Ever since she was a young girl, Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has been able to see and talk to dead people--earth bound spirits who have yet to cross over to the other side and who seek her help in communicating and resolving unfinished business with the living. Melinda sometimes has a hard time accepting her "gift," especially now that she's a newlywed and looking forward to starting her new life with her husband, Jim Clancy (David Conrad), a paramedic. Her friend and business partner in the antique store, Andrea Moreno (Aisha Tyler), is fascinated by Melinda's talent. Although Melinda embraces her unique "abilities" as a blessing and sometimes a curse, she always helps her clients--alive or dead--find emotional closure.
Ghost Whisperer is not a show for cynics (or anyone who hates everything with the word "whisperer" attached to it). Though half of the show aims to make your flesh creep, the other half works just as hard to make everything warm and fuzzy. Ghosts walk into Melinda Gordon's life the way snappy dames walked into Sam Spade's office, hitting her up for aid with a hard-luck story and a whole lot of strings attached. Her job is to help them untie the emotional knot that's keeping them earthbound--which usually involves, in one way or another, telling a still-living friend or relative how much the dead person loved them. Whether it's a Vietnam vet who never met his son, a standup comedian who committed suicide, a bride who died on her big day, or a poltergeist child, in the end Melinda--assisted by her hunky paramedic husband Jim and vaguely useless best friend Andrea--will find a way to lead them to the light. (Ghost Whisperer is evasive about its theological implications, but Melinda's black-hatted nemesis from the season's end has a distinctly devilish air.)
Keeping a foot in both worlds as Melinda is Jennifer Love Hewitt (Party of Five, Garfield), an actress who doesn't seem entirely natural; between her cartoonish physical dimension (the show isn't shy about displaying her bosom), her fake eyelashes, and the seemingly molded contours of her face, she's like a life-sized doll. Unfortunately, this quality lends a similarly plastic feel to her telegenic smile and earnest looks of compassion. The scripts are strictly middle-of-the-road tv fare, with obvious turns of plot and heavy-handed emotional crises, but the special effects conjure some eeriness. Extras include docs on the show's development, the lovely opening credits (based on the art of Maggie Taylor), and the paranormal investigators whose work inspired the show, along with a handful of episode commentaries and deleted scenes. Fans will not feel cheated. --Bret Fetzer