You can expect to see a number of things on NBC's "Medium" in the coming season -- animation, marital tensions, maybe even another 3-D episode. One thing you won't see, creator Glenn Gordon Caron insists, is characters from other NBC shows.
"Other shows have come to us" with ideas for crossover episodes, Caron says. "And I've always resisted because I feel very strongly -- our show is based on a real-life person [psychic Allison DuBois]. To have a real-life person commingled with a fictional character -- and maybe it's just in my head -- but in some way it impugns the integrity of the real-life person, or at least dilutes it."
That realism is important to the series, which begins its third season at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. Caron and the show's writers take pains to show that Allison (Patricia Arquette) has a fairly normal life -- job, husband, kids -- in order to make the supernatural elements of her life -- she can communicate with the dead and has prescient dreams -- stand out.
"Basically we're doing ghost stories for adults. And the way a ghost story works is you sit around a campfire, someone talks to you, they're very quiet and they suck you in and then go 'Boo!,'" he says. "In our show the equivalent of the boo are the dreams, which are fantastical, and the equivalent of the sort of whispering is the family life. ...
"You really believe, to the extent you're willing to, that you're watching a sort of typical American family, and then there's this amazing thing that happens."
Arquette is also drawn to the more grounded elements of the show, particularly Allison's relationship with her scientist husband, Joe (Jake Weber). That love gets tested a little in the two-hour season premiere, when the ghost of one of her old boyfriends (played by Arquette's real-life husband, Thomas Jane) shows up at their home.
"I don't think he should be worried at all," Arquette says of Weber's character. "I think she's madly in love with him. But I also think we have our pasts. You have a past where you learn how to love people and have feelings for people before you end up with your mate. Allison is an empath, and she very much lives by her emotional reality. So yeah, the men she's cared for and the relationships that didn't work out have helped her grow to appreciate what she does have in her husband."
The episode marks the first time Arquette and Jane have worked together, and she says it was something of an odd experience seeing her real and on-screen husbands in a room together. She also admits to still having "a crush" on Jane.
"It was really interesting. I mean, I know my husband's foxy, but it was like, Ooh, he's really foxy," she says. "It was funny to see them together and play that dynamic. Clearly I felt a certain way about my husband, and I do love Jake a lot -- we're really good friends. But to make your choices that are clear to the character -- it was funny. So different from who I am."
The real Allison DuBois has become more well-known because of "Medium," although she continues to live her life more or less as she's always done. And Caron, who also created "Moonlighting," says he has no plans to "out" the show's Allison as a psychic.
"My fear is if we jump into that, it would change the show in some empirical way that I'm not smart enough to make work as well as the thing we have now," he says. "I'm not saying never, but as the guy who went, 'Yeah, David and Maddie should sleep together,' I'm reluctant to say, 'Yeah, people should know she's a psychic.'"