Help Bring Back The Middleman

Image from The Middleman IndieGogo campaign
Image from The Middleman IndieGogo campaign

You know that friend who regularly informs you that by not watching a certain show, you have missed out on the best entertainment the world has ever had to offer, and your life is lesser due to having not seen it? No, I’m not talking about the ones mourning the end of Breaking Bad. I’m talking about me, and the look of horror I get when you say you haven’t seen The Middleman.

In the wonderful but all-too-brief summer of 2008, a magical thing happened: ABC Family started airing a show with the most clever writing I’ve ever seen on television, with an engaging cast and fearless lady lead. The Middleman was based on the Viper Comics series by the same name. Of course, as you can expect with a show so brilliant, it got a mere 12 episodes before being cancelled. (See my post 6 TV Networks That Aren’t What They Started Out To Be for a bit on the problems of ABC Family’s great shows.)

Heck, the very first scene involves secretarial temp Wendy Watson at A.N.D. Laboratories (re-scrambling your DNA!) calmly dealing with an attack by what she herself calls “the hentai tentacle monster.” And it only gets better from there.

The Middleman is an all-American, clean-cut, classic hero type. Despite previously being a Navy SEAL, as Wendy points out, even his cursing repertoire consists of epithets like “jumping bananas,” “sands of Zanibar,” and “sweet mother of Preston Tucker!” His name is known only to the inimitable Ida, the android dressed as a woman who links all the Middlemen through the years. Wendy’s an artist and geek gal (a gamer who laments that she was just about to “crack the Slovakia torture dungeon level on Gut Wrencher 3”) who gets drafted into sidekick status thanks to her high skill roll in Epic Calm When Faced With Epic Weird. She’s more frequently referred to as DubDub by her roommate, Lacey. (Does Lacey look weirdly familiar? She was Debbie Pelt in True Blood. Try to watch both and imagine Debbie as Lacey. You’ll go cross-eyed.)

Now that I’ve gushed for a moment, let’s talk about the return of The Middleman, thanks to an IndieGogo campaign that as of this writing has, on its first day, already raised more than 1/3 of its $37,000 goal. Reaching their funding goal will mean producing a new comic book episode, “The Pan-Universal Parental Reconciliation,” as well as a print-on-demand service for the older books as well, as they are soon to go out of print.

“The Pan-Universal Parental Reconciliation”? Did I not mention this show had the best episode titles? Pretty much the opposite of Friends and its “The One With” formula. It’s hard to pick favorite with a list that includes “The Flying Fish Zombification,” “The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation,” and “The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation.”

Several of the most interesting perks in the campaign are already all claimed, largely due to including props from the show, such as “the screen-used mole stain that gave away the thieving Mexican wrestlers in ‘The Sino-Mexican Revelation.'” But there’s still plenty to get your hands on, from a copy of the new graphic novel to autographed prints and tickets to the cast reunion and live reading of “The Pan-Universal Parental Reconciliation.”

The what? Oh, yes. They’re getting the band back together. May 24, 2014 in LA, the cast is coming together one more time to do a reading. The Middleman, DubDub, Ida, Lacey, Noser, High-Aldwyn, and… for the role of “Comic Book Wendy,” Amber Benson. If you can be in LA on May 24, I can’t imagine not wanting to see that.

Geek gush over. You have a few things to do:

1. If you haven’t already, The Middleman DVDs. Wear them out. I know, that’s pretty tough with optical media, but I believe in you.

2. Support the return of The Middleman through the IndieGogo campaign.

3. Go buy the existing graphic novels if you can find them. They’re expensive on Amazon, but some are available. Comics America has some availability, but eBay might be your best bet.

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By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.