July 22nd, 2009
At the heart of “Day Three,” part three of five of this week’s Torchwood: Children of Earth miniseries, is the fate of the middleman (sadly, the fate of canceled ABC Family series The Middleman remains the same, just in case you were wondering). With a new (Read: old) extraterrestrial threat at Great Britain’s doorstep, what’s becoming clear is that everyone and their mother wants to distance themselves from the conflict at hand. However, for various reasons, there are people trapped in the middle of the conflict who make things easier for one side and far more difficult for those who find themselves middlemen (and middlewomen, for that matter) in the midst of a very complicated conflict.
It makes for a really intriguing glimpse into the first ambassadorial contact with the 4-5-6, however, as the cloud of poison continues to shroud their identity in mystery in a way that doesn’t feel like a budget-saving move and instead feels just as moody and atmospheric as it should. We have three separate vantage points at the inevitable conversation that everyone has been waiting for, and all of them point towards this being a situation that will not end well, and one where the middlemen and middlewomen are likely to find themselves held responsible for things they never really wanted any part of.
And good or bad, I feel for all of them.
June 16th, 2008
ABC Family caught my attention with Greek, but the network has been making its own move in the cable television arena over the past few years. The network has had success with shows like Greek, Wilfire or the upcoming The Secret Life of the American Teenager, shows that most easily fit into their teen girl demographics, but they’ve also made a few leaps into genre television. It is in the spirit of Kyle XY, then, that they bring us The Middleman, a science fiction comedy with plenty to enjoy.
Of course, there’s a lot of pedigree behind this project; the series is based on a comic book by Javier Grillo Marxauch, best known to this TV writer as an Executive Producer during Lost’s first season. Here, he’s writing comfortably in a genre that seems to work for him, and one that feels simultaneously fresh and familiar. Yes, it delights in a certain amount of cheese, and its quippy dialogue feels like the director realized that Gilmore Girls and Juno were both big with the kids, but as someone who enjoys both of those things I was thoroughly entertained.
While there’s no telling whether the pilot’s quirks, from its dialogue to its use of roundabout redundancies and on-screen irony, will remain in the episodes that remain, but when you combine a winning premise, an enjoyable cast and a summer where the rest of my TV schedule is catching up on series much more dark and depressing, Chloe from 24 genetically engineering Apes to take over the mafia and being thwarted by a superhero and his art school graduate sidekick is more than enough to keep me watching.