Monday, August 11, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: Trying to save 'Middleman'

If you've been reading the blog this summer, you know how much I've grown to love "The Middleman." With four episodes left in the season, I decided it was time once again to express that love in newspaper form, and so today's column is half ode to the show, half interview with creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach. And if you want to read more from that interview, I also posted a full transcript.


Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for pushing this show so hard.

For others interested in saving it - things that can't hurt:

Go to and give them page views - and better yet, comments! Watch the vids, comment to the blogs, and (when it's working again) post in the forum.

Watch the viewing parties -

You can go alone and you can start them anytime - over the next few days just set them up and let the eps run while you clean up or something. It gives them ad money and numbers.

No nielsen box? Well, now Nielsen lets you vote on shows: I don't know how much it counts towards ratings, but It's SOMETHING.

And on Tuesday, we of the middlecast ( ) will be talking to Javi and perhaps more ways of saving the show will come up!

Figgsrock2 said...

Alan, thanks so much for getting the word out there on this show. I'm certainly not optimistic, but its good to know there's a critic out there who will stick up for quirky quality.

David J. Loehr said...

I've got to say, between this, "Burn Notice" and "Mad Men," it's been a good summer. This hits me in the same mental tickle spot as "The Tick," but this cuts across more of my favorite genres--the faux "Avengers" opening just about killed me.

Happily, I'm not the only person I know who pumps a fist in the air and says "Art Crawl!" And both my 6 yr old and 3 yr old think Mark Dacascos' line reading of "Sensei Ping" is the funniest thing ever. (It's thoroughly skewed my "Iron Chef America" viewing, that's for sure.)

I just love the fact that I can share such a fun show with them--much like I discovered "The Avengers" and "Maverick" and "The Man From UNCLE" and all as a child. That's something rare these days outside of classic TV on DVD.

Karen said...

Wow. Kevin Sorbo? Hotcha! I might have to watch tonight's live.

"The Secret Life of an American Teenager" is a Brenda Hampton show, and no one can say what Faustian bargain that woman has made to keep her godforsaken crap on the air and getting high ratings. I mean, the heinous "7th Heaven" was actually brought back from the cancellation grave! It's inexplicable! Poor Grillo-Marxuach should be grateful he still has his soul, even if he doesn't have her ratings.

I will be very sorry if ABC Family doesn't keep "The Middleman" going. It has grown on me very much since my initial indifference, and now my DVR guarantees that I never miss an episode. There's such godawful yet successful dreck on that network--I'm looking at YOU, "Kyle XY"--that surely they can carry "The Middleman" until its cult following grows a little?

Unknown said...

Karen, Secret Life is the example I brought up in my message to ABCF of a much less appropriate programming choice. Hampton must have pitched in the middle of the Juno frenzy or something, but for a network that airs disclaimers before every episode of 'Gilmore Girls', Secret Life is a much more appalling production expenditure than the clever and sunny Middleman.
Thanks, Alan for championing this great show!

Anonymous said...

Let's all get together and send those 25 cent cartons of milk you used to drink in grade school to ABC Family! Once they start to spoil, our point will be made!

Viva la Revolicion! Also: Art Crawl!

For those wondering, I don't actually expect anyone to send ABC Family milk. I just love that that is what you do now when a show you like is getting cancelled. Thank you, Jerichoholics.

Anonymous said...

I dunno; I liked the "M&M" hint on Javi's blog, noting tangentially that those "M"s could stand for "MiddleMan" or upside down "Wendy Watson"!

Anonymous said...

ABC is to blame.

Only by accident did I see Middleman. On the night of its premier I unblocked ABC Family. When the premiere ran I didn't know it was a new show at all. At first I thought it was some kid's show. Then I was thinking, "Wow, this should really be on the ABC network." But I promptly forgot all about Middleman (given I don't frequent ABC at all*) until two weeks ago (io9) and still haven't seen anymore of Middleman. Where can I catch up on the shows? ABC Family doesn't have the shows. Idiots.

*Seriously, I cannot name one other single show on ABC or ABC Family. They do so little extra-network promotion, it's not hard to understand why the show is lost. (Oh, Lost. Lost is on ABC! A show I once loved but stopped watching in 2006 for reasons too numerous to mention.) Okay, some memory is returning... Desparate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, two shows that were good out of the box but were dead on arrival come season two. Guess ABC is victim of ditching Monday Night Football, probably the only thing I watched on the network since the '90s (maybe even '80s) other than the aforementioned shows.

Anonymous said...

Alan, thanks for a great interview. It's great to read that Javier is taking just the positives from this experience.
I'm sad that more people haven't gotten into MM, but I am quite thankful you were one of them. I would never have heard of this show on my own. Thanks for recommending it!

"Yeah. I know that one."

Anonymous said...

Ouch... Javi's website is down ( Is that a bad sign, or just bad luck?

Javi: if necessary, may I recommend a cheap, no-frills web host?

barefootjim said...

I just have a bad feeling that "Middleman" is going to end up on the one-season-only pile with other shows I loved like "The Tick," "Andy Richter Controls The Universe," "Lucky" and "Karen Sisco."

Anonymous said...


Actually, ABC Fam promoted the show HEAVILY at the beginning - they had promos on other networks, at theaters during movie trailers, they had posters everywhere, and they even took out ads in comic books.

Now - some people didn't LIKE the promotion, but the fact is they DID promote it - it wasn't until later in the season that they started pulling back some.

And they put the eps up to watch free, but that's a LOT of bandwidth to use to have them all up for free. So they keep the most recent two or three:

(I do wish they'd keep them all up though)

You can catch up on iTunes or Xbox Live - not free, but both good places to do it.

especially since money speaks loudly to networks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, speaker. Missed those spots then. Okay, iTunes. Add Middle as another reason to fix my network connection to my iTunes drive. Can't believe I've gone three weeks as it is without it.

Mo Ryan said...

Thanks so much for the Javi interview and the Middleman coverage, Alan.

I too have been loving the show this summer. I am grinding my teeth at the idea that it might end soon. It's one of the few things my son and I watch together, and enjoy equally, for very different reasons. He is not so keen on the "talking parts," he's more into the monsters and the action. Whereas I'm just such a huge fan of the dialogue and the "anti-meanness."

Fingers crossed that someone gives it a second season. Can't tell you the number of times I've meant to go to bed, only to get sucked into a Middleman episode.

Unknown said...

And keep Dub Dub in the Hitler smoking jacket, please. She is really rocking that look with some sexy, sexy androgyny.

Anonymous said...

There's such godawful yet successful dreck on that network--I'm looking at YOU, "Kyle XY"

Aww, I love that silly show!

It will be hard for me to part with M&Ms, but if that's what it takes, I'm ready to start sending 'em along...

Anonymous said...

Wanted to spread some more kudos on the tremendous support you've given to The Middleman.

I'm trying to do the same over at the site I'm working on and I wanted to ask if I could use a snippet of your Ledger article (the one describing the show)?