Are You Ready For Middlemania?

There's really only one show on television this week, and it's the one with the natty suits and the crazy monsters. Tonight sees the debut of The Middleman, ABC Family's fun and inventive show about superheroes who save the world from aliens and stone warriors. Okay, so there's also new Doctor Who, Charlie Jade, and some cool animated shows. Plus documentaries about mega-volcanoes and the space program. Okay okay.

The Middleman:

The biggest development of the week, without any doubt, is tonight's debut of The Middleman on ABC Family at 8 PM. It's the most anticipated superpowered show since Heroes. (Weirdly enough, it doesn't feature a webcam girl who sees her evil alter ego in the mirror — how did this ever get greenlit?) Instead, it's all about a straight-edge crime-fighter who drinks milk and battles outlandish foes including Chinese Terracotta warriors and Mexican luchadores. And his sidekick Wendy, who's an art student and office temp who becomes his equal in the saving-the-world biz. We couldn't possibly be more excited about this show, especially after watching some of its wacky Public Service Announcements. Here's a trailer:

Documentaries:

Once again, the biggest documentary of the week is another batch of When We Left Earth, the National Geographic Channel's sweeping look at NASA's history. (This time it's just two hours, not four.) The show features exclusive footage and insider accounts. It starts at 9 PM Sunday, and this week's installments include the Challenger disaster, the building of the International Space Station, and NASA fixing up the Hubble Space Telescope. Here's a clip:



Other big documentaries include Tuesday's rerun of The Universe on the possibility of space travel, on the History Channel at 8. At exactly the same time on PBS, Nova has a rerun of an episode about "Megavolcanoes," so take your pick — space exploration or Earth-bound disaster? And then on Wednesday at 9, History has a new MonsterQuest, about the "Ohio Grassman," who's like Bigfoot, only more likely to wind up in Cheech and Chong's bong. And finally, on Friday at 8, History has a new Modern Marvels, all about "Corpse Tech," which is what coroners and medical examiners use to solve crimes and save lives. Including a trip to the "body farm," where decomposing bodies are studied. Yum!



Fat Guy Stuck In Internet:

Tonight's the first 15-minute episode of Fat Guy Stuck In Internet, at 12:15 AM in the Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" lineup. It's just what it sounds like, and we featured a clip from it last week. The first installment includes jokes on Tron and Star Wars.

Doctor Who:

Quite probably the best episode of this season of time-traveling action-soap-comedy Doctor Who airs on Friday at 9 PM. "Silence In The Library" is written by uber-scribe Steven Moffat, who's taking over as the show's head writer in 2010. Without giving away too much, it's a spooky slow burn that takes place in an abandoned planet-sized library, where death lurks literally behind every bookcase. And we meet someone who turns out to have great significance in the Doctor's life. Here's my spoiler-filled recap (I liked this episode better than the second half of the story, which airs next week) and here's the first nine minutes or so:

Also, if you need to catch up, Sci Fi is having a Doctor Who marathon all day Thursday. (And a Stargate: SG-1 marathon all day Wednesday, and a Jake 2.0 marathon during the day Friday.)

Charlie Jade:

There's a new episode of South African/Canadian alternate-universe noir show Charlie Jade on Sci Fi at 8 PM Friday. Charlie Jade tries to figure out how he traveled to an alternate universe (which is almost exactly like our universe) and the key seems to be a renegade Vexcor scientist — but 01 Boxer, the only person who can travel between universes without any help, also wants to find that scientist. Here's a clip:

Animation:

There's a new Transformers: Animated at 10:30 on the Cartoon Network. Honestly, this plot synopsis might as well be in Swahili for all the meaning I can derive from it. So for those of you who might understand it, here it is:

Optimus Prime teams up with Grimlock to get something for Blackarachnia when she springs Meltdown from prison in her latest attempt to get rid of her organic half.

And here's the first half of the episode:

There's also a new Venture Bros. as part of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup, on Sunday at 11:30 PM. It's called "My Dinner With Hatred," and not much is known about it, but fans are speculating it focuses on Sergeant Hatred. Says one viewer:

Promos show what appears to be Sargent Hatred's hover tank, and Brock beating up what appear to be Sargent Hatred's henchmen, my guess is that these are from this episode.

And then at midnight Sunday, there's a new Metalocalypse on the Cartoon Network. Here's the synopsis:

The guys visit bomb victims in a hospital and are targeted by a terrorist organization.

Random movies:

Sci Fi is showing The Man With The Screaming Brain at 3:00 AM tonight (or tomorrow morning depending on how you look at it.) It's Bruce Campbell doing what he does best, with one of his most outlandish plots. Sleep is totally overrated. And Earth Girls Are Easy is rocking Showtime tomorrow at 1:30 in the afternoon. You don't have anything else to do during the day, do you? It's Julie Brown! USA is showing a double feature of K-Pax (11:30) and Weird Science (2:00) Thursday during the day. Which movie is creepier? Which one will make you more likely to go on a bombing spree? TiVo them and let us know.

Finally, the Sci Fi Channel has a ton of movies next weekend, but the one I have to single out is Dinocroc, opening at 11 PM on Sunday. DINOCROC!! Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like, and it's produced by Roger Corman. It's better than Carnosaur, more powerful than Grizzly Rage, hungrier than Maneater, thingier than Man-Thing. Don't believe me? Watch this: