Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Fond Farewell For Monk

So far it's been quite a season on U.S. TV for such new hits as NCIS:Los Angeles and The Good Wife.
But it's also going to be the last season for some maturing hits.
First one to drop off (this Monday) is Monk.
Gee, how I liked that show in its first season when it shot right here in T.O
The policier about an obsessive-compulsive detective jumps to Rerunland after eight seasons and 125 episodes.
When it started on USA it was part of a "New Wave" of cable TV dramas that seriously challenged the ascendancy of the old line networks.
Queer As Folk another T.O. hit was already up and running on Showtime (and Canada's Showcase). And then came The Closer on TNT which premiered in 2005. And these days it's Mad Men on AMC which is arguably the best U.S. drama series around.
The critic for the L.A. Times, Scott Collins, has just noted that maybe Monk deserved to be on conventional TV all along since it was relatively free of nudity and cussing. He points to CBS's CSI franchise as far more threatening to the conventional family values.
I remember hearing it had been shopped at ABC and finally turned down. One irony: when the show became an unexpected hit ABC ran the reruns in 2001 and again in 2002.
But what won over early viewers such as yours truly was Tony Shalhoub's magnificent portrayal of an unkempt, muttering, nervous but utterly brilliant private eye. After suffering a nervous breakdown from his wife's unsolved murder, Monk becomes an even more obsessive seeker of facts and truth.
And it has just been announced the last hour will appropriately deal with and solve the murder of his wife. At last! Redemption!
But here's where I admit I'd stopped watching much in recent seasons when the show seemed to outstay its welcome and became ever so slightly dull and repetitive. Moving back to L.A. from Toronto gave it a far more conventional look than before. Like so many network dramas, I guess

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