Monday, July 7, 2008

Is 'the Middleman' any good and does any of this really matter anyway?

So, if you're a geek like me, you're probably aware of a new TV show on the ABC family channel called "the Middleman," a sort of nerd friendly, quasi-superhero, sci-fi comedy type show about a post collegiate slacker who falls in with an organization that defends people from scientific and supernatural anomalies and other science-fiction-y type disasters. I've watched this show a few times now (well, it's only been on a few times), and the obsessive geek in me appreciates a program about a cute girl who lists Mouse Guard as one of her favorite comics, prefers Barry Allen to Wally West and watches Lucio Fulci films with her roommate. But the strength is also kind of a problem, it's a little too hip for TV, especially coming from Disney (owners of ABC family channel- the same channel, it should be noted, that inflicts the world with the hate-filled invective of the 700 Club).

Geek TV always straddles a fine line between irreverence and self-consciousness. On the one hand, you've got shows "Battlestar Galactica," which appeals to geek interests without referencing geek culture. On the other hand, you've got series like "Spaced" from UK, which captures the tenor of being a mid-to-late 20's pop culture nerd quasi pseudo hipster slacker loser type, or whatever. Somewhere in the middle, there are shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Veronica Mars," which temper their self-consciousness with genre millieux. This, I guess, is where you find "the Middleman," but still, there's something problematic about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Or maybe I can- I don't like it when Disney makes TV shows where people talk about things I like. I don't like that Disney knows about things that I like. I don't like people trying to fool me into fooling myself into believing that there are people like me on the TV. Or maybe I don't like that my interests are commodified and mainstream enough to show up on TV. Oh, all is vanity. Or something. But anyway, I guess the question is, is this show kind of alright, which it sort of seems, or is it just a crass attempt at blah blah blah I don't know I don't care there's a war and food crisis on and I'm writing about pop culture TV shit, so who really cares?

Oh well, I was going to write some film reviews and stuff but I'm depressed now, so instead I'm going to go pull the covers up over my head and cry for a while. I thought this shit was supposed to be escapist...

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