Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com

Creator:

John Gray

Cast:

Jennifer Love-Hewitt ………. Melinda Gordon
David Conrad ………. Jim Clancy
Camryn Manheim ………. Delia Banks
Jay Mohr ………. Professor Rick Payne

The Show

Sometimes a television show comes along that has a premise that is completely unoriginal. It simply takes ideas that have been used in past television shows or movies and mixes them together in hopes that it makes this “new” premise seem like it’s unique. What it really does, though, is magnify the fact that this show has been done before. How then can this show succeed and actually survive past two full seasons? It helps if that show is in a timeslot that is not very competitive, and most importantly, if that show stars an extremely beautiful woman. Ghost Whisperer is a copycat show for sure, but it has survived a lot longer than most shows these days.

Ghost Whisperer stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon. Melinda lives in the fictional town of Grandview with her husband Jim (David Conrad) and has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. Each episode of this series deals with one or more ghosts seeking Melinda’s help in relaying a message or completing a task that will put the spirit to rest, and allow them to “cross over” into “The Light”, a metaphor presented by the show as its conception of Heaven.

If you inspect the premise of this show further, you will find that it’s a combination of past television shows such as Tru Calling, Medium, and Touched By An Angel, along with a very popular movie The Sixth Sense. We have seen many people who have had the ability to see and help the dead on television before. That’s nothing new. So perhaps the main reason this series has survived longer than expected is the cast, which really is just Jennifer Love Hewitt. The characters surrounding Melinda Gordon are strong and the actors playing those roles do a good job, but Ghost Whisperer is all about Jennifer Love Hewitt. You can’t help but like her personality, and fall in love with her every time she is on the screen.

The main story of the second season of Ghost Whisperer revolves around the thinning “veil” between the living and the dead, evident in certain situations in second season episodes. This season turns out to be a lot darker than the first, but that seems to be the natural progression of the story. It can be scary at times, but its scariness won’t dissuade the pre-teens and older audience from watching. The series almost borders on being a “family show,” in that families can watch this show together to get their Friday-night “scare fix.”

You have seen Ghost Whisperer before under various names and starring various other people. However, you could say that this program has the “scary ghost market” cornered since it’s the only show like it right now on network television. Ultimately, the reason why this show has lasted longer than many thought is the fact that you can’t turn away from the screen when Jennifer Love Hewitt is on it. Hewitt engages the Friday night television audience who just might be looking for a slight scare or two.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – Love Never Dies
Melinda worries that Andrea is being influenced not to cross over. Melinda seeks the help of an expert in history and the occult in helping to identify the wide brimmed hat man.

Episode 2 – Love Still Won’t Die
A rock and roll enthusiast haunts living teens by tormenting them into stealing; Melinda must also deal with the ghost of her scheming ex-boyfriend.

Episode 3 – Drowned Lives
When Melinda goes to visit friends who are experiencing problems with their house, she finds the ghost of a six-year-old girl who drowned. Melinda then tries to help the family of the little girl.

Episode 4 – The Ghost Within
After purchasing a set of ornaments at a flea market, Melinda finds that they are haunted. Melinda uses the ornaments to meet Dennis’s ghost. Dennis wants Melinda to reunite his girlfriend with her birth mother.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Grave Matter
The ghost of a man who was buried in the wrong grave starts to haunt a cemetery as someone else’s wife is coming to mourn him every night. Melinda must reconcile the man with his hostile wife and daughter in order for him to be able to cross-over.

Episode 6 – The Woman of His Dreams
Jim has a ghost who died during surgery come to him in his dreams. Melinda and Jim find that the ghost, a supermodel, cannot cross-over as she wants to save her little sister from suffering the same destiny. Jim’s friends are frightened by the crazy events that occur at his house.

Episode 7 – A Vicious Cycle
Melinda and Jim’s first camping trip is interrupted as Melinda helps the ghost of a woman who left her husband and young daughter. Before the woman can cross over, Melinda must find the woman’s daughter and help her to learn the truth about her parent’s past in order for her to be safe.

