I admit it. I scoffed when I first saw the promos. ” A silly sci-fi comedy on ABC Family? ” I said to myself, “Man, that is sooooooo gonna suck.”
Well, self, you sir are an idiot.
I was dead on with the silly though, or maybe quirky is better, regardless of either word, the show works. I struggle to find the right combination of words to describe the show properly so, in lueiu of failling miserably I’ll provide with a snipper from the L.A. Times review:
Our heroine is Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales), alliteratively named in the tradition of Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, Billy Batson, and Clark Kent. (Superheroic identities available on request.) A video-game-playing, comics-reading, deadpan millennial nerd girl — a type now in vogue if not yet in Vogue — she paints at night and gets by as a temp in the day, until she is recruited as a sidekick by the Middleman (Matt Keeslar) after he sees her attack a “hentai tentacle monster” with a letter opener. (The word “hentai” alone should raise goose flesh on certain viewers.) A square-jawed milk-drinker, exceedingly all-American in the way that spoof heroes often are, the Middleman is also a little dark, as if the clean-cuttedness were a kind of candy-coating on a potentially explosive soul. He has no trouble with violence.
I recommend you head over and take a gander at the full review since entertainment reviewer Robert Lloyd does a fantastic job of nailing what the show is all about. I won’t mention everything he says there but only echo him with a hearty “Agreed!” and move on.
Monday night’s episode featured ghosts and had me laughing out loud a several points. Try as might I couldn’t keep track of all the Ghostbuster’s references but was much impressed that they wen’t so far as to reference Tobin’s Spirit Guide, and even go outside the Ghostbuster’s universe proper with the inclusion of a Reitman Hall on the campus where the action takes place. Few shows are as purely entertaining as The Middleman and if you’re suffering through the late summer television doldrums I highly recommend you give this little show a shot.
You also might try one of these, if you really like the show. The season was shortened to 12 episodes and while the reviews have been good the ratings haven’t been too high (I think an earlier time slot might improve things), check out the Middleblog for updates on the show.
The Middleman airs at 10 PM EST on Mondays on ABC Family.