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Monday, August 11, 2008

Great Caesar's ghost! Won't someone please watch “The Middleman”?!

I'm not usually one to beg — what with my congenitally weak knees — but I think this situation calls for it.


Please please please please PLEASE won't someone, anyone, start watching ABC Family's "The Middleman," quite possibly the best spy-horror-sci fi-romantic comedy-satire ever created. It's the most fun I've had watching TV since “Pushing Daisies” (a show with which “The Middleman” shares a lot, stylistically and comically) went on hiatus.

And it's in trouble.

Forget for a moment its head-scratching placement on kiddie network ABC Family — a network I've only ever watched when it was airing a Harry Potter movie. “The Middleman” is no kid's show, what with all the quick-fire, pop culture-savvy dialogue, the sly double entendres, it's penchant for foul language (all bleeped out, with corresponding black boxes covering the offender's mouth, naturally.) Focusing on the comical adventures of a straight-laced fighter of supernatural evils (known only as The Middleman) and his sardonic, spunky sidekick, “The Middleman” has tons to offer. This is a show grown-ups can love, providing their inner child still enjoys zombies, hyper-intelligent gorillas, and watching boy bands get disintegrated by aliens.

So why ABC Family? Well, according to series creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach, it was all about creative freedom. “ABC Family bought this show and let me do it exactly how I wanted it,” Grillo-Marxuach told Alan Sepinwall of the NJ Star Ledger. “They continue to do their level best to get the show out there, but there's a reality about the sort of branding they have for their network.”

Which is a shame, because with the stigma of being on such an “uncool” network, this decidedly cool show is pulling ratings so low that ABC Family won't even release them, according to Sepinwall. Its first season was recently trimmed to 12 episodes — down from 13 — and its future is uncertain. (Grillo-Marxuach has even kickstarted an unofficial campaign for fans to show their “Middleman” love by mailing M&Ms to ABC Family.)

What does all this mean to you, the uninitiated and possibly uninterested? Nothing, except that in this wasteland of summer reruns and reality slop, you owe it to yourself to give one of the best shows on TV a chance. Even if storylines centered around cursed tubas from the Titanic or gangs of lucha libre aren't your particular glass of milk (an inside “Middleman” joke — see what you're missing!?), then the nonstop visual gags, movie references, buddy comedy, and honest-to-God heartfelt relationship drama should be a draw.

Does any of that sound good? Have I piqued your interest at all? Can I get off my knees yet?

“The Middleman” airs 9 p.m. Mondays (that's tonight, people!) on ABC Family. Watch it!

Adam Reinhard,

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I LOVE The Middleman. I watched it every Monday night this summer, and I'm planning on mailing over some M&Ms, to at least get the show on DVD.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 11, 2008 at 3:37 PM  

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