubois)

In this sixth season, I must say that Jake Weber (the vastly underrated actor playing Joe Dubois) was given much more interesting material to work with for his character than he has had in at least some time. While Joe has consistently played an important role directly in Allison's life as a caring husband, as someone who is there for her throughout thick and thin, and who is also prepared to be the father his daughters need, it was nice to see his role expanding this year with a greater level of attention placed on his work-life and the impact it was having on him and the family. Simply saying that his new work situation this season was dysfunctional would be putting things lightly. Now let your imagination run wild if you haven't seen these episodes.


Another standout episode deserving of special attention is the Night of the Living Dead inspired "Bite Me", which placed the Dubois family inside of Romero's classic zombie film. It was clear that this was a painstaking effort on the part of all involved with the show and director Aaron Lipstadt continued to prove just how important he is to this series remaining high quality. I would also like to commend him for his excellent work on the season finale "It's a Wonderful Death" which featured some of the best directing the series has ever seen, with many moving and sincere moments that would have served as appropriate closure for the series had CBS not renewed the show for another season.

I must admit to feeling as though the dream aspect is still actually one of the most fascinating aspects of the series when all is said and done. The series writers and directors clearly show a great level of appreciation for the richness that can be found in the unknown, and by setting so many of Allison's psychic moments within a dream-state, it allows for storytelling that is much more off-center and downright eerie. If I could liken the bizarre nature on display with this series to another television show, the first thing that comes to mind is always The Twilight Zone.  Each episode usually has something experimental going on that might make you wonder how such a unique approach to storytelling has been allowed on air for so long with network TV executives probably preferring something much less unique. With the show's recent cancellation (despite strong ratings) I fear this is ultimately the case. Luckily we will always have these DVDs to remind us of just how amazing television can become when enough hard work and dedication is put into a show that is willing to make us think beyond the realm of the ordinary while still making us ponder the importance of a family dynamic and the daily struggles we must face in order to continue living our lives to their fullest.

The DVD:

 
Audio:


This CBS DVD release of the sixth season of Medium presents the show with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. The dialogue is always crisp and clear for viewers. It is seemingly free of any noticeable flaws. The surrounds are used adequately for the excellent score and musical selections as well as for the occasional sound effects.

English Subtitles are included for those who are hearing impaired.


 
Video:


The series continues to be presented with a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen ratio that fills up the entire screen.

You wouldn't expect such a well produced and recent show to look anything less than great on DVD. This stacks up to the other seasons quite nicely and continues a trend of having a strong visual presentation. This does not fail to deliver what fans of the show would want from a DVD release in the video department. Medium's use of color looks great on this set. The cinematography is excellent as always.

If there is one thing to be disappointed by in Medium's home video run it's that it has never been released on Blu-ray, despite the series being broadcast in High Definition. While that shouldn't stop any fans from owning the show on DVD, one might hope that when CBS releases the seventh and final season later in the year they give its last run of episodes the kind of farewell treatment the fans deserve.

Extras: 

These were far and away much more enjoyable than I had anticipated! The standout extra is a 30 minute long interview with Medium's series creator, Glenn Gordon Caron, which is conducted by Patricia Arquette. It is entitled "The Mind Behind Medium". The interview covers the history of how the show came into existence and also the background of Caron as he developed into being a writer/director for film and television. For anyone that has ever had an interest in who makes this wonderful series this is an important extra to view for both enlightenment and entertainment.

"Zombies on the Loose: The Making of 'Bite Me' " is an interesting short piece that covers the intense workmanship of what I already knew to be an important episode in the show's run. For fans of this particular episode this would be something I consider as essential viewing.

"The Music of Medium" is a relatively interesting look at the man who makes the show's music. I have always enjoyed the music on the series, and this gives viewers an added glimpse into how the series sonic qualities have been created.

Patricia Arquette in Medium's 'Bite Me' Episode
"Non-Fat Double Medium" is a funny title to give a short piece that focuses on the twins that play Marie (the youngest child). They clearly do a great job with their characters and this extra gives you a brief glimpse into how their personalities can differ from the character. They also describe what their favorite scenes have been while working on the show.

Last, but not least, we are treated to an extra entitled "The 100th Episode of Medium: A Celebration". It is exactly as it sounds. We see the actors and crew enjoying themselves while discussing in interviews the accomplishment made by reaching a series landmark.






Final Thoughts:

Medium has been a bright light in an otherwise dim network lineup that mostly consists of underwhelming series these past several years. It has long been one of the most creative series found outside of cable television and for that I am grateful. The Sixth Season is one of the finest outings yet and would be a necessary purchase for any fan. I strongly suggest newcomers start at the beginning of the series and work their way through all the seasons. I only wish CBS had decided to renew the show during its currently airing seventh year. As of this writing, there are only two episodes left to air before we no longer have new adventures with the Dubois family. My psychic intuition is telling me that I will miss this series very much.

Highly Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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