Title card of CMT's Mom's a Medium

Review: Mom’s a Medium isn’t pure tedium

B-

So, what does one do if they hear voices in their head that they can’t shut off? Get a reality show on CMT of course.

Carmel Baird giving a reading to an old lady at Save On Foods

Carmel giving a random reading at Save On Foods (screenshot cmt.ca)

Carmel Baird looking to the ground anxiously

Carmel tends to look anxious throughout the episode (screenshot via cmt.ca)

CMT’s Mom’s a Medium follows Carmel, the titular mom/medium, who hears voices of spirits from nearly everyone she comes across. The problem is there’s no way to get away from them. It’s a pain as everywhere she goes—even the grocery store—the voices are there. So when the spirits of someone won’t shut up, she asks the person if they’re okay with mediums and tells them what she hears.

After gesticulating a lot and saying things like, so and so sends their love, or so and so says you’re beautiful, the other person almost always gets teary eyed and then Carmel feels “blessed.” If she doesn’t deliver the message, she gets incredibly anxious.

Carmel’s readings, which may include meeting someone randomly, group readings or one-on-one sessions, are interspersed with footage of her ordinary, regular life. Depending on your tastes, you could find her personal life dull or charming.
A woman weeks after one of Carmel Baird's group readings

So much for skepticism (screenshot via cmt.ca)

All mediums likely face some skepticism and Carmel is no exception. For example, a woman who shows up to a group reading in the debut episode says she is skeptical of mediums, appearing indifferent to it. However, when Carmel tells her that her dead husband says she is beautiful, she’s in tears and “lost it.” In terms of skepticism, that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

No one seems to give Carmel a hard time about the voices, which I find surprising as many of the things she says aren’t all that meaningful or could be said by anyone. Think about it, anyone could say they’re a medium, ask if they lost a relative and then tell that person that their loved one says they’re beautiful or they’re sending their love. I suppose you just have to have blind faith that what Carmel’s saying is true and she’s simply not pulling the wool over your eyes.

Carmel is quite possibly one of the nicest, most genuine personalities on TV, so it’s easy to believe what she’s saying. Personality helps make or break reality shows and hers easily saves this show from being forgettable. In fact, it makes the show enjoyable and her family is great as well.
Carmel's daughter with her own daughter

One of Carmel’s daughters asks for help with her own daughter, but Carmel is already preoccupied with worrying about her own mother (screenshot via cmt.ca)

Aside from Carmel’s readings, a good part of the debut episode is focused on the anxiety that she has with her critical mother coming for a visit. When Carmel’s mother is introduced and three of Carmel’s daughters are in the house with children of their own, you start to get a Mom vibe, which is funny because I thought Mom was a bit unrealistic as it had three generations of mothers under one roof and now we have that right here. The only difference on this show is that Carmel’s daughters just tend to stop by and don’t really live with her.
Keghan's guitar strum is the closest this show comes to country music (screenshot via cmt.ca)

Keghan’s guitar strum is the closest this show comes to country music (screenshot via cmt.ca)

Although this is a CMT show, it has virtually nothing to do with country music. Her son Keghan’s guitar strum, which lasts for about a second, is pretty much the closest the show comes to it. Actually, the absence of country music on this show isn’t that surprising. Much now airs South Park, CNN airs the travel series Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Comedy airs reruns of Cash Cab, History has Ice Pilots NWT, HGTV has Buy It! Fix It! Sell It! (which I reviewed earlier), both TSN and Sportsnet air movies from time to time and try to see if you can learn a damn thing on TLC, which was The Learning Channel and is now, I’m not sure.

CMT was focused on country music now it appears to be focused on rural culture (and that just happens to include country music). That market seems to be crowded though. There’s Duck Dynasty on A&E, Honey Boo Boo on TLC, Fool’s Gold on Discovery (which I also reviewed earlier) and probably more than half of the shows on History. Sure, there’s a market for this type of thing, but it’s becoming over saturated and Mom’s a Medium may get lost in the noise.
Closeup of Keghan Baird looking at his grandma

Keghan with his grandma (screenshot via cmt.ca)

The show also seems carefully crafted to be used across several Corus channels. It has just a bit of country to barely make it suitable for CMT, enough of an appeal for women to work for W and has faux educational value, which makes it perfect for OWN. It could even work on YTV if they continue to play up Keghan’s role in the series and the family aspect.

Running one show across multiple networks seems to be more of a problem lately, especially since most of the channels in the country are divided between Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Corus. Didn’t want to watch Package Deal on City? How about watching it on FX Canada or FXX? Still no? Didn’t want to watch Hot in Cleveland on CTV? How about watching it on CTV Two, E! or Comedy?

Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Corus are lucky, they don’t really have much foreign competition due to the CRTC so they can reuse the same old crap across many channels without worrying that we’ll get fed up and watch something else on TV, but it seems they forgot about the netoh hello there Netflix.
Chicken leaving the Baird Ranch chicken coop

Your gut reaction would probably be to close the door, but when you’re filming a reality show(screenshot via cmt.ca)

Baird family and friends chasing chickens

Those dang chickens (screenshot via cmt.ca)

But back to Mom’s a Medium, I suppose the show’s appeal to the country music market is that Carmel and her family live on a farm. The show plays off that and near the end of the debut episode the family and Carmel’s friends chase loose chickens across the yard.

The camera guy was there to not only film that the chicken coop was left open, but there to film the chickens escaping, why didn’t he just close the thing and go back to filming Carmel and co.? Well, that would mean there wouldn’t be an ending to the episode you goof.
Keghan gracing the Baird family meal

Well, you can’t eat dinner without gracing it first (screenshot via cmt.ca)

Carmel’s family is like any other family and they have their squabbles, but they really love each other and it shows. It’s something that’s seems to be thrown in the show to make it relatable and it works. The rural family aspect seems to be a big part of Mom’s a Medium. The debut episode even has a nod to The Waltons where everyone says good night to each other and you see the lights go out. Thankfully, they’re not as dull as The Waltonsbut arguably not by much.
Episode Reviewed: Visited by Spirits and Grandma
Mom’s a Medium airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CMT
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