The season finale of Medium ended with a mild cliffhanger. I have a pretty good guess as to how things will get resolved, though: psychic housewife Allison Du Bois will track down a serial killer, neglect her cute kids, get in a fight with her husband, and be vaguely pensive about the whole thing. The producers have hit on a formula for a successful episode, and they sure aren’t afraid to milk it.

That’s okay, though, because they’ve hit on a surprisingly non-completely-sucky formula. That’s the description you’ll hear from pretty much everyone who’s watched Medium: “so much less bad than I expected.” It’s not a great series by any stretch of the imagination, but it keeps managing to find a balancing point between procedural crime-solving, family drama, and psychic weirdness that I still can’t bring myself to believe exists.

Much of Medium’s delicate balance stems from the fact that the show isn’t really about Allison as a psychic profiler as it is about Allison as a wife and mother with a really weird new job. She has to run off to crime scenes at inconvenient hours, leaving her husband Joe in the child-rearing lurch, and when she gets home late, they’re both cranky after long days of work. The snippy fights and mutual placation between the two of them are refreshingly realistic — the writers go to great lengths not to make either of them the badguy in the relationship, and you feel their frustrations as they simmer and boil over. “Realistic” is kind of an odd way of describing their relationship when you consider the fact that most of their arguments revolve around the fact that she can’t stop talking to dead people. And yet they pull it off.

I’m not sure how long into the show’s second season they’ll be able to keep pulling it off — a lot of the character development has been spinning its wheels for a while now — but seeing as how the show has already defied suckage for as long as it has, there’s good reason to be optimistic about its future.

Also: I know I’m getting soft in my old age when I find the Allison’s daughters to be utterly adorable rather than grating child-actor hams.