TV: The Middleman
Every TV show, especially the ones that aren't based on some other successful series, goes through that awkward pilot phase. The characters and concepts are new to the viewing audience, the network tries to shuffle the timeslot around, and everything's in limbo, both creatively and financially. "The Middleman," a new series on ABC Family, is in that period right now:
I've seen the first two episodes, and my reactions are mixed. On the one hand, the concept could be a winner - the tone is sort of a cross between "The Tick" (the live action version) and "Men In Black." For series leads Natalie Morales (who plays snappy Everywoman Wendy Watson) and Matt Keeslar (the titular Middleman), it's the best chance at success they've had in awhile.
But there are problems. The show's budget is shoestring, to put it mildly - it looks more like a kid's Saturday morning Power Rangers episode than a primetime series. The dialogue, which is often verbose, is sometimes delivered in a leaden fashion from actors who are almost out of breath.
"The Middleman," like a lot of shows, is a comic book adaptation. Unlike most of those shows, though, creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach originally intended this as a zany TV show, so it'll be interesting to see if it ever finds its legs.