The actress and creator discuss the Third Season, doing cross episodes with The Ghost Whisperer, and possible guest stars
Medium is a show that has seemingly tapped into the the subconscious of America. Following the world of real life suburban mother Alison DuBois (Patricia Arquette), we see her attempt to balance family with solving mysteries using her special gift. She can see dead people and can often hear the thoughts of those around her. Currently in it's Third Season, this show gives no signs of slowing down as it continues it's exploration into the supernatural.
We recently sat in on a conference call with Patricia Arquette and Medium creator Glenn Gordon Caron.
Will this Third Season focus on events in Alison's head, like it did last season, or will you be branching out?
Glenn Gordon Caron: Season Three is going to be a happy mixture of things. I freely admit that we plan very little in a season-like way. I don't sit down and construct an arc for a season or anything like that. I find that I can always see through that. I see the arc and I see the writers and the actors contorting to fit into it. I prefer that we move through the season in three, to four, to five episode chunks. We react to what we see. I think there will be some episodes that revolve around things that happen uniquely in Alison's head, there will also be a group of episodes that revolve around external things that are going on to which she's privy by virtue of her gift.
With the show's success are you getting stories offered to you by other mediums in the field?
Patricia Arquette: I know there are psychics that are saying, "Oh, I'm having this real interesting thing...," it just gets too complicated, honestly to open up to all of that and break it down with the writers. The writers are coming up with crazy enough stories as it is, I think maybe the day will come where they will want some more information like that, but right now it's too complicated to have so many influences.
Have you ever thought about crossing characters from Medium with those from say The Ghost Whisperer?
Glenn Gordon Caron: I've always resisted that because our show is based on a real life person. So to have a real life person co-mingle with a fictional character... in some way it impugns the integrity of the real life person.
Patricia Arquette: Somebody said to me that Jennifer Love Hewitt wanted to do a crossover show with us. Honestly, I kind of feel like my plate is full just memorizing what I have here. If the writers come up with a clever way to do something like that, I'm open to it, but it seems like they have a lot of cool ideas going on already.
What made you incorporate 3D elements and animation into the show?
Glenn Gordon Caron: There's two things, if you look at the show, the things that are presented in the real world are always presented very modestly. This is to enforce the idea that everything you're seeing is real. The dreams, in contrast, have to be flights of fancy. One of my jobs is to figure out how to keep those interesting and different. I'm always looking for new sorts of visual grammar that will allow us to articulate those dreams. And, I'm always looking for something to reinvigorate me about what I'm doing. I don't think anybody was more jazzed up about 3D than I was. We're hoping to do another 3D episode this year; all 3D.
Patricia, how did your character's new short hair come about? Was that for the character of Alison?
Patricia Arquette: No, to be honest, I think in life people get fed up with their look sometimes. At the end of last season I told one of our producers, I said, "I'm gonna cut my hair at the end of the season." We can get a wig, we can get extensions, whatever you want if you feel like that's important. As soon as we wrapped, I chopped my hair off. I've had this hairdo before, it's the easiest one I've ever had. I roll out of bed it's done. Suddenly, there was ripples of panic stretching across the network, and Glenn said, "What's the big deal?"
Glenn Gordon Caron: It's hair. I wish I had some.
What do you think is best way to hook in new viewers while staying loyal to your older fans?
Glenn Gordon Caron: I don't believe that I'm didactic on that way at all. What I do do, I believe that if I'm amused others will be amused. If I get tantalized then maybe somebody else will. I'm always trying to keep the show interesting to myself, and making it more interesting to myself. Particularly with this two hour episode which has this expansive feel. It begins in Indonesia, it comes back to Phoenix, it's built on four dreams instead of the usual one, it explores the private lives of some of the subsidiary characters... my hope is... if you have never seen Medium before this is a great opportunity to jump on board.
Patricia Arquette: I've got a lot of feedback from people who have discovered the show in reruns over the summer. I don't think it was our first choice to have this time change, it may end up being advantageous to people who are available Wednesday nights who haven't had a chance to see the show.
What do you think the show is... if somebody asked you to describe it to them?
Glenn Gordon Caron: I'd say it's going to be all mixed up. That's part of what will, hopefully, throw you and keep you hooked. From one moment to the next, is it a scene about dealing with small children? Or, somebody having their head blown off? If you ask me privately what I think the show is? I actually think it's a sneaky romance.
Does the real life Alison still enjoy that there's a show based on her life?
Glenn Gordon Caron: My suspicion is that, like most great things in life, she's probably really happy about it. I'm sure there are a couple of negatives too, but she'd have to speak to that. I sat with her for a very long period of time before we started the show and said, "Here's what might happen." If there's success, here are the good parts of that, here are the more challenging parts... I think for the most part she's very pleased with the success of the show and the impact that it's had on her life.
Patricia Arquette: I think it's always a mixed bag of tricks... fame. We talked about it too before it happened.
Do you think a show like Medium has to be more grounded in reality to make the more fantastical elements stand out?
Glenn Gordon Caron: I think so. Basically, we're doing ghost stories for adults. It's 10 o'clock at night... ghost stories suck you in and then someone says, Boo! In our show, the equivalent of the "Boo" are the dreams which are fantastical. The equivalent of the whispering part of the ghost story is, here is family life. It's sort of mundane... it's rather humble. The hope is that you believe you're watching a typical American family then there's this amazing thing that happens.
Patricia Arquette: I think also as animals... where we go to bed at night. Who we sleep next to night after night. These people have a fight, they can make up, they have all this craziness happen in their lives but they're gonna be in that bed every night. Now that would be a weird show... if they weren't there together.
Why did you want to do this show?
Glenn Gordon Caron: I'm a big believer in the business of being a human being. I was fascinated by a marriage where one person says, "I see dead people. I dream the future and at times I can even peek at what's in your mind." Being married to someone who is a scientist... who bathes in logic. How those people reconcile their lives together that's what fascinated me. I really believe that love is this unconditional acceptance of another person.
Patricia Arquette: You're a romantic! For me, I was reading a lot of movie scripts, I had my daughter and decided it's time to go back to work. The scripts were horrendous, just horrible in the movie world. My agent said, "You'd never do TV." I said, "Don't say something like that! That's so snotty." They said, "Well, there's this project that they're interested in you for..." So I read it and I just thought it was a really interesting character, and interesting material and a great marriage. I didn't expect it to go but I knew that if it did, this is a woman, I would want to see where she goes for years. I'm okay with that ride.
Are there any recurring guest stars coming back?
Glenn Gordon Caron: We're talking about having Ryan Hurst back. Mark Sheppard who plays Dr. Charles Walker is coming back. Catherine, who Alison encountered in the pilot, is coming back. We have some interesting directors coming. I'm trying very hard to get David Arquette to direct an episode here. Miguel Sandoval is going to step behind the camera. I'd love to get Kelsey Grammer to step behind the camera as well as in front of the camera again.
Medium airs from 10/9c Wednesday nights on NBC.