Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TV News & Review: USA Network's "Monk" Returns January 9, 2009

Monk the Superhero is Back

Monk, P.I.
(A Magnum P.I. Spoof)

What Has Adrian Monk Been Up To?

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Season 7 Continues With:
"Mr. Monk's Other Brother"
Friday, January 9, 2009
9/8 p.m. Central Time

Ever since he was a boy, Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) confesses that he wanted a "real family." And although of course, there's no replacing his equally phobic brother Ambrose (John Turturro) and one could rightfully argue that his friends, coworkers, and assistant Natalie (Traylor Howard) have become his surrogate family--as the continuation of Monk's seventh season kicks off on Friday night, America's favorite obsessive compulsive detective is surprised to encounter an unknown half-brother.

As equally stunned to realize that he has a bonus sibling as he is when that particular sibling-- Jack (played by the perpetual scene stealer Steve Zahn)-- saunters into his apartment having crawled through a sewer during a prison escape, soon Monk is thrust into both a case and a domestic drama while trying to prove that his brother hasn't killed an innocent woman during the getaway.

Passing Jack off as "Joe Gretzky," his pen pal from Canada-- the show's writers and producers push the audience's suspension of disbelief to the max with the zany premise which finds Jack hiding in plain sight and joining the cops on the case. While we're not sure we completely buy into the illogical storyline and series favorites Natalie, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), and Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) are pushed to the sidelines-- barely appearing in the premiere-- there's some great moments of quintessential Monk humor. This is most notably evident as he finds himself interrogating a man about an extramarital affair by coining awkward phrases like "fornication partner," and during a conclusion that ends in gun-play as he tells Natalie that he'll count to three and on three she's supposed to come up with a great idea.

The first of seven episodes to complete the seventh season-- "Mr. Monk and the Other Brother" offers a mixed attempt at bringing Monk's family life into the story and devotees such as this reviewer will be dying for a reunion episode starring all three Monk brothers to see the talented actors in action. Nonetheless, the show comforts with its familiarity in tone and formula above all.

Continuing on with new mysteries that bring aboard such guest stars as Gena Rowlands and Bob Costas, the rest of the season will find Monk battling an injury in the line of duty, tackling a tail-gating debacle with the captain, trying to resolve childhood issues by taking the case of a former bully, and fighting city hall "when the parking garage where Trudy was killed is slated for demolition in order to build a park."

The first of three continuing seasons of USA Original Series to premiere this January including Psych and Burn Notice (which picks up later in the month), Adrian Monk literally and figuratively cleans up the streets of San Francisco once more starting January 9, 2009.

Promo for January 9

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