Moving ‘Monk’

How would USA’s detective monk feel about moving the hit series
sporting his moniker to a new time slot?
How would USA’s detective monk feel about moving the hit series sporting his moniker to a new time slot? I’m not sure any major change would go over well with a quirky obsessive compulsive like Mr. Monk. Hopefully, viewers will adjust to the changes taking place on the hit series that’s found the remarkable Tony Shalhoub nabbing two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a couple more from the Screen Actors Guild. Its new timeslot is 9pm Fridays on USA.

“Monk” turned heads from the get-go. The concept was unique: an OCD-ridden San Francisco detective who can’t stand germs, needles, milk, mushrooms, snakes, heights, crowds, elevators and – ironically – death.

Viewers bit. Ratings soared. Awards were doled out. But Shalhoub simply shines, completely owning the role of a brilliant detective whose OCD may be a mask for the inner turmoil he feels inside over the unresolved murder of his wife.

Rolling along just fine for the first few seasons – even after the departure of Bitty Schram, paving the way for the cheery Traylor Howard – Monk’s writers apparently went by way of attention deficit disorder last season. Some of its plots felt scattered or contrived, setting Monk in situations that didn’t quite befit series’ creator Andy Breckman’s original vision for the show. Let’s hope that trend doesn’t continue in season five.

At first glance, the scenarios seem to be a fine mix between ingeniously – and darkly – absurd (monk being temporarily blinded but realizing he can still solve cases) to perfectly inspired (monk stepping in as a basketball coach after the previous coach is murdered).

It’s also curious to see that the producers don’t mind using their “guest star” card. The season finds the likes of Sharon Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Gordon Clap, Tim Bagley, Steven Weber and – of all people – Alice Cooper appearing. Considering USA part of the NBC family, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. NBC had a ball ushering countless guest stars on “Will & Grace.”

The good news for “Monk” fans is that USA already picked up the series for a sixth season. No crime in that. Just give us good “Monk,” please.

Target Practice

With a last name like Archer, it had to happen some time. While there’s usually something good or constructive to say about what you find in certain television shows, there are times when you just want to pull back the creative bow, aim and shoot an arrow of “enough already.”

So, here’s one for CBS’s “Big Brother”: enough already. After the first few seasons of “Survivor” and sifting through the onslaught of reality shows that it spawned, I was intrigued with “Big Brother” when it debuted back in 2000.

That intrigued immediately shifted to boredom after the first episode. Why the show remains on the air is a mystery. I get that there is a certain thrill one receives from being a voyeur, but frankly – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this – MTV’s “Real World” handled the group home setting with much more intrigue. (And truthfully, how many more seasons of that show do we need?)

This summer marks the return of BB. Dubbed “Big Brother 7: All Stars,” expect to see the reality show three – count ’em, three – times a week – 8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9pm Saturdays. The theme this time around: America gets to “help” choose which former BB “star” will be part of an “all star” BB posse. It’s enough to make me want to tune in to SPIKE TV’s eyebrow-arching “The Dudesons” (10pm Thursdays), which culls from a Finnish TV concept: a stunt comedy/reality series featuring the outrageous antics of four likeable – but “out there” – childhood best friends who’ll attempt to embrace life in the Arctic Circle in between performing insane stunts.

In other words: Don’t try it at home. In my words: Don’t watch it – much – at home.

Greg Archer is an entertainment writer based on the Central Coast. He writes about the TV, film and being human. E-mail him at [email protected] or visit www.greg-archer.com.

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