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Eike Schroter, ABC Family
Matt Keeslar and Natalie Morales star in the new ABC Family series "The Middleman."

"The Middleman" is sort of dopey, goofy and waaaay over the top.

And I mean that in the best possible way.

The new ABC Family series, which premieres tonight at 9 and 10, is a live-action comic book. Literally. Creator/executive producer/writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach ("Lost") adapted the show from his Viper Comics graphic novel (illustrated by Les McClaine).

It's sort of "Men In Black"-ish. Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) is just out of college and trying to make ends meet by taking temp jobs. While working at a lab, she's suddenly attacked by a genetics experiment gone wrong — and her level-headed reaction catches the attention of The Middleman (Matt Keeslar).

"You know how in comic books there's all kinds of mad scientists and aliens and androids and monsters and all of them want to either destroy or take over the world?" The Middleman says.

"In comic books, sure," Wendy replies.

"Well, it really does work like that," he tells her.

The Middleman is a superhero of sorts who's a good-looking, straitlaced nerd who drinks milk, says things like, "Dag nab it!" and has access to all sorts of great gadgets. And, with a bit of convincing, Wendy agrees to be his new sidekick.

Kids will enjoy the goofiness, but they definitely won't get all the jokes. Like when Wendy says she doesn't "do" dress codes and The Middleman replies, "It's bad apples like you who put Mr. Hoover in a dress."

There's nothing really offensive, but there's bleeped bad language — for comic effect — and cartoonish violence. It's not for younger kids, who probably won't be all that interested, anyway.

For the rest of us, though, there's a lot to like about the dopey fun in "The Middleman."

Showtime makes it back-to-back vices on Monday nights this summer, with prostitution serving as a follow-up to drug dealing.

"Weeds" (11 p.m., Showtime) resets as it returns for its fourth season. When last we saw soccer mom/drug dealer Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker), she had just set fire to her house. Now she's headed south, almost to the Mexican border.

"I'm starting a new life," Nancy says. "Fresh. The beach. Houses built before 1997. Clean air. I bet the schools are good."

She's not expecting her father-in-law (new regular Albert Brooks), but she does have "a plan in the planning stages." A plan that, of course, involves re-entering the drug trade.

"Weeds" remains an offbeat treat for its fans.

Then it's the debut of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" (11:30 p.m., Showtime), which is exactly what it sounds like — a comedy (and I use that term loosely) about a prostitute.

"I'm VERY high class. Which means I charge by the hour. And I charge a lot," says Belle (Billie Piper of "Doctor Who").

This is Showtime, it's less about the comedy than sex. It's soft-core porn.

And it glamorizes prostitution. 'Nuff said.


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