Tag Archives: The Middleman

Jericho Returns!

Yes, it’s the show that just won’t die and now it has been officially announced that the Jericho story is set to continue. But not in the way you might have expected.

You may remember that almost two months ago, the Choob reported news of a possible big-screen continuation of the Jericho story, albeit one that would leave the TV show’s small-town setting (and most of the characters) behind to look at the wider effects of the nuclear attacks on America and the efforts to rebuild. 

It’s all gone quiet on the movie front since then but CBS have now announced that the story of the town of Jericho itself, and the TV show’s characters, will continue – in a comic book series.

Jericho debuted on CBS back in September 2006. It told the story of a major nuclear attack on the United States, the resultant breakdown in society and the in-fighting and power struggles that followed, all seen from the perspective of the residents of Jericho, a small rural farming town in Kansas.

Mediocre ratings led to the show’s cancellation, with the season ending on a  massive cliffhanger. A highly successful internet campaign by fans saw the show renewed for a seven-episode second season but the viewing figures failed to improve and the show was cancelled for a second, final time.

Those extra episodes did give some closure to the main storyline that had been running through the first season but many plot threads were still left dangling.

Now those loose ends are set to be addressed in a comic book series, due to be published by Devil’s Due Publishing in the Autumn, which picks right up where the TV show left off.

The show’s co-executive producer Dan Shotz said: “Jericho is alive and well, thanks to the amazing fans who’ve driven us to find new and fresh ways to tell the Jericho story.

“The DDP team are great partners and have shown a true love for our show. We are so thrilled about this comic book series and the endless possibilities for the future of Jericho.”

Joining Shotz in developing the comic book will be most of the original creative team, including Jon Turteltaub, Carol Barbee, Karim Zreik, and Jon Steinberg.

DDP President Josh Blaylock added: “I can’t tell you how cool it is for DDP to be able to continue the Jericho story in comic book form.

“We plan to give fans the story they’ve been craving. This is going to be epic stuff.”

Jericho is just the latest cancelled TV show to get an official comic book continuation.

The Choob reported last month how The Middleman’s final episode, which was unfilmed due to budget limitations, would appear as a one-shot comic book.

Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller has also said that a comic-book continuation of his show is a real possibility.


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The Middleman – Down But Not Quite Out

There’s good news and bad news for those of us who are fans of The Middleman – but mostly bad.

ABC Family has finally confirmed that the show will not be returning for a second season. It’s not exactly a surprise – since there had been no word from the network about the show, which was critically lauded but attracted disappointing ratings, since it ended back in September last year – but it is still very disappointing that such a smart, literate and plain fun show never made it past episode 11.

On the plus side, fans will get to see – sort of – the final, 12th episode of season one, The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, which was never produced due to budget limitations. It is being turned into a graphic novel which will be released in July, around the time the show is due to be released on DVD.

This is somewhat fitting, since series creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach (a writer on Lost and Medium) first envisioned The Middleman as a TV show but when he couldn’t interest any networks in the show, he turned it into a comic book, first published in 2005.

Grillo-Marxuach is writing the graphic novel and promises it will tie up at least a few of the loose ends left by the show’s untimely demise. He also, in his Middleblog, points out that the characters in the comic will be drawn to look like the TV versions of the characters, rather than the way the characters looked in the original comics. For a sneak peek at the art, by Armando M. Zanker and posted on the Middleblog, see the end of this post.

Talking about the cancellation, Grillo-Marxuach remained upbeat and said: “Whatever future The Middleman  has will depend entirely on sales of the DVD boxed set. 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).”

He goes on: “I feel just fine and dandy. The Middleman was always a long shot. When I first wrote the pilot, a lot of people whose opinion I trust thought it was an impossible dream for it to be purchased by a television network, much less see the air as a television series. When the comic book was illustrated (beautifully, i might add) by Les McClaine, a lot of people whose opinion I trust argued that his lush visuals actually proved the impossibility of ever successfully producing the show on a television budget. And when I sold the pilot to ABC Family, a lot of people whose opinion I trust thought that the show would never survive the network development process with its weird, anarchically upbeat worldview intact.