Episode 8 – The Night We Met
The ghost of a chef who died in a fire at a Chinese restaurant meets Melinda after the restaurant he died in burns for a second time. He tells Melinda that she must find out who set the fire that he was blamed for.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – The Curse of the Ninth
When Melinda meets a nightclub waiter who has not played his guitar since his friend, Jared, died, she finds that he is being haunted by two ghosts.

Episode 10 – Giving Up the Ghost
A high school baseball pitcher named Justin finds that he is haunted by the former star baseball pitcher. The ghost is out for revenge on the coach, who he blames for his death.

Episode 11 – Cat’s Claw
While Melinda is at the University’s botany lab, she deals with some telekinetic events while dealing with a plant from Peru that is bleeding. Melinda finds that she must help a doctor save herself.

Episode 12 – Dead to Rights
Melinda has been having these weird visions. She thinks that a ghost has been communicating with her by anyway the ghost can, which is through showing these things to her. Later on, she realizes that the ghost who is trying to communicating with her is not actually a ghost who’s dead, but some one who’s in a coma. His wife and family are in a legal battle to take him off of the life support.

Disc Four:

Episode 13 – Deja Boo
Melinda meets the ghost of a young man named Eric. After figuring out Eric has been reincarnated many times as different people, Melinda must convince Eric to come back and not fight being reincarnated again when he starts to threaten the woman who is carrying a baby that Eric will become. Melinda meets with Professor Payne, who now apparently fully knows her secret, to talk about reincarnation.

Episode 14 – Speed Demon
Melinda meets a young woman who owns a family auto shop. Her boyfriend dies in a street race and blames her for his death.

Episode 15 – Mean Ghost
Melinda deals with the ghost of a young woman named Tais and the rest of her cheerleading squad and a girl named Madi, an ex-cheerleader herself, who has been casting spells on the team to cause them trouble and harm them. Melinda must figure out between Madi and another cheerleader named Ranna what is keeping Tais from crossing over.

Episode 16 – The Cradle Will Rock
Delia has her engagement ring restored at a local jeweler and when she and Melinda go to pick it up, the store is violently robbed at gunpoint. Later, Melinda is visited by the ghost of the jewelry store salesman, Randy, who died after the robbery of a severe asthma attack. He and his dangerous brother-in-law Wyatt had planned the robbery together but when Randy hid $75,000 from Wyatt, Wyatt became angry and locked him in the basement, causing the attack.

Disc Five:

Episode 17 – The Walk-In
A body goes missing from the morgue and Melinda searches for the body. When the ghost visits Melinda she finds she needs help from Professor Payne to figure it out.

Episode 18 – Children of Ghosts
Strange things are happening around a teenage girl, who’s been cycling through the foster care system for several months. Melinda decides to become her foster parent, to see if she can help her. However, it’s proving more complex than she thought.

Episode 19 – Delia’s First Ghost
Melinda helps Ned deal with a ghost who had just put a scare into him. Melinda also helps a ghost who appears without any clothes on. Delia sees that Melinda is once again talking to herself and Melinda decides it’s time to share her gift with Delia. It turns out that the ghost was actually Charlie, Ned’s Dad.

Disc Six:

Episode 20 – The Collector
Melinda meets a man who has the same abilities to see and talk to the dead. Melinda later learns that he has a different plan for the dead. A ghost enlists Professor Payne to help Melinda.

Episode 21 – The Prophet
Melinda becomes concern for the safety of the people she loves when a ghost prophet shows her visions of the future. The fellow Ghost Whisperer, who Melinda doesn’t trust is still in Grandview.

Episode 22 – The Gathering
Melinda visits the Mayor of Grandview and asks him to cancel the memorial dedication they will be holding. She speaks to the ghost of a mailman and is looking for a young girl named Kristen. Later, Melinda and Professor Payne search for missing children after their Nanny says that they left with a man named Graham. Meanwhile, a mysterious man tries to get Melinda to stop helping the good guys. And, with a near death experience, she learns that she may have a brother.

