Though ABC Family has cancelled The Middleman after a single season on the air, the adventures aren’t over just yet.
The Middleman follows a straight-shooter hero (Matt Keeslar), his newbie assistant Wendy (Natalie Morales), and their fantastic adventures together. Other characters are played by Brit Morgan, Mary Pat Gleason, Jake Smollett, Brendan Hines, Drew Tyler Bell and Sean Davis.
Based on a comic book from Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine, the TV show aired from June 16th to September 1st, 2008 on ABC Family. As creative as the series content is, the ratings weren’t all that fantastic. Due to costs, a planned 13th episode wasn’t shot and some of the money was funneled into episode 12.
With mediocre ratings, it was suspected that the series wouldn’t be coming back for season two. Last month, ABC Family made it official and announced that the series had indeed been cancelled. Though many viewers are understandably upset with the network, Grillo-Marxuach has found it hard to share the sentiment.
On his blog, he wrote, “Why would I hate an organization that believed in my vision, put their own money and production company behind it, gave me a level of creative latitude the likes of which I have not seen in fifteen years in the business, provided me the opportunity to put to air twelve of the most highly idiosyncratic hours of television ever — even when the show’s lack of commercial success would have easily justified their yanking the series from their air at episode six — and furnished my first opportunity to run a series?”
He also applauds the network’s going the extra mile to release the series through Shout! Factory, who he calls “a DVD producer whose reputation for quality product insures that we will have the best possible chance at a lasting artistic legacy.” The four-disc DVD release of Middleman is coming on July 28th and Grillo-Marxuach promises that it will be worth the wait. In addition to all 12 episodes, it’ll include commentaries from the cast and crew, much of the special content created for the Web, and “a lot of other surprises.”
Being released around the same time will be a special graphic novel that will serve as the TV show’s series finale. It’s based on the script that would have been the show’s 13th episode and the characters will look like the actors from the show, rather than the comic book versions. McClaine, the series’ original artist, will provide the layouts.
What can viewers expect to see in the graphic novel? Well, the Middleman and Lacey’s long-unconsummated romance will evolve. The identity of the Middleman’s “other woman” will be revealed, as will his real name. Some of the characters you’ll see include Roxy Wasserman, the underworld desk clerk, and manservant Neville.
We won’t however be seeing Lacey’s unseen Mom and we also won’t be learning what happened to her Dad who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. For the latter mystery, Grillo-Marxuach encourages fans to check out the last two pages of the original graphic novel that inspired the TV show.
For the actual plot of “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse,” Grillo-Marxuach teases that it will have parallels to what we saw in episode 12, “The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome,” about the characters in a bleak, parallel universe.
So is this truly the end of the Middleman TV show? Grillo-Marxuach prefers not to think of the series as cancelled but merely in hibernation. He says, “If the DVD sells well, maybe there will be an opening to bring the characters back in some form or another… history has shown that this is a possibility (as in Serenity and Family Guy — you know, hope springs eternal).”
In July, Grillo-Marxuach and others will be attending Comic-Con in San Diego to promote and discuss the DVD and graphic novel releases. The show might be finished for now but the Middleman story isn’t done just yet.
Image courtesy ABC Family.