Film Length: 7 hrs., 37 min.
Aspect Ratio:1.33:1 full frame
Having had a few ESP-like moments at various times in my life, I’m not one to pooh-pooh the suggestion that there are unseen realms into which some gifted people can tap. Psychics have long been a staple of television fare, and with the surfeit of crime shows available on various cable channels, a subset of this group has made themselves more well known, namely the forensic psychic or psychic detective, people who come in to investigate crimes, hoping to shed new light on what are often dead end or actual cold cases.
Discovery Channel’s Sensing Murder (recently moved from the parent channel to Investigation Discovery) features two psychics of renown, Pam Coronado and Laurie Campbell, notable in that they appear to be pretty normal women, unlike some of the frankly crazier appearing psychics that dot other shows of this ilk and related fare like A&E’s largely lamentable Paranormal State. As with most shows of this kind, Sensing Murder follows a pretty standard formula: the crime (usually murder) is detailed, Coronado and Campbell come in separately and get initial readings from a personal item of the victim, and then they visit the crime scene, where they are able to glean even more information.
Sensing Murder, while perhaps being less exploitative than other shows that rely more or less on the same premise (each episode states that the psychics were brought in at the victim’s family’s request), still is hampered by the same generalities that often affect most psychic readings. While Coronado and Campbell often completely concur on basics, frequently getting at least passing references to things that only the police know, they also rarely if ever get specific enough information to actually crack a case. Your patience with this series is then predicated upon your tolerance of knowing that no case is going to be solved, even while tantalizing new “information” is purportedly uncovered by the women.
The series also presents at times quiet graphic reenactments of what police believe happened during the crimes which were perpetrated. Since some of these 11 episodes spread over two discs deal with sexually motivated crimes against women, this is certainly not a show for younger children, or even older ones who are easily upset by dramatizations full of violence and occasional blood. While this show tends to focus more on the psychics’ abilities and their methods of operation, there’s enough clinical forensic data presented at times to occasionally turn the squeamish stomach, so forewarned is forearmed.
If you’re a fan of this kind of show, you could certainly do a lot worse than Sensing Murder. Coronado and Campbell are two extremely likable and dare I say down to earth psychics, neither of them playing to the camera and seeming to be quite sincere. If the show suffers from a certain routine sameness, maybe the eventual solving of one of these crimes based on these psychics’ intuitions will help elevate its status above a sort of high minded television parlor trick.
Video Quality: This is pretty standard television fare, with above average sharpness and detail and decent enough color and saturation. Many of the reenactments utilize filters and excess graininess, to variable effect. There's nothing that's going to knock your socks off, image-wise; similarly, there's nothing that's going to bother you, either.
Audio Quality: The DD 2.0 soundtrack is, like the image quality, pretty standard television fare. Separation is minimal, but all voices and narration are completely clear and easy to understand. There is occasional use of sound effects, especially in the crime recreations, which are reproduced with excellent fidelity.
Release Date: December 2, 2008