Coming off of a self-imposed, five-year cable hiatus, it figures that my first real Destination TV airs on network. "Medium" (NBC, Mondays 10/9pm) stars Patricia Arquette as Arizona psychic Allison Dubois. Nominally a show about the super-dooper mental powers she employs in the service of various tricky cases for the D.A.'s office (she sees dead people), the real draw here is the juicy-real relationship Allison shares with her husband, Joe (Jake Weber). Yeah, they're both hot (they're TV stars!) and yeah, their exchanges are way better written than the usual i-dotting, t-crossing pap you see on TV (Glenn Gordon Caron of "Moonlighting" fame is at the helm, and his deft ear for dialogue is evident), but oh, oh, the restraint!

Example: upon returning home to find his lovely wife pouring herself yet another fatty vodka or family-sized glass of red (it quiets the voices), instead of a comment, cutting or no, or even a small-but-meaningful glance, we're treated to...nothing. Just the enormity of his pain as he takes in the whole picture and steamrolls over his own impulse to scream or smack her or take her in his arms and shake her before he collapses against her, weeping. Just that, with no fanfare.

Talk about an impulse to weep. I wasn't sure whether to sob with joy or leap to my feet with a "Hallelujah/A-men!" to the heavens and the network heads.

There's also a bunch of stuff in "Medium" about dreams and visions and all the other woo-woo stuff that generally fascinates me in real life, along with some flashy visual F/X-y stuff. But frankly, up against the anomaly of a real, live, everyday relationship on primetime TV, all that sparkly stuff feels...

Well, kinda ordinary.

xxx c