Ghost Whisperer (2005 – 2010, CBS)
Long before Long Island Medium there was Melinda Gordon, a typical young woman with an atypical power – she was able to communicate with the dead.
“My name’s Melinda Gordon. I’m married. I live in a small town and I own an antique shop. I might be just like you… except from the time that I was a little girl, I knew I could talk to the dead – earthbound spirits my grandmother called them. They’re stuck here because they have unfinished business with the living and they come to me for help. In order to tell you my story – I need to tell you theirs.” (Ghost Whisperer, Season One opening)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (scream queen from I Know What You Did Last Summer) stars as Melinda Gordon, a ghost whisperer who has had this gift since she was a young girl. She was encouraged by her grandmother to focus her gift and use it to help earthbound spirits cross over to “the other side.” This is where Ghost Whisperer varied from its rival show, Medium – Melinda owned her gift, acted as appropriately as she possibly could, and used this gift (sometimes against her will) for the greater good. Throughout the series, Melinda proved to be extraordinary but still highly relatable. The show focused heavily on the toll that having such a power can have on a person. It also discussed the fear, anxiety, and stress that comes with the gift.
Now, I might get flack for this, but Ghost Whisperer is up there on my list of favorite shows of all-time, accompanying Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Will & Grace. Melinda isn’t quite as badass as Buffy and doesn’t have the same razor-tongued humor as Karen Walker. But what makes Ghost Whisperer such a gem is the contrast of its light-hearted humor with the harsh reality of loss of a loved one and its dark undertone that makes the show so addictively creepy.
The show is great because it covered so much ground in its five-season run. Though the overall premise of the series is that Melinda is being haunted by spirits who are asking for help once they know she can see them, it also has episodes dealing with personal loss (which are heartwrenching ), murder victims, missing persons, and much more.
The show obviously had to expand its storyline in order to keep the audience interested. One episode was an homage to movies like The Grudge, featuring a ghost that appeared visually similar to the titular monster of the feature film. There was also an episode with a clown ghost that looked similar to Pennywise from Stephan King’s It. Also, instead of focusing on individual cases of hauntings, Melinda would sometimes takes on mass-haunts like plane crash sites or abandoned hospitals and cemeteries. Sometimes episodes would end on cliffhangers week to week.
Now that the show is available for instant streaming on Netflix, the audience doesn’t have to wait a week in agony wondering what will happen to Melinda because the next episode with all the answers can be played instantly. But be warned, though it might answer your questions for now, it will also raise more so that you get sucked into the vortex of Ghost Whisperer.
Ghost Whisperer is available for streaming on Netflix.
Also, on a personal note, I want to thank you for joining me on my trip through television. This has been quite the experience and I have loved sharing my unadvised opinion will all of you. Thank you so much and I look forward to continuing this blog feature come September.
— Michael Cotter, Assistant Poetry Editor & Blogger