Turns out you may need to finish up a few last-minute errands before you go into the light. And if that is the case, if, say, you need to have an urgent message delivered to a loved one, then you might want to seek out the services of Jennifer Love Hewitt's Melinda Gordon. A freelance medium, she can be hired for a song.
Yeah, yeah, she sees dead people. And when she sees you, she will do everything in her power to help you complete your final tasks. Like a personal shopper, or a courier service, she will make sure the job gets done, and done on time, so that you won't miss your big date with destiny. Her name: ''Ghost Whisperer." Her game: Putting down ghosts.
''Ghost Whisperer" premieres tonight at 8 on Channel 4, and it's certainly the least interesting of the season's new supernatural series. It's a namby-pamby, touchy-feely version of ''Medium," the NBC series for which Patricia Arquette won an Emmy on Sunday. Think of it as ''Touched by a Medium." Like Arquette's character, Melinda is based on a real person (medium Mary Ann Winkowski) and she has a home life, with paramedic husband Jim (David Conrad). But unlike Arquette's character, she gets all buddy-buddy with her spirit guests as she helps them find peace like a therapist.
Melinda is open about her special gift with her husband and her best friend, Andrea (Aisha Tyler), and they accept it without doubt. But when she visits strangers with urgent missives from dead people, they tend to be skeptical. Tonight, Melinda has to contact the son of a dead soldier who fought in Vietnam, and the encounter doesn't always go smoothly. But until she can convince the son to believe her, or until someone invents Ghost Prozac, the father is going to mope around her, looking sad and gaunt (he's played by Wentworth Miller of ''Prison Break").
At times during ''Ghost Whisperer," the sentiment is so thick you might want to go away from the light -- the light from the TV set, that is. There are no crime plots here, just teary psychodramas that inevitably result in healing and uplift courtesy of our sweet and sensitive heroine. The message of the show: Don't leave any loose ends behind you, or you'll have to spend a few post-mortem hours with ''Ghost Whisperer."
Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.