Great Caesar's ghost! I missed this series when it aired on ABC Family in 2008. Heck, I'd never even heard of it until a couple of weeks ago when I randomly stumbled across it. And boy, am I glad I did!
The Middleman (his real name is never given in the series) is the agent of an organization so secret, even he doesn't know who he works for. He's charged with saving the world from all kinds of amazing threats: alien invasions, mad scientists, zombies, ghosts, vampires, and super-intelligent gorillas. When he destroys a giant, tentacled beast and saves completely unfazed receptionist (and post-abstract expressionist painter) Wendy Watson, he hires Wendy to be his sidekick. And so begin the adventures of the Middleman and "Dubbie" (or as Wendy's confrontational performance artist roommate and best friend Lacey calls her, "Dub-Dub"), fighting evil so the rest of us don't have to.
Created by Javier Grillo-Marxuach from his comic book series of the same name, The Middleman embraces every fun superhero, SF, and adventure trope, subverting and playing with some tropes, playing other tropes completely straight. It's an unabashed superhero/spy-fi romp that manages to be over-the-top cheesy, subversively smart and funny, and emotionally deep. While only 12 episodes ever aired (with a 13th episode that was written, adapted as a comic, and performed at San Diego ComiCon), the show manages to build a sweet mentor/mentee relationship between the Middleman and Wendy and has one of the best friendships I've ever seen in a TV show between Wendy and her roommate, Lacey (a friendship that nicely passes the Bechdel Test). Each episode is also jam-packed with pop culture references--spanning TV, movies, comics, music, and art--and smart, snappy dialogue.
If you like colorful, weird, fun, smart, optimistic superhero adventures (like I do), you're going to love The Middleman, or I'll be a son of a monkey's uncle! I'm as serious as a Hefty bag full of Rottweilers.