Monk: Season Five – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Creator

Andy Breckman

Cast

Tony Shalhoub Adrian Monk
Traylor Howard Natalie Teeger
Ted Levine Captain Stottlemeyer
Jason Gray-Stanford Lieutenant Disher

DVD Release Date: June 26, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 728 Minutes on 4 discs

The Show

There is no way around it, I am a fan of crime dramas, which means CSI and Law & Order: Criminal Intent grace the televisions in my apartment far more often then should be legally allowed. But there are just way too many crime dramas nowadays with even those two shows alone having about ten different variations each and taking up almost all of primetime. As good as they may be; after too many of them, one may tend to be in such a serious mood that they forgot how to laugh. That is where Adrian Monk comes in.

Monk is a detective who fiddles around in the old gumshoe method of days gone by when it comes to solving cases. Without the use of technology or forensic machines, he manages to simply do some good old-fashioned detective work by gathering clues and interviewing people. A brilliant shaper of his craft, Monk continually manages to get the job done without the aide of today’s modern conveniences.

Sadly enough though he can’t just go through a case with simplicity and do his job because his obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) gets in the way. It is often amazing that he can get any cases solved since his concentration is often broken so easily by having to straighten a stack of books or disinfect a doorknob to the room of the crime scene. Alas, with the help of his good friend Natalie, he still manages to work his way through even the stickiest situations and solve the crimes.

Every single episode of Monk is an hour well spent. The cases are fun to pay attention to and try to solve yourself by piecing clues together just as you would with any of the hard-nosed crime dramas. Only now there are great interludes of comedy and amusement to keep things fresh and turn a murder into a laugh riot. It almost seems at times as if Monk gets worse in his obsessions with every episode, but he always manages to work through them sometimes with hilarious results.

Season five of Monk provided some absolutely fantastic episodes including “Mr. Monk And The Leper,” where both the color and black & white versions were made available in this set. Even though he is offered a great amount of money to solve a crime; he just can’t get past that fact that he may catch the man’s leprosy. And while the “Garbage Strike” episode is an instant classic, I would have to say that “At Your Service” is my favorite. Seeing how excited he gets by going undercover as a butler and being able to clean all he wants without being yelled at is excellent. Those may be my favorites, but every episode is a joy to watch.

Episodes

Disc One:

Mr. Monk And The Actor: Monk is hot on the case of a double murder but has an extra problem to deal with besides all those that come with his OCD. An actor is shadowing his every move in preparation to play Monk in an upcoming movie.

Mr. Monk And The Garbage Strike: All the garbage men in San Francisco have gone on strike and after the union boss ends up dead, there may be no end in sight. Monk has his hands full trying to figure out if it was suicide or if he was murdered. And being in a city where the streets are line in trash is not making his investigation any easier. This is possibly the funniest and best episode in the entire season.

Mr. Monk And The Big Game: Julie’s basketball team gets thrown into turmoil when their popular head coach dies under some rather odd conditions. Julie and the rest of the team hire Monk to find out what truly happened.

Mr. Monk Can’t See A Thing: Monk takes a trip to a firehouse to solve a case and ends up losing his eyesight thanks to the killer. It’s up to his other senses to work him through the facts and find out the truth. Another really good episode as watching Monk battle not only his OCD but having to rely on no vision at all was fantastic viewing.

Mr. Monk, Private Eye: Natalie talks Monk into starting his own business and becoming a private eye since his work with the police force didn’t quite pan out. After doing so, Monk decides on an easy auto accident case to start but it quickly escalates into a homicide investigation.

Disc Two:

Mr. Monk And The Class Reunion: Monk’s twenty-five year college reunion has crept up on him and the memories come flooding back, especially those of his long love Trudy. Those memories quickly turn to nightmares as a former college nurse ends up dead and Monk sets out to figure out what happened.

Mr. Monk Gets A New Shrink: Monk’s therapist Dr. Kroger suddenly decides to retire after his cleaning lady is found murdered. His retirement stems from a patient of his being a suspect so he thinks his work is not helping any. Monk can’t bear to find a new doctor so he aims to solve the crime and get Dr. Kroger back in his office.

Mr. Monk Goes To A Rock Concert: Captain Stottlemeyer’s son decides to play some hooky from school and go to a rock concert. Natalie and Monk aren’t happy about it, but they decide to work with the Captain and help find his son. While at the concert though, a roadie dies of an accidental overdose although Monk thinks there is much more behind it.

Mr. Monk Meets His Dad: It’s Christmas time and Monk’s truck-driving father (guest star Dan Hedaya) has rolled into town after not seeing his son in close to forty years. A little trip together in the truck (with a reluctant Monk) seems to be the best thing to get them acquainted again, but as always Monk is needed so solve a mystery.

