23 July 2008

True Love

So, I fell in love this summer.

Before my parents start making happy noises about impending grandchildren, I should probably point out that I fell in love with The Middleman, a wacky action-adventure series on ABC Family.

So here's what happened:

There's this guy, and he was a producer and writer on lots of shows a show I absolutely adored, called Jake 2.0. You may have heard of it. It was Chuck before Chuck was Chuck, only starring Betty's boyfriend from Ugly Betty, who was also Harrison John (aka "Joe"). Jake was an NSA tech support guy who was involved in a lab accident and gained super powers nanites that allowed him to wirelessly connect to technology, and became a Secret Agent and fought crime. While still being an adorkable geek boy. You with me so far?

Right, this guy is named Javier Grillo-Marxuach (pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove"), and I interviewed him a long time ago for a Jake 2.0 website. And it was kinda awesome. He wrote that one where the nuke went missing, where all the characters were named after characters from Firefox, and it had Mr X from X-Files, and Badger from Firefly was the baddie. And in the interview, he referenced 'Droids. This makes him cooler than cool to me, which you know, may just be me. Still.

Then, when Les Moonves killed Jake 2.0 smack in the middle of the UPN advertising upfronts (yes, I am still bitter), Javi went and worked on Lost. And while there, he met Paul Dini, who is A GOD (okay, I should probably also point out that Batman: The Animated Series may have had an inordinately huge impact on my university career). Anyway, Javi told Dini about this pilot he'd written, back when he was a producer on Charmed, but it never sold. And it was about an art student who becomes the apprentice of a square-jawed, gun-toting milk-drinking Honest To Gosh Hero called the Middleman. And they fight evil, so you don't have to.

Dini convinced Javi that The Middleman would make a great comic book. So Javi teamed up with artist Les McClaine, and sold the book to Viper, who published it as a black and white indie. And then, come 2007, ABC Family ordered a pilot. So the pilot that was turned into a comic book got made as a pilot, and they ordered 12 episodes. It started airing in June, and I have tuned into ABC Family, a network I had never previously even heard of, every Monday night since.

The thing that I love is, Wendy and the Middleman don't fight just fight evil... they fight silver age comic book evil.

We're talking sentient super-intelligent gorillas, evil alien dictators posing as a tween boy band, and trout-craving zombies. TROUT. ZOMBIES. Two great tastes that taste great together. If a flying island that shoots flame-breathing dinosaurs at you shows up, I would not be surprised. But it's also balanced with Wendy's life with her flatmate and neighbour, in an illegal sublet full of wacky artists. Wendy is a fantastic character. Not only does the show pass the Bechdel test... Natalie Morales has fantastic comic timing, and she and Matt Keeslar have terrific chemistry. Not romantic, mind you (Lacey and the Middleman have a little flirtation going that's stupidly adorable, but he's really too busy saving the world from supernatural, paranormal, and extra-terrestrial evil to date her. Also, Wendy might actually kill him if he tries. Which I think may be coming up next week). But the whole ensemble just makes me glee. Especially Ida the cranky robot sidekick. And Noser, who hangs out in the hallway, speaking in Zen-like quotes from song lyrics.

Look, we're at the halfway point. Six episodes have aired, and there's another six to go. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "I'll just wait until it's finished, and watch it on DVD when it comes out."

Stop that this instant. I mean it. For one thing, it may never come out on DVD. Look at Jake 2.0. The pain, it is still fresh. Or, better yet, look at Firefly. It was That Show You Never Saw Until It Came Out on DVD And You Wished You'd Watched It While It Was Still On the Air. Don't be that guy. No-one likes that guy.

Six 45 minute episodes? Shoot, that's a Saturday afternoon. Grab some friends, a six pack or three of beer, order in pizza, and veg out, I say. Have a MiddleMarathon! And if you don't tune in the following Monday... what have you lost? Four and a half hours of a Saturday you probably would have spent cleaning out the garage, or running boring errands like shopping for food or sorting laundry. Or surfing the internet. Shut up; I know that's how you spend your week-ends. You're here on my blog, aren't you? I bet it was Google that brought you here.

BEER. MIDDLEMAN. PIZZA. GOOD TIMES. I'm just saying.

1 comment:

Kirk said...

Gosh, I love the way you write...and say nice things about me...isn't it about the time of year we usually try and catch up?

Hope all is well, m'love...oxox, KT