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Paramount Home Video presents
Medium: The Complete Second Season (2005)

Joe: You mean you saw it?
Allison: Trust me, it's not something I sought out. It's not like I saw it in the TV Guide and put it on my must see list. It just popped into my head.

- (Jake Weber, Patricia Arquette)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 18, 2007

Stars: Patricia Arquette
Other Stars: Jake Weber, Miguel Sandoval, Sofia Vassilieva, Maria Lark, David Cubitt, Tina Dijoseph, Arliss Howard, Oriana Oppice, Tim Conlon, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Miranda Carabello, Conor O'Farrel, Mary Strong, Kendahl King, Harry Groener, Ronny Cox, Perrey Reeves, Brian Kerwin, Jaime Ray Newman, David Carradine, Fredric Lehne, Rebecca Gayheart, Madison Carabello, Tania Raymonde, Molly Ringwald, Kelsey Grammer, Ellen Geer
Director: Aaron Lipstadt, Vincent Misiano, Arliss Howard, Elodie Keene, Richard Pearce, Peter Werner, Steve Robman, Robert Duncan McNeil, Helen Shaver, Ed Sherin, Lewis H. Gould, Perry Lang, Ronald L. Schwary, David Jones, Tim Squyres

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 16h:28m:00s
Release Date: October 03, 2006
UPC: 097360789348
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBB+ B-

DVD Review

I've said before that I like my TV psychics to be a little on the darker and craggier side (think Lance Henriksen), but Patricia Arquette's reluctanct visionary Allison DuBois is so darn cute I've eventually kind of warmed up to Medium after a promising but uneven debut season. For me, the show's strength lie in the family element, with Allison taking on day-to-day issues with her nice guy husband Joe (Jake Weber) and their seem-like-real-kids-and-not-typical-shrieking-child-actors children. The throwing in of the expected crimes to be solved—that is her job after all—comes with the territory, but everything works best when it's life at home.

The Allison character gets a little more depth to her abilities for this block of 22 episodes, with the severity of her visions noticeably more involved than they were in season one. She still has to piece together what she's seen, using her noodle instead of a gun, but she still has to be a mom, and Arquette does a wonderful job balancing the role. With stories often split between solving a crime-of-the-week or dealing with more personal issues, the character is meant to be shown as much more three dimensional, and it's Arquette's performance that prevents this from being just another schlocky crime drama. I'm sure the hand of creator Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting) figures into that equation, no doubt, but Arquette delivers—and makes it look easy.

And speaking of three dimensions (how's that for a seque), one of the gimmicks for the second season included a 3-D episode, a stunt which usually seems to reek a little of desperation on the part of the creative staff. It's akin to stunt casting with celebrity cameos, and it pops up as episode nine (Still Life In 3-D) as part of this release, and there's even an included pair of glasses to take in the experience.

A cleverly doctored Rod Serling open provides the instructions as to when to put the glasses on, and periodically throughout the ep a little logo appears, and if you're sitting the right distance from your set some of the effects look decent, though the colors look dark and rather gray. The visual effect works best if you turn off all other light in the room, and some of the more subtle moments work the best, such as the opening shot of the smoking artist. If you get a headache, you can opt for a 2-D version of the same ep, which is also in this set.

The aforementioned stunt casting sort of shows up here, with Kelsey Grammer popping in as The Angel of Death (Death Takes A Policy). It's a weird bit of casting (well maybe not, Grammer is one of the executive producers) and while there's something rather comical about the whole thing, it also introduces another subtext to the potential frailty of Allison DuBois that will presumably be developed as the show progresses, even if Death happens to sound like Sideshow Bob.

Yet for all the missing children or dead drug "mules" or mysterious kidnappings, the natural flow of conversation between Arquette and Weber (they talk AND argue, but are devoid of cleverly written one-liners) serves to center all of the other serious stuff. I find myself not minding when their two kids are in a scene because they also move and speak like they're supposed to—bickery and snipey sometimes, but with a measurable sense of realism. They're kids, not mini-adults spouting complicated putdowns.

They could ditch the crimes and I'd still be with this one, just because they're all starting to grow on me a little.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: All eps are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers that typically sport bright, vivid color reproduction and excellent edge detail. The odd scene here and there may carry some fleshtones that come on a bit too warm, but overall things look quite strong the majority of the time. Some grain issues crop up periodically in some of the night scenes, but not much else in the way to bitch about.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: All twenty-two episodes are presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, with an optional Spanish 2.0 track. A fairly workmanlike delivery that doesn't much more than it really needs to, presenting clean, clear voices quality, offset by moderate pans across the front channels. Surround activity from the rears is left for stingers and the occasional odd cue, but for the most part this is a sturdy, front-centric blend that carries itself well, even if it isn't particularly flashy.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 132 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The 4400: The Complete Second Seasom
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by Glenn Gordon Caron, Jessica Kender, Robert Doherty, Rene Echevarria, Miguel Sandoval, Ronald L. Schwary, Mark A. Sheppard
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
6 Discs
6-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Packaging for this six-disc set matches the look of season one, and is a slipcase around three Nexpak-like cases. Cover art for the cases each have episode summaries, but does not include original airdates. It is, however, noted that the eps are presented here in order of original airdate. Each episode is cut into six chapters, and also included are two pair of 3-D glasses to be used during disc three's Still Life 3-D installment.

Four commentaries in total, with input from Glenn Gordon Caron, Jessica Kender, Robert Doherty, Rene Echevarria, Miguel Sandoval, Ronald L. Schwary and Mark A. Sheppard in various combinations. The eps covered are Time Out Of Mind, Too Close To Call, Still Life 3-D and Doctor's Orders. None are especially fascinating in their entirety, but nods to Still Life 3-D and Time Out Of Mind for being the most technically interesting.

Disc six is where the rest of extras lie, with an EPK-ish inside look at the various episodes in The Story of Medium: Season Two (26m:39s), while Medium In Another Dimension (09m:28s) looks at the development of the 3-D version. There's also A Day In The Life Of The DuBois Daughters (16m:16s), with Arquette leading the kind words for what she refers to as "the best little actresses in town"—this is a little soft content-wise, but cute if you're in the right frame of mind. The disc wraps with a dry panel discussion entitled The Museum of Television & Radio Q & A With Cast And Creative Team (06m:11s) and a mediocre Gag Reel (05m:26s).

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Season 2 shows a big improvement, with Patricia Arquette seeming much more comfortable in her role and some of the crime-of-the-week TV cheese from the first season fine-tuned a little more to my liking. Still, the best part of the show is the whole family dynamic aspect, and that's what keeps me watching.

 


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