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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

‘The Middleman’ may well save us all ... or at least our summer

Imagine a hybrid of "The X-Files," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Pushing Daisies." Then imagine that hodgepodge actually being good. You've got ABC Family's new "The Middleman."

Yeah, ABC Family. The network with programming so lame it makes The Disney Channel look like friggin' HBO has a serious contender for best series of the summer with this little charmer about a pair of sardonic, supernatural crime fighters.

Created by "Lost" producer/writer and awesome-name-haver Javier Grillo-Marxuach — and based on his own graphic novels — "The Middleman" recounts the exploits of a button-down, clean-cut man of mystery known only as The Middleman. Whenever something freaky happens — usually involving aliens, monsters or possibly Paula Abdul — The Middleman (Matt Keeslar) jumps in to clean things up. He's joined by slacker artist and cutie-patoot Wendy (Natalie Morales), who survived a monster attack during her temp job at a genetics lab, and reluctantly signed up for superhero duty.

The pilot — which premiered last night, but can be caught again Sunday at 9:30 p.m. — was a breezy, witty delight, with the rapid-fire dialogue of "Daisies" or "Gilmore Girls," cheesy, tongue-in-cheek special effects, and a hilariously nonsensical plot involving the Mafia, hyper-intelligent gorillas, and probably the best interrogation scene ever centered around a glass of milk.

If you can swallow your pride long enough to actually tune in ABC Family, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality on display with "The Middleman." As far as summer series go, you couldn't ask for more.

Adam Reinhard,

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Hey Adam, go ahead and be an ABC Family snob! I, for one, love the 'Gilmore Girls' reruns (it's the ONLY network I know of that carries reruns). And how about the '8 Simple Rules' reruns? How can you pass up watching John Ritter in the last comedy before he died?

Sure, the network has its share of lame shows, but don't ALL networks these days?

By Anonymous Julie Riebe, online editor at the P-G,, At June 18, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

I love the Gilmore Girls, too!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 18, 2008 at 12:40 PM  

We ALL love "Gilmore Girls," me included. Jaded TV bloggers can love Lorelai and Rory just as much as certain nameless sports reporters.

I may have been too quick to put down ABC Family. Maybe it was just those promos for another new show of theirs: "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Groan.


By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At June 18, 2008 at 12:51 PM  

Agree. "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" should really be called "The Secret Life of the American Prepubescent." And it really just looks like a knockoff of Juno minus the coolness, witticisms, and with more angst to the Nth degree.

The girl gets pregnant and the family has to deal with it. There. Y'all can skip the series. And you're welcome.

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At June 18, 2008 at 1:47 PM  

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