Monk: Season Three (2004)

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama / Mystery
Universal || NR - 705 minutes - $59.98 || July 5, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-07-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Andy Breckman (created by)
Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford


Theatrical Release Date: NA


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Favorites: Cast and Crew Favorite Scenes
  • Life Before Monk
  • Natlie Teeger Profile
  • Quriks: Monk's Phobias


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The brilliant, but strange, Adrian Monk (Shalhoub) returns for a third season in the popular USA Network show, "Monk". In the first season, we are just getting to know the character, his phobias and his unique way of solving the strangest cases. The second season delves more into the character's search for his wife's killer (primarily toward the end of the season). Like any good TV show, the second season leaves us off in a cliffhanger, where Monk, Stottlemeyer and Sharona go to New York City chasing a clue to her death. This third season opens in New York where in the mist of tracking clues, he also becomes involved in solving a murder (of course, he's Monk after all). Unfortunately, it looks like the lead was yet another clue and we never really come much closer to the truth.

For me, where many shows seem to find their "groove" (a la "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), "Monk" seemed to take a step back. The cases are about the same as they're not that difficult nor cunning by any means, but beyond an episode or two, the character isn't as interesting as before. This is not to say I still don't enjoy the show, I do, but I have to wonder how long they can keep this up and still maintain that freshness that attracts me to watch every week. By the way, one of my favorite episodes had to be Mr. Monk and the Game Show, where Monk helps out his ex-father-in-law find how his game show host and a contestant are cheating. Along the way, Monk remembers Trudy and the first time he meets her parents.

One thing that did change this season was the departure of Bitty Schram (Sharona Fleming), apparently due to a contract dispute, and was replaced in episode 10 (Mr. Monk and the Red Herring) by the cute Traylor Howard (playing Natalie Teeger). The character is basically the same as Sharona but less abrasive in her dealings with Monk. Like Sharona, she too has a child (instead of a son, it's a daughter). Having seen her in only 7 episodes, I don't know if this will make a difference or not (story wise), but admittedly I will miss Schram if she is indeed gone.

As far as show's currently running on TV and despite its flaws, "Monk" is still one of my favorite shows.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Though still not up to snuff special features wise with other TV box sets, the third season DVD of "Monk" is alright, but nothing great or notable. I am still waiting for commentary tracks to accompany the episodes, but you can't get everything you ask for. Of course, "Monk" might be one of these shows where you can only include so much, and because of that I the special features do not effect my rating as much.

Favorites is cast and the creator interviews speaking of their favorite epsisodes from the series. While Tony Shalhoub and his co-stars Levine and Gray-Stanford give honest answers and actually pick an episode they like, creator Andy Breckman does the obligatory every episode is great for different reasons... I can understand that, but he couldn't nail it down to one? In any case, this is an OK mini-featurette and there's a good laugh as they show a clip or two from previous seasons. Runtime - Approx. 5:00

Monk's Profile covers who the character is in the eyes of all the people involved, going through why he's a great character and yada, yada, yada. Like the Stottlemeyer and Grsy-Stanford profiles (in season two) before it, this isn't much of anything, just filler. Runtime - Approx. 5:41

Life Before Monk features more interviews with the cast speculating where their characters were before the show started. For instance, Gray-Stanford thought Lt. Disher was a teacher's pet at the police academy or Shalhoub says Monk, while still gaving OCD, was more under control when his wife was alive. All of this isn't that interesting, but it's worth one viewing. Runtime - Approx. 2:55

Natalie Teeger Profile, I assumed, was a replacement featurette when Schram left. This "profile" just has an extended interview with Teeger where she confesses that she hadn't seen the show before. The other interviews with the creator and other cast members try to spin the change as something to push Monk more than when Schram was on. For once, I'd like a little honesty, just tell us the real reason she was replaced. Runtime - Approx. 5:07

Finally, Quirks is a simple featurette with more cast and creator input concerning Monk's phobias and also stating that they don't want to go overboard making him too manic or anything. I consider this to be more of a throw-away featurette, but I guess I shouldn't complain as it doesn't hurt to have it on the disc. Runtime - Approx. 3:44



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

"Monk" Season Three is presented in a 1.78 aspect ratio, anamorphic widescreen. The colors look fine but because it's a TV show, there can be some pixelization here and there. The sound is also good and probably above average since it is only a Dolby 2.0 mix.



.::OVERALL::.

The third season of "Monk" brought about some interesting new crimes and I pretty much found every episode entertaining, but I do hope the show finds some new material as the direction its going in now might lead to redundancy. That said, if you are a fan of the show, spend the money and pick this set up, the special features might not be... special, but the episodes are still good enough.