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TV Review: Final Season of ‘Monk’ Opens With Good Episode; ‘Psych’ Also Returns

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CHICAGO – For seven years, USA Network’s “Monk” has consistently delivered quality entertainment. It’s never been a show that set out to break the rules or even do anything too interesting within them, but it has rarely faltered at all in its ability to entertain, something that can be said about very few series that have been on this long. Like a great old band going for one final tour, the final season of “Monk” promises to play all the greatest hits and go out on a high note.

HollywoodChicago.com TV Rating: 3.5/5.0
TV Rating: 3.5/5.0

You’d have to have lived under a rock for the ’00s or just bought your first TV to be saying “what is this show called ‘Monk’”? The award-winning mystery series has been a beloved part of the basic cable landscape for the better part of the decade and the season premiere of the final arc of the show doesn’t break the pattern of what fans have come to expect from the Tony Shalhoub vehicle.

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk.
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk.
Photo credit: Vivian Zink/USA

The actor with some of the best comic timing on television portrays Adrian Monk, a brilliant San Francisco detective with OCD that makes getting through the day difficult but often helps him get the bad guy. His phobias have increased since the murder of his wife Trudy years ago and he needs the regular assistance of Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) just to get from point A to point B. Assisting with the weekly mystery are the deadpan Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lieutenant Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford).

The opening episode of the eighth and final season of “Monk” features Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) and Rena Sofer in “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show”. Perkins plays the star of an old sitcom that looks inspired by “The Brady Bunch”. She’s releasing a tell-all book and someone’s trying to kill her. Enter Monk to solve the crime and the fact that the star happens to be from his favorite show adds to the comedy quotient.

“Monk” is mostly a one-man show (although Levine is better than he gets credit for and Howard & Gray-Stanford certainly aren’t bad), but it’s a great one-man show with Shalhoub having won 3 Emmy Awards for his work (and nominated again this summer).

It’s comfort-food television. Every week, fans have tuned in knowing that the mystery will be solved by the bumbling detective. It’s heartwarming to think that if someone with OCD as bad as Adrian Monk can get the bad guy than there’s hope for this world.

The opening episode of the final season of “Monk” delivers the same blend of quirky comedy and intriguing mystery that fans of the show have come to know and love. I can’t imagine anyone who has watched the series for seven years, tuning into “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show” and canceling their season pass for the rest of the season. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s above the average in terms of laughs, mystery, and Shalhoub’s performance when compared to three-dozen-or-so episodes of the show I’ve seen since its premiere.

Traylor Howard, Jason Gray-Stanford, Tony Shalhoub.
Traylor Howard, Jason Gray-Stanford, Tony Shalhoub.
Photo credit: Vivian Zink/USA

The final season of “Monk” promises personal revelations for all of the characters, including the return of Sharona (Bitty Schram) and the resolution of the mystery of who killed Monk’s wife Trudy. From the tone and execution of the season premiere, “Monk” looks likely to go out delivering the same quality television that it has been doing since 2002.

After the premiere, guest stars for season eight include Dylan Baker, Meat Loaf, Bernie Kopell, Jay Mohr, Daniel Stern, Alex Wolff, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Balfour, Kelly Carlson, and Reed Diamond. Special appearances will also be made by Tim Bagley as Monk’s nemesis Harold Krenshaw and Bitty Schram.

The desperate kid brother to “Monk,” the decent-but-frustrating “Psych,” also returns tonight after the season premiere of “Monk”.

James Roday, Dule Hill, and Corbin Bernsen return for the fourth season of “Psych,” a show that has never quite found the rhythm or the driving lead performance of “Monk,” but can occasionally deliver as an entertaining diversion. The season premiere, “Extradition: British Columbia,” features the boys outwitting a notorious art thief played by Cary Elwes.

The ‘Monk’ season premiere airs on USA Network on Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 8pm CST. It stars Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, and Jason Gray-Stanford.

The ‘Psych’ season premiere airs on USA Network on Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 9pm CST. It stars James Roday, Dule Hill, and Corbin Bernsen.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

sorry but you are way off

sorry but you are way off about psych. psych is superb with it writing, talent and the acting that comes from the actors. they make it look flawless and effortless. so you would due with gaining a humor box.

Nick's picture

Not a fan of delicious flavor I see

Harsh and undeserved comments for Psych. Then again, you may not appreciate the fist bumping, 80’s references, shameless flirting, pineapples, and ridiculously silly dialogue like I do. I just know I laugh more in those 60 minutes then I do the rest of the week combined, so they must be doing something right.

Chelsea's picture

SO wrong

About Psych. The last few eps of Monk last season were absolute rubbish, whereas Psych excells in character developement, along with original crimes and laughs.

What??'s picture

Occasionally deliver?? The

Occasionally deliver?? The only negative thing about Psych is that not enough people know about this show. It’s brilliantly written, produced, directed and acted. There is a huge fan base as well. Monk has been a great show but I hate when these two are compared, they are not the same shows. Psych is a great show because it’s a modern day detective team like so many in the past(Simon and Simon for example) of the straight laced guy and the jokester. Plus a little bit for everyone with today’s lingo and topics along with 80’s references etc. Plus it’s good t.v. not too racy not too sappy so the whole family(for the most part) can enjoy it. The ratings speak for themselves.

DW's picture

Good Episode?

I can’t agree with the review of the opening episode of Monk’s final season. I’ve been a fan of the show since the beginning, and this episode was pale by comparison with most of the mysteries. I had figured out what was going on 15 minutes in (Gee, I wonder who wrote the menacing message in lipstick?) and the fact that it took so long for Monk to do the same was really disappointing. There were a few funny moments, but the writing just seemed really off. If I were Tony Shaloub, I would have said, “No way” to this lame script.

PB's picture

What?

While Monk is a great show, your way off in your opinion of Psych. It is great witty writing that sets up a great cast for fun entertaining TV. A top show!

Margaret DeFrank's picture

I love Psych too…those two

I love Psych too…those two are FUNNY!!!
I will miss Monk

Anonymous's picture

Both of these shows....

I agree with everyone…I LOVE monk and am sorry to see it go. It is an excellent show and i have watched from the beginning…some scenes were so hilarious..had me crying! Tony S does an excellent job and is a great actor!…the entire cast does!.
As for Psych…I Love Psych! these two shows are two different to compare! Psych is refreshing and bright!..these guys compliment each other and THEY are hilarious together…Im not sure the show would be the same without the tagteam of the guys..or the guy with his dad..or all three! I look forward to watching this show and i would say the only comparison to come up with is that..I have always looked forward to watching Monk for that laugh and i have gotten it from both since Psych has been on.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the info. I

Thanks for the info. I really had a blast

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