by Mark Greig
It’s the same old sad story. Boy discovers new TV show. Boy falls madly in love with new TV show. Mean TV executives cancel new TV show. Boy is heartbroken. Pre-orders the DVD.
The deranged brainchild of Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost, The Dead Zone, Medium), The Middleman is a glorious celebration of all that is nerdy and geeky without resorting to the patronising mockery of lesser TV shows (yeah, I’m glaring disapprovingly at you, Big Bang Theory). This is a show where reading comic books and knowing your B5 from your DS9 is not only socially acceptable but the height of cool and an essential requirement if you wish to foil the evil plans of the bad guys on a weekly basis.
The basic premise is sheer elegance in its simplicity; aspiring artist Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) is recruited by 50s throwback and fixer of exotic problems, the Middleman (Matt Keeslar), to fight evil, save the plant and exchange witty barbs and pop culture references. Week after week our dynamic duo battle everything from gorilla mobsters, Mexican wrestlers, flying zombie trout, alien boy bands, vampire puppets and doppelgangers from an evil universe where everyone has a goatee. Yes, it’s that kind of show.
Along the way we meet a delightfully quirky and lovable cast of characters including Wendy’s adorable roommate and Middleman crush Lacey (Brit Morgan), their musician neighbour Noser (Jake Smollett), the Middleman’s cranky robotic assistant Ida (Mary Pat Gleason), the exceptionally named Manservant Neville (Mark A. Sheppard) and the wonderful Sensei Ping (Mark Dacascos).
Throw in subtle and not-so-subtle references to everything from Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bond, The Avengers, Indy, Buffy, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters and too many more to mention and you have possibly one of the greatest, geekiest TV shows ever! So of course it was cancelled after just one painfully short season.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.