Newest Review: ... more stories and helping people to see the light and as a result releasing their soul to heaven. This particular program is quite a hit ... more
Ghosts go back to the future
Member Name: Happyjaw
Advantages: Short emotional stories with tantilising tips for the overall story arc
Disadvantages: A very short series 3 and a slow unroll to the overall arc
Ghost Whisperer is a US series currently in its fourth series since 2005 and with no plans to end it so far, it's been a hit all over.
Created by John Gray and starring Jennifer Love Hewitt the story is the unusual but regular events in Melinda Gordon's life. Working in her own antiques store in the centre of the (fictional) town of Grandview and living with her paramedic husband Jim (the rather gorgeous David Conrad) , the central figure is the ghost whisperer herself. She sees ghosts where others see nothing or experience strange unexplained occurances.
The premise of the story is that she can deal with the spirits unfinished business and help them pass over. This involves a multitude of other characters, believers, non believers and various incidental characters, the families, friends and descendants of the dead and those who they are haunting.
The programme is filmed entirely on the Universal Studios back lot using the same set as the one used as the town square in the Back To The Future movies, just changed a little and with the clock tower as the obvious missing piece.
The set appears like a town little touched by modern living, with older buildings and traditional values apparent in everything we see, like the central war memorial and the beautiful architecture of the buildings, a theme further developed in costume and props.
Melinda dresses with a retro touch, clothes which hint toward more elegant times and there are many items in her store which illustrate age, time and values. Each a valuable link to a ghost or bereaved family and providing a handy basis for many episodes.
Jim's paramedic occupation is another plot device creating a wide range of opportunities for Melinda to encounter the dead or the mourning at scenes of accidents or at the Mercy Hospital.
Jennifer Love Hewitt has been a sweetheart of film and television since Party Of Five but this is her show rather than a show piece of many. Her character is central to every single episode, helped along by her shop assistant and token single mum, Delia Banks (Camryn Manheim), her husband and host of others, along with guest stars such as Balthazar Getty and Wentworth Miller.
Jay Mohr entered the cast a couple of years ago as professor Rick Payne (by name and nature) a lecturing professor in the basis of myth at the local college, a disbeliever but useful source of information to Melinda. Convenient when Melinda needs some inside information from a balanced source to help her solve the problems she faces in each ghosts personal drama.
The series focuses on the high emotional content of each story, illustrated by Jennifer Love Hewitts expressive face and her ability to turn on the tears as each tale reaches its climax. The music, the writing and the acting capability are all part of the winning combination which makes each episode a tear jerker.
Hardly surprising with James Van Praagh as part of the co-producing team, a man who also claims communication with ghosts and has seen the phenomenal effect it can have on the people he speaks to.
There is a primary story per episode and a series story arc which ties it nicely together as well as the basic premise which creates the long term story line throughout all the series they plan to produce.
On occasion they produce a double length episode, usual as a climax at each series end and containing hooks for the next series to answer. A mysterious and intimidating dark shrouded figure features strongly in these moments and leaves an interesting paranormal motif for the viewer to anticipate next time.
Each episode lasts one hour on UK tv, stuffed between 4 sections of advertising, though the show in total is around 45 minutes in length per episode.
Series 3 was interrupted by the US writers strike and is rather shortened compared to the others with a 12 episode run instead of the usual 22. So the box set will be cheaper than each of the others at a guess.
You can currently find Ghost Whisperer on Living at 9pm on Saturdays.
Summary: Short ghost stories in a pretty visual format