THE MIDDLEMAN: In 17 hours, when Sensei Ping fails to show up for his traditional breakfast of chicken feet at the Golden Ocean Teahouse in Chinatown, the Clan of the Pointed Stick will immediately send out three highly-trained Shiyuu fighters …
WENDY “DUBBY” WATSON: Reinforcements! Awesome.
MM: … to kill us.
WW: What? That sucks!
MM: Well, la-di-da, Dubby! You must be mistaking the Clan of the Pointed Stick for one of the rational societies of paranoid, celibate martial artists!
Such is daily life in the world of “The Middleman,” a comedy-adventure series created by “Lost” writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who adapted his own comic book to make this short-lived ABC Family program. The show’s host network proved to be both blessing and curse: ABC Family executives reportedly loved the show, but the necessary audience of geeks, Ain’t It Cool News talkbackers and Adam West-era “Batman” fanatics avoided the network — and the show — like a plague. They would have preferred to face a hundred Shiyuu fighters than to risk catching even five seconds of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” “The Middleman’s” death warrant was signed from the get.
Thankfully, ABC Family popped for a classy, four-disc “Middleman” DVD set, which you can get today for a pittance — anywhere from $14 (at Half.com) to $22 (at DeepDiscount.com). You can get to know the entire Middle-universe, from (aerosol) soup-to-nuts — the square-jawed, cliche-spouting title character (Matt Keeslar, note-perfect), the starving artist and Middleman-in-training Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales, funny and heart-stoppingly gorgeous), the cranky android Ida (Mary Pat Gleason, who nearly steals every episode), Wendy’s arty friends Lacey and Noser (Brit Morgan and Jake Smollett) and the supporting cast of zombie trout, alien boy bands, cursed tubas and vampire puppets — for a price that’s far, far less than this wonderful, pop culture reference-heavy series is worth.
I probably don’t have to to tell you that I love this show. Mix “The Avengers” with “Buckaroo Banzai” and “Get Smart” and you’re still nowhere near it. “The Middleman” is more addictive than a daily breakfast of chicken feet, and I can’t wait for you to get the taste. Try it.