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Series Premiere: The Middleman – “Pilot”


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.

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