Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brilliant but canceled

These days it's hard to even get one's dander up when an interesting, entertaining, and singular television show gets the ax before it's had time to build an audience. I still can't believe Better Off Ted got renewed; part of me believes that there has to have been a glitch in the originality-destroying mandate of network TV.

So if I didn't shed a tear when The Middleman got canceled by ABC Family after twelve episodes, it's not because I didn't love the show. I did -- oh, how I did. It's just that it truly felt too good to be true. My only hope was that a low-profile network like ABC Family trying to raise the stakes by investing in original content would hold on to the show simply because there weren't twenty other shows jockeying in the wings for its timeslot. But no, the pattern held true. This funny, sweet sci-fi comedy show with a firmly outsider point of view became yet another victim of the ratings juggernaut.

On the other hand, maybe it's not over. The DVD of the complete series is out, and creator Javier Grillo-Marxauch says (in this A.V. Club interview with Noel) that he and lots of other folks are keeping The Middleman alive in as many media as possible, so that if the momentum builds, they'll be ready to hop right back into production.

If you never saw The Middleman, do yourself a favor and Netflix the complete series. If you did see it, buy the DVD set and pass it around to your friends. Things might just have changed enough in the media industry business model that brilliant doesn't always have to be past tense.

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