“That we produced 12 quality episodes of the show – all of which I am proud – was the result of an alchemy of time, place and personnel that we may never be able to replicate. The simple fact that this show exists is a minor miracle for which I am eternally grateful. Also, I need to find new people whose opinion I trust.”

 Talking of the DVD, fans are promised to be rewarded for their loyalty with a DVD set bursting with extras and behind-the-scenes goodies.

Full details have yet to be confirmed but Grillo-Marxuach said: “We’re working on it right now. Definitely commentaries from cast and crew. Much of the online content and a lot of other surprises. If you like to delve otaku-like into the arcana of a show such as this one, I promise that we will do all we can to make this dvd set a vast vacuum from which no free time will emerge!”

For those yet to discover this amazing show, it’s a quirky comedy-adventure about young artist Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) who is recruited as a new assistant/apprentice by the Middleman (Matt Keeslar), an old-style, straight-laced, square-jawed, much-hyphenated, all-American hero who is an agent of a mysterious organisation, who is called upon to tackle evil forces and mysterious phenomenon that threaten the human race.

During the course of the series, these include mad scientists, hostile aliens, super-intelligent apes and interlopers from alternate realities.

It all sounds terribly derivative and cliched – but the beauty of the show is the way it takes these sci-fi/comic-book staples and adds a touch of knowing, affectionate irony, sparkling dialogue that is jam-packed with relevant pop-culture references and a sense of joy and fun rarely found on network TV. It will be missed.

 In case you forgot, The Middleman theme tune was my theme tune of the week a few weeks ago.

And here is the sneak peak at the graphic novel art:

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More Clone Wars And Teenage Secrets

The Cartoon Network has ordered a second season of the computer-animated Star Wars TV show The Clone Wars.

The 22-episode first season, which ends on March 20, has been a big success, with record audience figures among boys aged 14 and under.

George Lucas said: “We’re trying to push the envelope even further in the second season.

“In the features, I focused on telling the story of the Skywalker family. With The Clone Wars I’m exploring far beyond that and we barely scratched the surface in the first season.

“It’s exciting to be able to take people to all these new places in the Star Wars galaxy.”

The Choob has to admit he hasn’t seen the Clone Wars TV show (or the Clone Wars movie that preceded it) and so can’t pass judgment on how entertaining it is for over-14s.

However, it did provide the ammunition for the outstanding sitcom The Big Bang Theory to deliver one of the funniest TV moments of the year so far.

Our favourite geeks Sheldon and Leonard were discussing what to do of an evening and Leonard suggests watching the new Clone Wars TV show. But Sheldon hasn’t seen the movie yet and is having none of it:

Sheldon: “I want to watch the Clone Wars movie before I see the Clone Wars series. I prefer to be disappointed in the order George Lucas intended.”

Meanwhile, ABC Family, who still can’t put fans of The Middleman out of their misery by letting us know their plans for the show, have renewed The Secret Life Of The American Teenager for a 24-episode second season.

The 23-episode first season, which ends on March 23, has proven very popular, with especially high ratings with young women in the 12-34 age range. The show stars former Brat-Packer Molly Ringwald as the mother of a 15-year-old girl (Shailene Woodley) who falls pregnant.

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Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – The Middleman

This week’s classic theme tune is short but sweet – just 20 seconds of a catchy retro tune and classy visuals that channel the spirit of 1960s classic The Avengers through a 21st-century, post-modern prism.

(High quality version here.)

Yes, it’s The Middleman, the best new show of 2008.

Razor-sharp dialogue, clever plots paying homage to a host of classic movies, TV shows, novels and comics (complete with enough in-jokes and references to please the most demanding geek), classy production values (albeit on an all-too-evident tight budget) and spirited, playful performances marked this quirky show out as a cut above the rest.

Created by Javier Grillo-Marxuach (whose writing credits include Medium and several early episodes of Lost) – based on his comic book of the same name – the show is currently in limbo. Although not officially cancelled, chances of a second season seem slim – however the show has rated highly on many, many end-of year “Best of 2008” lists in the last few weeks, so you never know… Keep an eye on the Middleblog for news.

The Middleman… Fighting evil, so you don’t have to.

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