CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”
DVD Review: Excellent Box Set For ‘Monk: The Complete Series’
CHICAGO – Winner of several Emmy Awards, including three for star Tony Shalhoub for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, “Monk” was easily one of the most successful and influential programs of the ’00s. It may seem like too light and inconsequential a show to be deemed so important but the show about the OCD detective has completely changed the landscape of basic cable television, proving that networks like USA could play with the big boys.
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
“Monk” debuted in July of 2002 long before programs like it made much of a splash in TV ratings or even with critics. Everything changed over the next seven years and the final episode of “Monk” in December of 2009 set the record for the most-watched scripted drama in cable history with 9.4 million viewers, numbers that would have made the a show a hit on any network.
Monk: The Complete Series was released on DVD on October 5th, 2010
Photo credit: Universal Home Video
Honestly, the “Monk” model that would come to be copied by so many cable and even network competitors was actually an old-fashioned one — build a mystery series around one very interesting character. “Monk” didn’t so much break the mold as much as update the “Columbo” concept for a new generation. And to do so they turned to an incredibly underrated character actor who may have been known to wide audiences from his work on “Wings” but had also stolen scenes in great art films like “Big Night” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There” — Tony Shalhoub. The talented star of “Monk” proved that there was still life in the character-driven detective series even as programs like “Law & Order” had thrived on ensemble over lead structures. If you had a lead as interesting Adrian Monk, audiences would follow him anywhere.
And they did follow him for eight seasons and 125 episodes, all of which are now housed in a gigantic 32-disc collection from Universal simply titled “Monk: The Complete Series.” For a true fan of modern TV, it would make a great gift for this upcoming season.
Now, if said fan already owns all eight seasons, is there reason to upgrade? Not really unless you like the impressive box and the collectible 32-page book, which is pretty useless and silly. No, this is one of those releases in which the eight previously-available seasons are merely housed now in one collection and sold for a price lower than buying every stand-alone set. All the special features have also been imported.
Ultimately, “Monk: The Complete Series” is for the fan who saw every episode in one of its many USA airings but never went out and bought a season DVD set. Now you can have all eight at a relatively-low purchase price (roughly eight seasons for the price of five currently). The history books will be kind to “Monk.” It may not have garnered the pop culture buzz of programs like “24” or “Lost” but it was undeniably one of the most influential and successful programs of its era.