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The Middleman (2008)

The Middleman (2008)

This single series tv show is exactly the sort of tv I love to watch. Quirky, funny, full of pop culture references and interesting characters, it’s so much fun to watch. Based on a comic book series that the author, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, intended to be a pilot of a television series before realising the cost involved. Nonetheless, a single series was made.

The show is told from the perspective of Wendy Watson, a struggling artist who temps to make rent. She gets entangled in a case resolved by the Middleman involving a tentacled experiment gone wrong. Her lack of shock at the weirdness of the case leads the Middleman to recruit Wendy as a Middleman apprentice. Attempting to solve “exotic problems”, the Middleman is a strong-jawed, dorky, no-swearing man who’s real name is unknown (until the 13th “episode”). He is assisted by Ida, an android with an attitude problem, who is able to connect herself to the various machines used to help search for clues/information/people. Wendy finds it difficult to balance her unusual job and work hours with spending time with her friends conceptual artist Lacey, her best friend and roommate, guitarist Noser, with whom she mostly converse in song lyrics, and her love interest Tyler.

In the 12 episodes, all with wonderful names like “The Clotharian Contamination Protocol” and “The Cursed Tuba Contingency”, there are vampire puppets, sorority ghosts, aliens, quantum singularities and zombie-causing flying fish, just to name a few. There are awesome guest appearances, like Kevin Sorbo in “The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown” episode, as the Middleman frozen in 1969 (and thusly named to avoid confusion) who finds himself no longer necessary in the modern world. One of my favourite episodes is “The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation” where ghosts are haunting a sorority. There are numerous references to Ghostbusters in this episode, from the sorority being on Ray Parker Jr. Drive, to the evil genius being awarded the Egon Spengler memorial award for excellence in physics, to the lab being at the Reitman University Physics Building, to their codenames being Gatekeeper and Keymaster.

This is similar in feel to Eureka or Psych (two of my all time fave shows), with some occasionally serious problems cropping up but the general feel of this show is fun. I was intrigued to find out that Matt Keeslar, who played the Middleman, is now retired from acting and working as a nurse. Because of it’s shortened series, I recommend looking up either the comic book finale entitled Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, or the cast reading of the finale (at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con) to get some sort of resolution.

Would I recommend watching this? Yes. Even though it’s only one series, it’s great viewing and you can tell the actors are having a great time making it.

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