Vés enrere

THE MIDDLE: SEASON 4

For Hicksflicks.com, Feb. 21, 2014

"The Middle" is a bit like the neglected stepchild, being rather overshadowed by the glow of "Modern Family," which airs on the same channel on the same night. And for each show's first two seasons they aired back to back.

But while "Modern Family" receives all the accolades and industry love, "The Middle" just keeps chugging along on its reputation, with national critics occasionally singling it out for praise as "an underrated gem."

Personally, I've never been able to warm to "Modern Family," in part because of its making-a-documentary conceit that has characters sitting and addressing the camera, the same as "The Office" and too many other shows. It's a redundant device that has overstayed its welcome. (If it's ever finished, this documentary will be the longest movie in history.)

Anyway, "The Middle" captured my wife and I immediately, partly because it's hilarious and filled with wonderfully quirky, yet identifiable characters, and partly because no matter how exaggerated the family's problems become, they manage to hit points that have my wife and I nodding in recognition. We know people like this. Sadly, we sometimes are people like this.

In keeping with its overlooked persona, after its first two seasons went to DVD on schedule, the third season did not arrive until a year late. Which had me wondering if the fourth season would also be a year late, setting into motion a domino effect.

But to my surprise, Season 4 is coming out on Tuesday (Feb. 25), which means (we can only hope) that Season 5 (airing now, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on ABC-4) will arrive on DVD on time next fall.

And that means Frankie and Mike Heck (Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn) and their kids, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer), along with assorted zany recurring characters, will be on the television a lot at our house.