2023/06/15

 

On June 16, 2023 The Middleman turns 15! Unbelievable it has already been that long! What’s even more strange is that my last rewatch was only my 2nd watch ever! I rewatched this in the first 18 days of May of this year on my SHOUT! DVD copy, region code 1 but since I play it on a Blu-ray player, it doesn’t matter which region it is. I always thought back with fondness about this show and more than once I felt like a rewatch but it never happened till this year.

 

I really don’t understand that this show was cancelled after only 12 episodes, this is such a weird and funny show, it just amazes me nobody seems to have watched this. When I upload pictures of The Middleman on my twitter account @SFSeriesMovies, It rarely gets any likes, as if nobody knows it or nobody has seen it, or people don’t like it, but that I cannot imagine! Well, this is a must see show, especially for you SCI-FI fans, this is just too good to ignore! Okay, it is definitely an acquired taste, it is not like any other SCI-FI TV show, it is unique in its kind. Throughout the series there are many pop culture references from movies, TV shows like Star Trek, Doctor Who, sports, movies, comics, graphic novels you name it. It is hard to catch them all but you undoubtedly will find some.

 

It is about a secret organization that fights everything that is out there, which is not normal like aliens, monsters, you name it. Perhaps in that sense it can be compared with the Men In Black movies, but only the premise that two people solve “out there” crimes, to try to stop aliens who are trying to take over the world. The Middleman (Matt Keesler) is sort of a Men in Black guy and he needs a new partner, Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) becomes his new partner because when she sees something abnormal, she doesn’t freak-out, doesn’t scream or anything, just stays calm! The Middleman sees an apprentice in her. Her roommate Lacey Thornfield (Brit Morgan) is an artist and she is kept in the dark about what her roommate actually does for a living with this so called temp agency. She however has a major crush on her boss, the Middleman, who has these same feelings for her. Wendy Watson has a boyfriend, Tyler (Brendan Hines), who almost became the Middleman’s apprentice instead of her. Noser (Jake Smollett) lives in the same complex as Wendy and Lacey, he is always in the hallway asking cryptic questions to Wendy when she comes home or just leaves. Ida (Mary Pat Gleason) is the Middleman's android assistant. She is provided by the O2STK (Organization Too Secret To Know) and takes on the appearance of a middle-aged librarian. Ida runs on a very powerful battery which allows her to serve. Ida definitely has the best lines in each episode, she steals almost every scene she is in. Even when she is in the background of a scene you can’t help but noticing what is happening there. I just read while writing this that unfortunately Mary Pat Gleason is no longer with us, she died in 2020 at age 70.



For me, like the original Star Trek, The Middleman also revolves around 3 characters: The Middleman, Wendy Watson and Ida, these 3 characters work very well together, the constant banter is so much fun to watch and it goes so fast, you will have to keep up because they can talk really fast with the techno-babble.

 

The season consists of 12 episodes, originally confirmed for 13 episodes but because of low ratings it was reduced to 12 episodes. It is based on the Viper Comics series, The Middleman, created by Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine. In February 2009, a comic book based on the unproduced 13th episode was announced, confirming the series' cancellation. Billed as a "series finale", The Middleman – The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse was released in July 2009. The complete series DVD set was released by Shout! Factory on July 28, 2009. It is a 4-disc set. The 12 episodes are spread out over the first 3 discs, disc 4 consists only of special features. Here you can see a “Unboxing of” in pictures.

 

Episodes:

As I said, 12 episodes, there isn’t an episode that is bad or mediocre, there are all well above mediocre, they all have strange-like long titles. The best episodes: “The Cursed Tuba Contingency” - A cursed tuba that survived the sinking of the Titanic now becomes a dangerous tool capable of causing a whole shipload full of innocent people to "Drown in the icy waters of the North Atlantic" unless the Middleman & Wendy figure out a way to stop an immortal man intent on carrying out his nefarious plot. Ida again has the best lines, this is the case in almost every episode. Reference to Highlander with a Tuba, because the dude was born in 1899. “The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown” with guest star Kevin Sorbo, he is so funny in this. He is the Middleman from before, 1969, he was cryonically frozen. Star Trek reference: Fun joke about Scotty, ahh, Star Trek, it’s about a cancelled TV show, you probably never heard of it. And the series finale is the best of them all, “The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome”, Wendy is sucked through a black hole and transported into an alternative universe and must find her way back. Again a Star Trek reference, Mirror Universe. The series finale does not end on a cliff-hanger so that is a plus anyway. It ends kind of satisfactory but I really wish we would have 4 or 5 more seasons of this!



Critical reception:

Just to give you some more information about the critical reception, to show you it was heavily praised, reviewers really liked it:

The A.V. Club gave the entire series a A−. Daily Variety wrote that "this series could potentially work on any number of networks, and it's almost too smart for the room at ABC Family; nevertheless, this sprightly summer arrival should fit nicely into the evolving niche the channel established with Kyle XY." TV Guide had it as its "Mega Rave" for the week of June 15, 2008, and wrote that "It's loaded with clever banter – like Men in Black if Will Smith's character was a geeky girl." UGO gave it an A− overall and an A for story, calling it "fun to watch." The Boston Herald gave it a B− and wrote that "all that's missing are some onscreen blurbs like 'BAM!' and 'POW!” Newsarama wrote that "stylistically, the current show this most resembles is Pushing Daisies, with its colorful sets and rapid-fire screwball dialogue" and that "it's about goofy ideas and having a good time, the kind of show you'll want to watch repeatedly to catch a line you missed the first time." (Wikipedia)

 

Final Word:

Sorry but I keep saying it, this is a show everybody should know and seen, this is so much fun, there is so much garbage out there while this gets cancelled after 12 episodes, it is just criminal! If you can find it on a streaming service, or perhaps you own it on DVD, please watch it again in honor of its 15th anniversary in June 2023. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed!


With help from Wikipedia



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