Mr. Monk And The Leper (Black & White Version): Monk’s OCD really has him in a bind this time as a millionaire comes out of hiding to hire him to solve a case. The problem is that the man has leprosy and no matter how lucrative his offer may be, Monk is so incredibly frightened of contracting the disease himself.

Disc Three:

Mr. Monk And The Leper (Color Version): This is the exact same episode as the last one on disc two only now it is in color. The USA Network ran both episodes and fans could then go online to the show’s website and vote on which version they liked better. And when I voted, I went with the black & white because I’m a sucker for a retro-style murder mystery.

Mr. Monk Makes A Friend: Monk has found something that he has never had in his entire life and that’s a buddy (guest star Andy Richter). They are always together and have nothing but good times with one another, but Natalie is not so sure about Monk’s new friend Hal and aims to find out what he’s up to.

Mr. Monk Is At Your Service: The parents of Natalie’s wealthy neighbors are possibly murdered so she hires Monk to figure out what happened. That may turn out to be a mistake though as Monk decides to go undercover as a butler and may have finally found his true calling in life getting paid to keep things clean.

Mr. Monk Is On The Air: When the wife of a radio shock jock ends up dead, Monk is certain about one thing and it’s that the host is his prime suspect. But proving he did it won’t be so easy considering his alibi is flawless since he happened to be on the air at the time of her death.

Mr. Monk Visits A Farm: Lieutenant Disher’s uncle commits suicide and leaves his entire farm to his nephew. So Disher decides to retire and start life anew out in the country. But after living his new farm life, he begins to think that there is more to his uncle’s death then what they know so he hires Monk to figure it out.

Disc Four:

Mr. Monk And The Really, Really Dead Guy: Street musicians are dropping like flies as the dreaded “Six Way Killer” is on the loose and vows to strike again and take more lives. Monk’s old-fashioned detective work is challenged though when a federal agent steps in and would rather use technology.

Mr. Monk And Goes To The Hospital: A small thing like a bloody nose is not so simple when it comes to Monk and he heads to the hospital to get it checked out and make sure he receives a clean bill of health. But when his doctor ends up dead, Monk must not only solve the mystery but also keep his blood from getting all over him.

The Video

The episodes are shown in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and everything looks fine. It doesn’t seem as much was done to remaster or upgrade the look of the episodes from when they originally aired on television, but that is of no matter since everything looks fine anyway.

The Audio

The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and like the video, not much seemed to be done to upgrade the audio from when the episodes were first shown. But with little music and mostly dialogue, all sounds perfectly well.

Special Features

Audio commentary – “Mr. Monk And The Leper” is the only episode with commentary and it happens to be the black & white version. There are nine people on commentary all at the same time for the one episode. Producers, creators, writers, and actors all join together and even though it seems like too many, they all mesh nicely throughout. A few good stories as to why the episode was in black & and white and also about Traylor Howard’s (Natalie) pregnancy and how it was hidden are just a few of the fun anecdotes they discuss.

Webisodes – Four short two minute and under webisodes that are quite amusing and fun to watch. No real storyline or anything, just tiny little scenes that are sure to bring about a few laughs. “Mr. Monk And Dr. Kroger,” “Mr. Monk And The Computer,” “Mr. Monk And The Blood Test,” and “Mr. Monk Goes To The Gym”

Psych Pilot Episode – Another great show from USA that also recently has gotten its first season released on DVD. If you’ve never seen the show, then make sure to take the time to watch this pilot and get introduced to it. A man with a fantastic talent for observing details pretends to be a psychic so he can open his own detective agency. Witty and funny, Psych is an excellent series that everyone should be tuned into.

Sneak PeeksThe Office, House M.D., Columbo, Quantum Leap, Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5, Law & Order, Saturday Night Live, Alias Smith And Jones, and Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Saturday TV Funhouse

The Inside Pulse

When it comes to the show, Monk is by far better then most of the serious detective shows you’ll catch on television today. As a DVD set, it kind of falls flat because the special features are very bare and I really wish more commentaries would have been included considering how many people they got for the one. Even though the pilot episode of Psych is a worthwhile extra on any DVD; it still has nothing to do with the subject at hand which is Monk. Fans of the show will definitely want to pick this set up for it is possibly one of the best seasons yet. Those who have never experienced Monk may want to rent first or check out a show or two on television before making their purchase to be sure it is their style. Even though the special features are skimpy, Monk surely cleans up the floor with those other crime shows. Pun intended.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Monk: Season Five
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

8.5
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)