The Video:

The video is in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. At times this series looks like a standard scary movie, or at least a standard “made-for-TV” movie. The visual effects aren’t too bad either for a television show.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. It’s pretty standard quality for a TV show. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear. The usual “scary music” can be found on this show. It’s not completely original, but that fits the overall theme of Ghost Whisperer.

The Extras:

Audio Commentaries
There are four, full-length episode commentaries. John Gray (creator) and Kim Moses (executive producer) team up on the “Love Never Dies” episode. Kim Moses then goes solo on the “Children of Ghosts” episode. Ian Sander (executive producer) comments on the “Mean Ghost” and “The Collector” episodes. All very informative, but it would have been nice to see some cast interaction with the commentaries. So that is a disappointment, but these are good enough.

“The Other Side” Webseries
There were eight mini-episodes of the show that were created solely for the Internet community. Basically, each episode runs around 3 minutes long and shows the story through the eyes of a ghost. None of the cast from the show are in these webisodes, but there is a main story arc from one episode to the next. There is also a four minute mini-featurette with the star of this webseries, Mark Hapka, taking you behind-the-scenes of making these webisodes. Nothing that is really must-see, but it’s interesting if you haven’t seen them before.

“A Conversation with the Living” Featurette
The cast and crew discuss how they felt about the season two storyline and character development, the changing tone of the show. and what they hoped to accomplish in their second year. This runs around 23 minutes and it’s very compelling to hear everyone talk about the changes from season one to season two.

“Grandview Graveyard” Featurette
In some episodes, you can click on the headstones of the ghosts that appear. The headstone will then show the backstory of each character as told through interviews with the writers and producers. There are six ghosts/characters total featured here. You have Dennis Hightower from “The Ghost Within” episode, Anna Fowler from “A Vicious Cycle,” Kyle McCall from the “Love Still Won’t Die” episode, Jared from the “Curse of the Ninth” episode, Emily Morrison from the “Drowned Lives” episode, and Adam Godfrey from the “A Grave Matter” episode. Each backstory runs from about 3-5 minutes. This is decent enough if you want to know more about these characters from the creative people behind the show.

“Melinda’s Closet” Featurette
Joseph Porro, costume designer for the series, explains how he chooses the mix of antique and modern clothes and jewelry that make up Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s look on the show as Melinda. This runs 15 minutes and if you want more shots of Jennifer Love Hewitt in all of her wardrobe during this season, this is the special feature for you. It also gives you more insight on this aspect of the show.

“Ghostly Visions” Featurette
Kandace Westmore, key make-up artist for the series, and the rest of her team take you through the process of creating the frightening look of the dead for some of the second season’s most memorable ghosts. This runs around 11 minutes and it’s an fascinating look into this aspect of the show.

Jennifer Love Hewitt Speed Painting Video
This is basically a music video featuring “Strange Education” by The Cinematics. While that music plays, we see a painting of Jennifer Love Hewitt get created very quickly. Hence, the name of this featurette. Not really anything special, but it’s only four minutes long.

Crystal Ball Mind Game
Basically, this is a game where you have to pick a two-digit number. You go through the steps and in the end this game will “read your mind”. Now there is some mathematical reasoning behind how this game works, but I don’t want to take the time to figure it out. Still it works well enough that it will freak some people out.

THE INSIDE PULSE

If you are a Jennifer Love Hewitt fan, you will like this show. She is the star and you can see her face for the vast majority of each episode. If you like to be scared, you will probably like this show as well. But it is nothing you haven’t seen before, so I can only recommend a rental for anyone who hasn’t see the show. Unless you are a Jennifer Love Hewitt fan, then you might want to buy this whether you like the premise of the show or not.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

8
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
6
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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