In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30c/7.30c, ABC
Most years, The Middle would do well for itself - in fact, it's already had a full season pick up - because it's not bad. In fact, it's pretty good.
Okay, it's not really what you'd call funny. It's accurate. You sit there through every episode thinking, "Oh yes, I recognise what this pithy look at middle class, middle America life is getting at. These situations are very familiar to me, and no doubt everyone who's ever had to deal with life in The Middle."*
But it's not something you really laugh at. The producers try to make you laugh. They've assembled a good cast. They try to come up with funny situations. And you can sit through every episode with a wry-ish smile on your face. But laugh? Not so much.
The jokes just never seem to hit home, because they're just too silly. The characters are all pretty unappealing and despite their everyperson situations, they're hard to identify with.
It's so very near the edge of great, but it never quite gets there.
So, despite this actually being okay, I'm dropping it in favour of other shows. Bad luck The Middle.
Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: Will last a season at most but not get renewed
* Okay, I'm not American, don't have kids and I don't live in Indiana, but some things are universal.