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30 Days of Television #1: A show that should never have been cancelled. - Danny Danger Oz [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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30 Days of Television #1: A show that should never have been cancelled. [Jun. 16th, 2010|11:50 pm]
dalekboy
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

I pinched this from angriest who pinched it from a bunch of others. Figured it might be a way to get some posts out of me. Of course, I'm vanishing for a couple of days over the weekend, so that'll mess things up a bit, but we'll see how I go.

There were so many choices I could have gone for, so many good or just unusual or interesting shows I could have picked. Normally I would have gone for Alien Nation because it was a truly great TV series. But since Grant has already snaffled that one, and everything he says is spot on, I figured I'd go for -


The Middleman
I think what I liked most about The Middleman was that it was a joyous show. Not cynical, or mean spirited, but fun and full of whimsy. Its humour came from fabulous characters and weird situations, not embarrassing circumstances or people being horrible to one another (unless you count Ida, an android locked in 'domineering schoolmarm' mode, who was delightfully horrible to everyone).

The main characters of the Middleman, Wendy, and Ida were well drawn and realised, and the supporting cast got their moments pretty much every episode as well. Plus it played against the stereotypical laziness of TV writing without ever cracking a sweat, easily passing the Bechdel test, as well as Deggan's rule.

It played knowingly with the tropes of villains and heroes from comics, TV, and film, but with the deft touch of someone who loves the genre and isn't trying to show how smart they are, but how enjoyable the genre is. Some episodes were 'themed' so that subtle references to a specific show or book were scattered throughout - one episode grabs its names from Dune, another from Back to the Future - the real wit of this was that they seldom went for the obvious references.

Was it a perfect show? No, but it certainly wasn't bad and it had a lot more heart than most TV. Most of all, one came away from The Middleman feeling happier, and not many shows can do that.



Fabulous little fan-made vid



Two public service announcements.




linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2010-06-16 02:33 pm (UTC)
It was just such a great show! *sniff* Though I did watch the readthrough of episode 13 on youtube.

I hadn't seen the tribute or the ads before. Fun!

It was only recently that it clicked that the actor who played Tyler is also one of the main cast of Lie to Me.

And the guy that plays Manservant Neville also shows up in Warehouse 13.

You're right in that it is indeed one of those shows that I find myself uplifted by. Sheer elegance in its simplicity.
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[User Picture]From: bunny_m
2010-06-18 03:33 am (UTC)
He also has a recurring role in Leverage, and my immediate thought on his first appearance was "Manservant Neville!"

And after watching all those awesome clips, I miss this show like it had just been canceled all over again.

=[
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2010-06-16 02:40 pm (UTC)
I liked the show. Not only was there the easy pass on Bechdel (and Deggan) but those characters spoke and acted like the artists they were supposed. it wasn't just a character note that came up occasionally, it showed up all the time, in a natural but funny way ('Name that Stanza!').

Plus I am a sucker for that whole pop-culture bricollage thing when it is done well.

The comic is pretty good - the early episodes of the show are based on it quite closely.
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[User Picture]From: leecetheartist
2010-06-17 12:20 am (UTC)
That really happened to you, didn't it?
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-17 01:31 am (UTC)
Oh it's happened a lot. I can think of several shows that ended with season cliffhangers and never got renewed. It's why I hate cliffhanger endings to seasons.
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[User Picture]From: leecetheartist
2010-06-17 01:49 am (UTC)
"You let yourself become distracted, and next thing you know, a geological rift opens and the city's overrun by three-toed hominids who once battled mankind for dominance while you've got your tighty-whiteys around your ankles."
"That happened to you, didn't it?"
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2010-06-20 11:00 pm (UTC)
Of course, if there is one thing I hate more than my favourite show being cancelled, it's the pilot of my own show being passed over in favour of another pilot by someone, that simply isn't as good yet not only gets two seasons but also gets picked up for a lucrative American remake on cable television, making its creator filthy rich while I'm struggling pay my bills and the cost of moving from Perth to Melbourne.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.
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[User Picture]From: ladyredde
2010-06-16 03:42 pm (UTC)
I loved this show, it was quirky and fun and I was heartbroken it was cancelled!

I hope one day they can bring it back

*Thank you for calling A.N.D. Laboratories, rescrambling your DNA, how may I direct your call?*

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[User Picture]From: sonictail
2010-06-16 04:50 pm (UTC)
If you've watched through Middleman yoou really need to pick up the doomsday armageddon apocolypse, especially if you're a fan of whovian concepts ;)

http://vipercomics.com/shop/the-middleman/the-middleman-obligatory-2-pack/

It's the last episode as Javier Grillo-Marxuach envisoned it. Seriously worth it.
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[User Picture]From: capnoblivious
2010-06-16 07:22 pm (UTC)
[ordered] Thanks - I tried to get hold of those some time ago, and couldn't.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-17 01:33 am (UTC)
Ta for the link, just in time to buy for our wedding anniversary. Sharon loved the show so much, she kept making us hold off on watching episodes once we knew it wasn't getting renewed - she wanted to make it all last as long as possible.
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[User Picture]From: jocko55
2010-06-17 03:19 am (UTC)
Yes. Bought the DVD and comic from Amazon. This after I had sampled a download from the web. Great show.
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[User Picture]From: ghoath
2010-06-16 11:00 pm (UTC)
Yay for proper posts! I miss your posts.
100 days of love and hate? *duck*
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[User Picture]From: mortonhall
2010-06-16 11:20 pm (UTC)

if you check out middleblog on LJ, you'll see a listing of all of the references to the different TV shows/movies etc

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[User Picture]From: leecetheartist
2010-06-17 12:23 am (UTC)
They included the ads and some bloopers on the DVD, as well as the screen test read throughs.

You can hear the crew giggling in the background. :-)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-17 01:33 am (UTC)
The DVD is awesome, well worth tracking down.
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