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Some of the greatest detectives the world has ever known happen to also be those who are the zaniest and craziest people to come into existence. Harry Crumb comes to mind, but he always happened to solve the case even though he was incredibly incompetent. Prepare to witness a man that may seem insane on the outside, and he most probably is, but he really is a true genius and can do just about anything he puts his mind too. Anything that is except deal with germs and that goes against his OCD. Hey, we can’t all be perfect can we?
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 time 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.
It really doesn’t matter what season of Monk I sit down to review or simply watch because each episode is just as enjoyable as the last. The weird thing, and if you’ve been watching since the first season you’ll realize this, is that each season just gets better and better. You don’t see many series that are able to make it to their sixth season and continue to improve instead of already getting over the hill for the downward spiral to cancellation. Proof of how good this season is can be seen in the episodes “Mr. Monk Is Up All Night” and the fantastic two-parter to end the season, “Mr. Monk Is On The Run.” They are quite possibly the best of Tony Shalhoub I’ve ever seen. Even better then Antonio on Wings.
Monk to me is one of the only crime shows that I can watch over and over again even though I’ve already seen the resolutions of the crimes. The other happens to be Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Goren and Eames can in no way be confused with the insanity that is Adrian Monk. While Goren and Monk may have a lot of the same anal qualities, Monk surely outshines his competition in his goal to have the world a perfect place. And that is the reason why even those who loathe the fifty million different crime dramas can enjoy this series because the elements of humor thrown in break up all the seriousness and make everything easier to take. Rest assured though that when it comes to cracking the case, Monk will throw off the gloves and come out fighting. Well, he’ll probably leave the gloves on, but he’ll still come out fighting.
Mr. Monk And His Biggest Fan: Monk’s most obsessed fan convinces him to take a bite out of crime with her when her beloved dead dog is accused of murdering a neighbor.
Mr. Monk And The Rapper: When a car bomb leaves popular rapper Extra Large dead, Monk and Natalie find themselves trying to defend a rival rapper from overwhelming evidence against him.
Mr. Monk And The Naked Man: In one of his most uncomfortable cases ever, Monk investigates a murder that occurred on a nude beach and explores his past to get to the bottom of his nudity phobia.
Mr. Monk And The bad Girlfriend: Crime strikes close to home when Monk suspects Captain Stottlemeyer’s girlfriend of murder, despite the fact that she was on a webcam date at the time of the incident.
Mr. Monk And The Birds And The Bees: Monk plays cupid and detective at the same time when he investigates a crooked sports agent while also advising Natalie’s teenage daughter about love.
Mr. Monk And The Buried Treasure: “X” marks the spot of treasure and trouble when Monk offers to help his psychiatrist’s son follow a map to untold riches.
Mr. Monk And The Daredevil: When a famous daredevil is revealed to be Monk’s arch rival Harold Krenshaw, Monk is baffled that his even more phobic competitor has been living such a life of danger.
Mr. Monk And The Wrong Man: Monk is baffled when DNA evidence clears a man he helped send to prison years ago, but in efforts to set things right, he discovers there’s more to the case than meets the eye.
Mr. Monk Stays Up All Night: Suffering from insomnia after seeing a mysterious woman, Monk takes Natalie’s advice and goes for a nighttime walk; but instead of finding relaxation he witnesses a murder.
Mr. Monk And The Man Who Shot Santa Claus: When Monk defends himself and shoots a man dressed as Santa, he becomes a social pariah and must work to clear his name – and stop a larger criminal plot – before Christmas.
Mr. Monk Joins A Cult: Monk reluctantly joins a cult in order to solve a murder but is quickly charmed by its charismatic leader.
Mr. Monk Goes To The Bank: Trudy’s bracelet is stolen from a bank safety deposit box, and Monk will do whatever it takes in order to solve the deeply personal case.
Mr. Monk And The Three Julies: Women with the same name as Natalie’s daughter are being killed, and Monk races against the clock to find the murderer.
Mr. Monk Paints His Masterpiece: Monk’s new hobby is painting, and he soon finds himself with an aficionado eager to purchase anything he produces.
Mr. Monk Is On The Run Part 1: After he is arrested for murder, Monk escapes from a small-town sheriff and goes on the lam until he can clear his name.
Mr. Monk Is On The Run Part 2: Monk races to find the identity of the person who framed him, while Stottlemeyer continues to pretend that his friend is dead.
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 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.
Audio Commentaries – There is only one of these and it’s for “Mr. Monk Is Up All Night.” Together on commentary are Tony Shalhoub, Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine, executive producer David Hoberman, and director/executive producer Randall Zisk. It’s a fun track that has everyone discussing the episode and how it was to film it. They really seem to love the work they are doing and that fact is shown time and time again by how much they just enjoy talking to one another.
Video Commentaries – Writers, producers, directors, and more are together or solo on these very small commentaries. Seven episodes have little commentaries in them that last maybe two to five minutes probably at the most. Kind of odd, but maybe they just wanted more then the lone full commentary track as a special feature.
Compared to previous seasons of Monk, the DVD set of season six is one that has gotten better and also not improved in a few places as well. The episodes are by far the best that Natalie and Monk have been in yet and it makes for an awesome season. Every case is unique and different while Monk finds brand new ways to get freaked out. There is even a whole episode devoted to his weird fear of nudity. Where things have come down a bit though are in the way of special features. Yeah, there really wasn’t much last season either but I would have liked it if the little video commentaries would have been shelved for at least one more entire audio commentary. If you’ve already got the group together for one episode track; why not have them sit around for another two or three? These DVD sets would be almost perfect if only a little bit more was given on the “extras” front. Still, the episodes are what you should truly be after and they are phenomenal. Monk is streaking forward and depending on how long Shalhoub wants to keep playing the same character, then I think this series could give ER a run for its money in most seasons on the air.
Universal Studios presents Monk: Season Six. Created by: Andy Breckman. Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford. Running time: 686 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: July 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com