Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Middleman lives on... in comic book form

If you were reading this blog last summer, you know how badly I fell in love with ABC Family's "The Middleman," even as the low ratings made it clear this would be a short-term affair. Late in the season, I interviewed "Middleman" creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and he said that if/when the show was canceled, he could always continue the story the way it started: as a comic book.

Today, Disney made that plan official, as it announced plans for both a DVD set of the first and only season of the show, and for a graphic novel to properly wrap up the story of The Middleman and Wendy Watson. After the jump, the press release...
GREAT HEARTS OF PALM! ABC FAMILY’S “THE MIDDLEMAN” SERIES FINALE TO BE RELEASED AS SPECIAL COLLECTOR COMIC BOOK EDITION;

SERIES TO BE RELEASED ON DVD THIS SUMMER

Deals with Viper Comics and Shout Factory! Breathe New Life into Cult Hit

Burbank, CA (February 19, 2009) – Fans of the ABC Family cult hit series can revisit the weird world of “The Middleman” and his trusty side-kick Wendy Watson when the series finale episode appears in graphic novel form this summer. The series will also be released on DVD in summer 2009.

In a deal with Viper Comics, “The Middleman – The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse” graphic novel is to be written by creator/executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Hans Beimler, with illustrations done by Armando M. Zanker and layouts by Les McClaine. “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse” special collector’s comic book edition will be released in July 2009 to coincide with the annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego.

"The Middleman” season one DVD will include all 12 one-hour episodes that aired on ABC Family in summer 2008. The DVD will also contain extensive bonus material that will allow fans of the series to get an insider look at the mad capped world of their favorite heroes. ABC Family has partnered up with Shout Factory! to produce and distribute the DVD. The DVD will be available in July 2009.

"The Middleman” follows the surreal life of twenty-something year-old Wendy Watson as she gets recruited by a top secret agency to fight comic book-esque criminals under the guidance of her straight-laced boss, The Middleman. The television series, starring Matt Keeslar and Natalie Morales, was created and executive produced by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, based on his Viper Comics Graphic Novels (illustrated by Les McClaine).
Well, I know one thing I'll be reading this summer. Not as much fun as new episodes with Matt Keeslar and Natalie Morales, but at least it's something.

17 comments:

Karen said...

Well, that news sucks. I can't understand why they couldn't bring it back and let it try to build an audience.

Anonymous said...

Alan, were you a reader of the comics released before the show? I picked them up around the holidays and they were a delight. My only disappointment is that we have to wait six months for closure!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Well, that news sucks. I can't understand why they couldn't bring it back and let it try to build an audience.

The ratings were microscopic. It was never going to come back, not on ABC Family and not anywhere else. This is more closure than a lot of canceled series get.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, were you a reader of the comics released before the show?

Like you, I picked up the collected volume after the show had debuted, and I really liked it.

Rich C said...

Well, we knew MM and Dubby weren't really coming back (as much as we all hoped). So for me, it's sad, but not super sad.
I am however super excited that Disney is letting Shout!Factory handle the DVDs. No bare bones release for us! The Middleman is now guaranteed to live on (and even pick up steam) in cult fashion.

Anonymous said...

Having read the comics (and they were awesome), uh...they were pretty final! I don't see why they don't just release the third trade alongside it?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Having read the comics (and they were awesome), uh...they were pretty final!

But their continuity wasn't quite the same as the TV show's. (No Middle-Boy on TV, for instance.) I imagine the new graphic novel will follow the TV show continuity.

jayne said...

I will never understand why ABC Family would tank this wonderful show and champion that bizarre and disgusting American Teenager crap.

ABC Family my a**.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know where you can watch Middleman online? It's not on Hulu or abcfamily.go.com. You would think with a $85 subscription to DirecTV you would get ABCFamily, but no.

Dirk Digler said...

Ah..nevermind. Found it here: http://community.abcfamily.go.com/watch/middleman

ABCFamily's website either needs to have a search function or have all their shows in the video browse list.

Anonymous said...

No, that doesn't work. The ABCFamily website only let you stream the videos the weekend after they aired. Anybody else know where to find them online? This schizophrenia associated with online media content (see the Boxee/Hulu issues this week) is so frustrating. I guess Big Media is figuring it out slowly but surely...but I still think its gonna be a couple of years before it gets solid.

Hoosier Paul said...

Well, that certainly is bittersweet news. I never expected Middleman to run for years and years, but I had kind of hoped it would get a second season. I would have been happy with one more season to delve into the Middleman's backstory, to reveal the dark secrets that lurk in the heart of Manservant Neville, and to wrap up the Wendy/Tyler relationship.

I know the comic book will do some of these things, but like you said, Alan ... it won't be nearly as much fun.

ant said...

I'm impressed you guys tracked down a copy of the comic. My comic guy has had it on order for me for ages, but no luck so far.

I'm going to miss this show a lot, but I'll take what I can get.

dez said...

I'm glad we're getting some kind of closure, although I wish it was in movie form. Better the comic than nothing, though. I hope they do something similar for "Kyle XY," which was recently cancelled.

Hyde said...

It was the ABC Family association that was fatal to the show. The network had no interest in promoting something so far outside what its typical audience is used to, and I'm sure that many who would have loved it never bothered to check it out because it was on ABC Family.

Just you wait: 10 years from now, there are going to be 50 million people out there who will swear they were big fans. It will be like Police Squad!

Jon Delfin said...

"mad capped"? Yeesh.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Javi presents his own cancellation rumor FAQ.