Like "The X-Files" filtered through a "Get Smart" sensibility, "The Middleman" feels every bit like the comic book from which it was birthed. Although short-lived, the single-season ABC Family series offered a good-natured dose of science fiction and the supernatural, all delivered an eye so winking, you can't help but wonder if a lash required extraction.
The title refers to the clean-scrubbed superhero (a game Matt Keeslar), who seems to be stuck in the 1950s, from his Brylcreem hairstyle to his outdated outbursts. Newcomer Natalie Morales is Wendy Watson, a former secretary recruited by him to help snuff out his specific brand of problems. These include " to single out some choice episodes " a terra cotta warrior, masked Mexican wrestlers (including guest star Mark Dacascos), sorority house ghosts, fish-eating zombies and aliens posing as a boy band. Did I mention the vampire puppet? What about Kevin Sorbo?
Sometimes, "Middleman" tries too hard, but at least it's committed to a purposely goofy, free-for-all tone. In other words, it's as close to a "Men in Black" live-action series as we're ever going to get. For those who like horrors served up with humor " and lots of it " this four-disc set may prove infectious. An amusing "Wilhelm scream" compilation shines among lots of extras " would you expect anything less from Shout! Factory? " but be sure to dig for the Easter egg. It's sheer elegance in its simplicity.