I liked ABC Family’s Middleman, and the DVD set of it (due next week) is a typically fine Shout! Factory production, but I don’t think I realized how much of a following it had until the San Diego Comic-Con, where a lot of the web and Twitter talk revolved around the Middleman panel, and specifically the live table read of the unproduced 13th and final episode. The DVD set includes the script of the episode, but not, obviously, the table read. Something in the show just really clicked with the online community. It’s like with the absence of light, silly sci-fi shows from TV (most of the ones that are on the networks and basic-cable channels are pretty heavy and dark), Middleman became a short-lived refuge for viewers looking for an escapist but geek-friendly show.
It’s not surprising that the show didn’t really work on ABC Family, though; that network has actually shown a tendency to gravitate towards somewhat soapier, heavier fare — Greek and Secret Life of the American Teenager are not deep, but they are not particularly light — toward naturalistic subjects, and away from science fiction and fantasy. Their longer-running sci-fi show, Kyle XY, was canceled soon after Middleman, as the network basically adopted a no-geeks-allowed policy.