ABC Family’s The Middleman has potential to be a great summer series. Created by and based on a series of graphic novels by executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, The Middleman tells the story of Wendy Watson, a sarcastic art school grad who works temp jobs in order to paint in her free time. At one of her jobs at a local laboratory, Wendy witnesses an experiment that goes completely wrong; a stranger shows up to handle the situation, introducing himself only as “The Middleman.” Because she was calm and cool under pressure, she is recruited to work with The Middleman (and his pal Ida) to fight the comic book creatures and villains that are running rampant in the city. She’s joined for the ride by her activist roommate Lacey and her nosy guitar playing neighbor Noser.
What I liked about the episode was the speed with which the actors delivered their lines. The show is fast-paced, and packed full of action. I liked how seamlessly Wendy’s work life and home life actually worked together. I liked Natalie Morales’ delivery of every line she gives as Wendy; I think the character is perfectly cast. I think Matt Keeslar as the do-good Middleman is fantastic. I just think the cast is likeable, and the surprise cameo by Mary Lynn Raskjub (Chloe on 24) was a perfect fit – almost like I totally expected her to show up before she did. I also loved the title cards that popped in and out of the episode.
I think that, at times, the writers could get themselves in trouble by making Wendy (Dub-Dub to Lacey and Dubby to The Middleman) too sarcastic for her own good. I know from sarcasm, and I know that it can get on people’s nerves very easily. I also realize that the show is based on a graphic-novel so everything has to be a bit “larger than life,” but I think that the show has to maintain some base in reality in order to continue watching. I hope that the show doesn’t go any more “over the top” than the pilot. If they continue to be steadily funny with an interesting storyline and interesting villains, I think I could see myself tuning in on a weekly basis.