Monday, August 10, 2009

What I’m Watching: Monk (Season Premiere)

Monk: Season 8, Episode 1 “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show” (B-)

The final season of USA’s first big hit is now underway, and I’m sure there will be a number of wonderful installments before the big sendoff in December. This episode isn’t fantastic, especially in its role as a welcome-back installment to kick off the show’s final run. Guest star Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) isn’t given much to do, and watching even a few minutes of Showtime’s dramedy shows that Perkins is capable of much more than the material she’s given here. Fortunately, Rena Sofer is given precious few lines as her publicist, and therefore isn’t able to inflict the same damage she did on shows like “24” and “Heroes” in the past. The episode’s storyline is one that just seems far too empty once solved – it just isn’t all that impressive, in regard both to the way it is committed and the way Monk solved it. The laugh-track sitcom dream with Monk and the wig really doesn’t fit in with the tone of this show, and felt terribly out of sync with the rest of the episode. Natalie crying for help through the mother’s voice in his dream was also very out of place, and felt more like some sci-fi hallucination. The whole fact that Monk would have a favorite show like this doesn’t seem likely, and that throws this premiere off. The great thing about “Monk” is that each episode operates on a case-by-case basis, and therefore this sub-par first installment shouldn’t doom the entire season.

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