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TV Series Review

Allison Dubois sees dead people. She wakes up to them. She hears them while grocery shopping. They even encroach on her dreams. A wife, mother of three and police consultant, Allison (Patricia Arquette) teeters precariously between being psychic and psychotic on NBC’s hit Medium . Her communication with the dead provides helpful insight for solving complicated homicide cases, allowing her to prove who the real murderers are.

Unfortunately for Allison, spooky dreams, strange intuitions and frequent visits from the deceased don’t hold much weight in a court of law. They can also wreak havoc on a personal life. So Allison, her family and the district attorney she works for are constantly forced to wrestle with how real all this “supernatural stuff” is. Viewers at home are confronted with the same question.

Believe it or not, there’s a real-life Allison Dubois. The clairvoyant lives in Phoenix, serves as a consultant on the show, and has been approached by law enforcement agencies desperate for answers. Beyond wondering if she is on the level, could her day-to-day job possibly include this much gore?

Despite being rated TV-14 for the tube, Medium’s grisly crime scenes and brutal reenactments would probably earn an R on the big screen. Gunshots result in blood spattering across the faces of bystanders. Victims appear with gaping knife wounds and bullet holes. It’s excessive.

Equally macabre is the show’s penchant for twisted criminals. One serial killer murders young women, then repeatedly has sex with their rotting corpses. (He’s even shown in bed with a “partner.”) Another wacko forces newlywed husbands to choose between shooting their brides and living, or being murdered as a couple. Already renewed for next season, it’s some of the most diseased content on prime-time TV.

The series’ weird theology compounds those problems. Arquette’s character interprets her warped dreams as divine clues, crediting her gift as coming from a “higher place.” But does God really work that way? Isaiah 8:19 asks, “Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” And Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 points out, “The dead know nothing ... never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.” The idea that truth can be revealed via haunted mysticism makes Medium deceptive in addition to being grisly and depraved.

Episodes Reviewed: Jan. 3, 10, 17, 31, 2005

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