We admit: We were kind of sad when we heard that Medium had been canceled by NBC. Starring Patricia Arquette, Medium paired a psychic medium with crime solving for a new twist on law and order. But our cancellation disappointment didn't last long, as CBS announced almost immediately that it would pick up the series.
Now, it's not like we'll ever have to choose between the two shows, since they'll be on back-to-back, but it did seem like the perfect opportunity to pit these two characters and their psychic powers against each other in a TV Throwdown.
On Medium, Allison Dubois' main goal is to help police solve crimes, find missing persons, and solve cold cases. She does so through her dreams (in which she often sees the past, the future and dead people), telepathy (she can often read living people by touching them), and by reading objects (which will sometimes tell her a story).
Ghost Whisperer's Melinda Gordon, meanwhile, helps earthbound spirits finish up their business on Earth and move on to the afterlife -- which results in saving the living from being haunted as well. She can straight-up see and speak to dead people.
Allison's gifts are a little bit more varied, interesting and unpredictable, so she scores the point here.
Allison tends to jump to conclusions about her dreams, which sometimes sets her back several steps in her investigations. Many times, her dreams are interpretive and not an exact representation of what has happened or what will happen. As many times as her dreams have been unclear, you think she'd realize they only offer a small snippet of the much larger picture.
Melinda talks directly to her ghosts, but they aren't always honest with her and tend to disappear just as she's getting somewhere. Still, Melinda is assertive in her missions and she's usually a little more tentative with her assumptions, causing her fewer setbacks.
Mostly, Allison is using her skills to help police solve crimes. Since she's chummy with the D.A. and police, she's generally not in imminent danger unless she follows up a lead of her own.
Melinda, however, is pretty much on her own when it comes to dealing with lingering spirits. While some are nice, most are still scary and will show up to bother her no matter what she's doing. She's also pregnant now, and has some sort of entrance to hell in the basement of the antique shop she owns. Need we say more?
Both ladies are constantly skedaddling out of planned events or family situations to deal with their special callings. With Melinda, it's often because the living are in danger because of what a ghost is about to do. With Allison, she generally has to sit in on a suspect interview or see if she can get any vibes from a crime scene.
Both of their partners are incredibly sweet and supportive about these 24/7 annoyances. Before this season, we would have called this category a draw.
However, we are kind of creeped out by the whole Melinda's-deceased-husband-coming-back-from-the-dead-and-jumping-into-someone-else's-body thing. On the other hand, Allison's hubby, Joe, is a great, easygoing husband, an attentive father -- and, most importantly, he's still in his own skin. (Allison's middle daughter, Bridgette (Maria Lark), is one of our favorite kids on TV, too.) Allison wins.
Generally, each woman solves her case by the end of each show -- or, if it's an ongoing story arc, by the end of each season.
While it's always satisfying to see Allison and her crew solve another interesting crime or mystery, Melinda patches up matters of the heart between the living and the dead.
Let's be honest: There are a million different crime-fighting shows on TV. The Ghost Whisperer offers something a bit different on the drama front. There's no telling how many people in the world wish they could have straightened out a few things before their loved ones died, so it has a bit of universal appeal.
Bottom line: Medium adds a new dimension to crime solving, but you won't see any other primetime TV shows that tackle the subject matter of Ghost Whisperer. And besides that, the less hauntings in the world, the better. Casper may be friendly, but that doesn't mean people want him creepin' around their crib.