on February 2, 2011
I just watched Monk from start to finish, 8 seasons, one season a week for the past 8 weeks. It has to be the best -- or one of the very best -- TV shows ever produced, IMO. Terrific acting, great humor bordering on slapstick sometimes, good drama, fantastic character development. Tony Shalhoub is simply outstanding. Not to be missed.
Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Hercule Poirot -- genius detectives are usually a bit quirky. But no other is as quirky as Adrian Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective -- and "Monk: Complete Series " compiles every episode of this funny, likable little mystery series. Tony Shalhoub shines as title character, solving the case with his gift/curse and his willingness to go anywhere... that doesn't have germs.
Adrian Monk's wife Trudy was killed in a car-bombing, and the devastated detective fell apart completely. Years later, Monk (Tony Shalhoub) is partially recovered, but he still is obsessive-compulsive and has dozens of phobias. The only way he manages is with his assistant Sharona (Bitty Schram) -- and later her successor Natalie (Traylor Howard) -- babysitting him.
Courtesy of his friend Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), Monk is called in for dozens of bizarre, baffling cases. His excellent memory and his OCD ("It's a gift.... and a curse") allow him to see patterns and details where other people see nothing.
Among Monk's cases are going undercover at a prison, a killer dentist, a deadly Christmas gift, an elephant used as a lethal weapon, a billionaire mugger, saving Willie Nelson from a murder rap, trapping a black widow, the death of a 115-year-old man, the Mafia, garbage strikes, rock concerts, a cult, real estate, a murder on a sub, a voodoo curse, UFO sightings, martial-artists, murdered models, and a guy who leaped out of a plane -- and died by drowning.
But as quirky and bizarre as the cases is, it never stops hitting the heartstrings. Monk becomes attached to a little boy and a murder victim's dog, and it's a credit to this show's writers that the ending of those episodes aren't maudlin or sappy. And he is still passionately devoted to his dead wife, and his quest for her killer is a story that stretches across the whole series.
"Monk" is the sort of show that usually gets cancelled after five episodes -- it's well-written, amusing, and smart. So by TV standards, lasting eight seasons is nothing short of miraculous. Like any long-running show it has its duds ("Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" always makes me cringe), but overall it's a brilliant series.
There are gunfights and SWAT teams, like on any cop show, but the main focus here is on detecting. And the writers are skilled at coming up with all sorts of bizarre or unsolvable crimes, which only Monk could unravel. Not to mention the dialogue, which leans heavily on dry humour ("So you're saying the opposite of a spider is a tall building?")
But the series wouldn't be what it is without Tony Shalhoub. He played weird roles in movies like MIB and "Galaxy Quest," and so he knows how to balance out Monk's weirdness and genius without leaning too heavily on either. When told to sit on the ground, he says nervously, "I can't. Animals do things on the ground. Terrible, terrible things."
Schram and Howard are both good as his assistants, and they're similar without being TOO alike -- one was a hardened New York gal, and the other is a rebel rich girl with a checkered employment past. And Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford round off the cast as genial cop Stottlemeyer and his earnest (if slightly goofy) sidekick Disher.
"Monk: The Complete Series" shows us all of this excellent show, with its uniquely appealing hero. It's a gift... and a curse.
on March 24, 2011
Had this show been on one of the broadcast networks, it would never have shined so bright... cancellation would have been inevitable.
Monk is one of the few shows that succeeded in having both an ongoing back story along with a primary story for each episode. The writing was superb and the number of episodes per season just right (16 per year except for the 12 in season one). I remember when every series on TV used to crank out 20-26 episodes per year, meaning at least 10 of them were clunkers. There are very few clunkers in this series, just a lot of good old fashioned crime solving by one of TV's greatest detectives.
Because of its home on cable television, Monk's writers had the luxury of telling their ENTIRE story all the way through. The build up to - and finally reaching - the amazing 2-part finale makes this one of the best television series of all time.
I watched all the episodes up until the end, then viewed the 2-part finale with total amazement while laughing and crying.
Oh, and Sharona shows up again in Season 8 for an episode too... Sharona, Monk, and Natalie together trying to solve a crime is something that might not have happened on any other show.
Wonderful, wonderful... I am proud to add this series to my collection. It's good old fashioned entertainment for the whole, detective-loving family!
on September 16, 2011
Monk is a tremendous series. I'd seen all of the episodes and most of them 2 or 3 times on TV, yet I still had to buy the box set. The first time you watch a show, it is fun to try to figure out along with Monk who the killer was, why, and how. Re-watching is also fun, as the humor is so great and the acting so well done, plus you get a better understanding of the build-up of the clues. It's also fun to see some places where the show "cheated" and "how it happened" is not actually what was seen at the beginning (for instance, the earthquake episode). I plan to watch the few episodes that I've seen only once, then start at the beginning and watch the whole series through again. That is, after I watch all of the bonus features. This is such a great show!!
"Monk" is a fabulous series. My family started with season one, episode one back in the fall and are just now wrapping up the end of season eight. We watch about three a week on average and we still aren't tired of them. Not sure what will replace these when we are finished?
There is no real need to get into a description of the series since it has been covered so well already, but I would like to add my 2 cents in recommending the series. All of us (ages 54 through 17) enjoy it and there is something for everyone. The title character will have you chuckling at his quirks, tearing up during some of the more heart-wrenching parts, and cheering him on as he solves murders ony using his intellect and incredible powers of observation.
There usually is an opening scene where the murder takes place that can be a tad gruesome from time to time, but from that point on, the show is approrriate for all ages (and even the gross part isn't anything compared to what is usually on television).
Great series all around.
on May 11, 2016
I purchased 8 years of Monk DVD's. I have been watching one show a day since I got them. So Seasons 1-3 took me 36 days to watch. When I started Season 4, the first disc is unplayable with marks on the disc that cannot be removed by soap and water. Today I tried to contact Amazon to have Season 4 replaced and Amazon will not replace anything after 30 days. I would suggest you never buy any DVD's from Amazon that have all the Discs for the whole run of the show included, unless you watch TV for 8 hours a day every day to get in all the episodes before the 30 days expires.