REVIEW: Medium takes a supernatural risk and tells a surprisingly human story
Tackling the usage of the supernatural – and mediums – in a crime drama is a difficult task to undertake. Fortunately, CBS Drama’s new series Medium handles it admirably.
Medium is the story of Allison, a pre-law student and married mother-of-three, who begins having psychic visions of crimes. When her visions prove almost identical to real crime cases, she is invited to join the investigations. The series is based on the experiences of real-life medium Allison DuBois, who has worked with law enforcement agencies across the US using her claimed psychic abilities.
For a series that revolves around an ability that very few can relate to, Medium is surprisingly human. Allison’s abilities are powerful and as confusing to her as they are to the audience watching. Her ability to speak to spirits and experience visions is not portrayed as a kind of freak superpower, but instead a higher force she cannot understand but must embrace.
Medium‘s ability to create intense atmospheric scenes is one of its main successes. Allison’s visions are suitably jarring, confusing and terrifying. They are alien to us, and her. The series very cleverly uses sound, music and lighting to achieve this powerful effect.
The contrast thus between the real world and the paranormal world is stark. It’s these moments where we examine Allison as a character and form an opinion on her. At first, she’s difficult to like or engage with – she is a person struggling with something we can’t understand. However, throughout the pilot episode, her confidence grows and grows, resulting in a strong, assertive woman who truly charms the screen. By the time she breaks down and screams in frustration at a lack of foresight, she has fully captured the audience’s attention.
All in all, there is a lot of potential in Medium. Discussion of the paranormal and mediums is a subject that divides opinion. But, if one is willing to open their mind to the idea of a medium crime solver, they will be rewarded.