During a summer that’s seen an effort of recycling everybody’s syndicated childhood programming —
live-action versions of ‘The Hulk’ and ‘Iron Man’ — some of the good stuff is getting lost over at ABC Family. “
isn’t just some dime-store comic book property, it’s a fun, literate and self-conscious treatment of semi-secret agents, superheroes and villains, a pop-culture
Grillo-Marxuach is also the creator and veteran producer of such shows as “Medium” (2005), “Lost” (2004), and the short-lived “Boomtown” (2002). Middleman is probably best characterized as a reprise of the original Patrick McNee iteration of
Though the parent network, ABC has picked-up a few similarly quirk-filled shows during the past several years (‘
Why ABC Family would relegate an ambitious new genre show to a para-religous network is anyone’s guess, but the results of moving an engaging, family-friendly show from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on in the gulag of para-religious basic cable can only be interpreted as willful sabotage.
Fact of the matter is that the real audience for this show would be the comic-book savvy Buffistas, Browncoats and former Farscape fans, if not the fans of SciFi Channel’s ‘
Middleman stars Matt Keeslar in the titular role as a gadget-wielding superhero of sorts who is out to defend the world from mad scientists, criminal organizations and rogue daytime television hosts with the assistance of his able lieutenant, Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales).
In the first episode, Wendy and the Middleman go up against a PG-rated tentacled Hentai monster and cybernetically enhanced apes, in that order. Subsequent episodes feature Lucha Libre Wresters, Prada-wearing Succubi, Jewelery-eating aliens and evil daytime talk-show hosts. The dialogue is fast and pithy.