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Clarification

Supernatural drama, or . . . supernatural drama?

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Threshold
This one-hour prime-time CBS drama is built around the paranormal premise that an alien force, transmissible through electronic systems, wants to destroy humanity, and that a secret paramilitary agency has to stop it while keeping everything under wraps. Its lead character, played by the buxom Carla Gugino, is a tough government agent who’s been known on occasion to get a little too emotionally involved in the cases she works on. She’s supported by Peter Dinklage (spending indie credit accrued on The Station Agent) and Brent Spiner, who knows a thing or two about alien-invasion plots from his long stint playing the yellow-eyed android Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Ghost Whisperer
This one-hour prime-time CBS drama is built around the paranormal premise that dead people who have not yet “crossed over to the other side” sometimes want to chat with the living. Its lead character, a medium played by the buxom Jennifer Love Hewitt, has been known on occasion to grow frustrated with her “gift,” because it gets in the way of her newlywed life. She’s backed up by David Conrad (spending indie credit accrued on Woody Allen’s Anything Else) and Aisha Tyler, who knows a thing or two about ill-conceived TV series from her stint hosting The Fifth Wheel, a reality dating show in which four single people were ferried around on a bus and forced to get to know one another, and then were confronted by a buff tempter or temptress.


Medium
This one-hour prime-time NBC drama is built around the paranormal premise that a woman named Allison DuBois can solve crimes by seeing dead people. DuBois, played by the buxom Patricia Arquette, is a strong-willed woman who’s afraid for her mental health because of the strong emotions her gifts stir up. She’s supported by Jake Weber (spending indie credit accrued on Wendigo, and non-indie credit from Mind of the Married Man) and Miguel Sandoval, who knows quite a lot about crime drama on account of having played approximately 10,000 drug kingpins over the course of his career. Last week, DuBois confronted the spirit of a dead doctor who, it turned out, had been a serial killer in life.


Surface
A one-hour prime-time NBC drama built around the paranoia-inducing premise that a mysterious new species of sea creature is appearing all over the planet. Its lead character, played by the angular Laura Daughtery, is an oceanographer who discovers the secret. In the early episodes, she confronts a government scientist, Dr. Aleksander Cirko (Rade Sherebedgia, spending indie credit accrued on Snatch), and a Pentagon official (Ian Anthony Dale) charged with keeping the investigation under wraps. There’s also a teenage kid (Carter Jenkins) who hatches one of the creatures in his garage; the two have gone on the lam, and the baby creature is emerging as the series’ star. Last week, Dr. Cirko, who had learned too much, was offed by the government. Nobody contacted his spirit.


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