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The Middleman: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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Based on the series of graphic novels by acclaimed writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost) and artist Les McClaine, The Middleman focuses on the titular superhero and his new protege, an aspiring artist named Wendy Watson. Together they defend the Earth against exotic problems such as animated Terra Cotta Warriors, evil lucha libre wrestlers, extraterrestrials, trout-eating zombies and much, much more! Both smart and exciting for fans of all ages, The Middleman scored big with critics when it debuted in June of 2008. Now the complete series is available in one collectible 4-disc box set that is chock-full of action, suspense,
wit and bonus features brought straight to you by the cast and creators of The Middleman themselves!
* Commentaries With the Cast and Crew
* Deleted and Extended Scenes
* Web Featurettes
* Gag Reel
* Audition Footage
* The Complete The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome Table Read
* A Gallery of Middleman Photography by Ralph King
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Before she knows it, our temp receptionist, Wendy Watson, is in the middle of the adventure of a life-time, fighting evil right along-side the Middleman (aka MM). And what adventures they are: fighting aliens from space disguised as the members of a boy band, collaborating -- or not -- with vampires who run a fashion company, entering Hades to prevent world destruction, dealing with evil alter-egos in an alternative universe, etc, etc, etc... and many of these adventures are handled before breakfast. Figuratively speaking, that is.
"The Middleman" is a loving parody/spoof of just about every genre any fan has ever been deeply, madly, eternally in love with... and I should know, 'cause I'm that way about all of them: most obviously, of course, is the general SF category -- but within this genre there are also the "robots are our friends -- or are they?" genre, the "invaders from space walk amongst us" genre, the "secret masters of the universe" genre, the "alternate universe" genre, the "Batman&Robin" genre, the... but why go on? If you're an SF fan, chances are you'll immediately recognize one or more of your favorite "what ifs" in every episode of "The Middleman."
And that's NOT to say that this show is derivative or recycled. On the contrary, Javier Grillo-Maxauch, the creator of "The Middleman", (who quite obviously is the SF Fan Supreme) has given every "what-if", every "do you suppose", every "could it be" that form the basis of all good SF tales those special little JG-M twists that raise his premises from "gosh darn good" (to paraphrase MM himself) to truly outstanding.
So. You start with a great concept; add exceptional writing (and, may I say, writing that was much too adult for ABC Family, the cable station that aired the episodes and dropped them after only twelve episodes); follow with casting that is absolutely spot-on for each character (I mean, even with the great writing, many actors would fail to make the Middleman anything other than a Dudley Do-right caricature, but Matt Keesler makes his nameless MM a three dimensional person -- even if he *does* drink milk and eschew any language more colorful than "heck" or "darn"); and finally, have directors who know how to handle parody and satire without making it so "over-the-top" that it fails to connect. The result will be that you have a timeless series.
I was hooked right from the start of the first episode, when Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales), our soon-to-be Middleman-in-training (Middlewoman? Middleperson? Middlebeing?), was completely unflappable in the midst of being attacked by a composite monster created in a genetics experiment gone wrong: "Andromeda Strain" sub-genre, of course. And I was *really* hooked the first time we met Wendy's roommate, Lacey Thornfield (Brit Morgan), and realized that in these two young women Grillo-Maxauch had given us two strong female roles unlike any others on TV.
And yes, with gorgeous guys and beautiful women on display, the romance genre is definitely on view here, in all its permutations: true love, unrequited love, love denied, love willingly embraced, etc, etc, etc. Interestingly, the requisite UST (unresolved sexual tension, for those who don't recognize the initials) in this show is not between MM and Wendy, but rather between MM and Lacey (who would really much rather NOT have her love be unrequited, thank you very kindly -- and I agree, which is why I adore the twist in the final episode which does, and yet doesn't, resolve the unresolvable).
So, we have both the SF and the romantic fiction genres in this show. What else? There's enough action-adventure to please any fan of the genre, enough friendship to satisfy any buddy-movie fan (the relationship between Wendy and MM and between Wendy and Lacey both qualify in this category), and enough "secret shadow government/agency" shticks to grab the Bourne audience -- provided they're willing to accept humor in the plots to take over the world.
I loved the show so much, I paid $1.99 per episode from i-tunes "just in case" the show never made it to DVD. But even with all the episodes sitting on my computer, I'm *still* gonna shell out the money to pick this set up as soon as it's released. The Middleman needs his fans.
The Middleman (2008) is a rare jewel. It’s part of my one season wonder collection, which includes classics such as The Prisoner (1967-1968), UFO (1970), The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994), Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992), Odyssey 5 (2002), Wonderfalls (2004) and The Middleman (2008). All of these series were wonderful, but they didn’t get a chance to end properly. They have beginnings, middles, but no endings. Another one season wonder, Firefly (2002), was followed up by a feature film, Serenity (2005), which provided closure for the cancelled series. This also happened with Farscape (1999-2003). The series was followed up by the movie Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004), which provided closure to the show.
Some series such as Cowboy Bebop (1998) and The Astronauts Wives Club (2015) are mislabeled as TV series when they really are miniseries because they had complete story arcs in mind before they started. In one season they provided a beginning, middle and end. They have more in common with the miniseries in the next paragraph than with the unfinished series in the above paragraph.
Most cancelled series don’t have proper endings because they don’t get a chance to finish their story arc, or they never had a story arc to begin with. I love good miniseries like Band of Brothers (2001), Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000), Lonesome Dove (1989, Pride and Prejudice (1995) and The 10th Kingdom (2000) because they have beginnings, middles and endings, like a good novel.
The only criticism I have for The Middleman is: After Ida (the robot secretary) dies they bring her back with no explanation of how.
Here are a few other series I really enjoyed watching more than once: Band of Brothers (2001), Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009), Black Sails (2014-2017), Cowboy Bebop (1998), Downton Abbey (2010-2015), Firefly (2002), Game of Thrones (2011-2019), The IT Crowd (2006-2013), Jericho (2006-2008), Lonesome Dove (1989), Lost (2004-2010), Merlin (2008-2012), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Rome (2005-2007), Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011), Stargate: SG-1 (1997-2007), Stargate: Atlantis (2004-2009), Star Trek The Original Series (1966-1969) and Star Trek Voyager (1995-2001). I didn’t list any contemporary series I’m following that don’t have an end date yet, not conducive to binge watching from beginning to finish, or the hundreds of other fantasy and science fiction shows I’ve watched.
If you like reading try some of my favorite authors: Richard Adams, Palo Bacigulupi, Suzanne Collins, Abe Evergreen, Diana Gabaldon, Hugh Howey, George Martin, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, and Andy Weir.
Also, I'm very excited that this show is being released by Shout! Factory who has put some the best dvd sets out, including Freaks and Geeks and My So Called Life. I know that they will do this show right.
In terms of the dvd itself, the packaging is very handsomely made and the Truth Bomb insert is a really cool touch. The art on the insides of the dvd cases is also excellent and shows off some of the great art design work that was put into small touches like the fake badges that they would flash on the show.