This is not my first go at the TV procedural rodeo for this blog (Knight Rider saw to that), but it’s going to take a lot for another show to come and beat Medium for an interesting concept.
On the surface of it having a procedural crime show with an actual psychic at the centre sounds rather hackneyed. There are so many places that this show could have tripped up, and it did this a lot in the first series. When you are dealing with a supernatural human in the regular world you need to set up strict ground rules when it comes to their powers – and it takes a while for this to happen.
What kept this show ticking along in those more uncertain episodes (and then made it brilliant viewing later on) was the cast. Specifically the pair of Oscar winner Patricia Arquette as psychic crime fighter Alison DuBois and Jake Weber as her husband Joe. Seriously, he has to be one of the best husbands ever put on the screen.
Patricia Arquette is able to nail down the mixture of uneasiness and confidence required for this part. There was an episode, in which she sleepwalked to the extent that she was in the middle of a main road, where she was a bit over the top in her anger at her husband locking the doors… but other than that it is hard to fault Arquette.
We ended up only watching 16 episodes, but this is a keeper. Unlike Les Revenants or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this is not a show that is easily binged. Also, since this is a procedural, albeit quite a different one, that immediately makes it susceptible to binge watching uncovering any sort of formula. That’s what ended up ruining House for me.
Honestly though, as a procedural this show does a lot of interesting things. In the episode “The Song Remains The Same” they cleverly use the song ‘I Will Survive’ in a game of crime -filled hot-cold. Then there is the episode “Be Kind Rewind” which takes a Groundhog Day premise (sorry Jules Cobbs of the world) and manages to execute 4 well-paced loops in 40 minutes.
This show isn’t faultless, but for any procedural around such an unusual concept it is astounding that it managed to last for 7 years and a network switch. You don’t really see this on TV anymore, which makes this another show we can hope gets picked up on Netflix. Or you can pay £45 for all 7 seasons on DVD – actually really good value.