Here’s what happened: Monk is about a brilliant San Francisco detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. This phenomenally funny and touching series has come to an end, and this DVD set contains the last season of a run of excellent shows. Hit the jump for my review:
There are many fabulous stand-alone episodes in season eight. One of the best on the set is “Mr. Monk is Someone Else,” where the usually timid and nervous Detective Monk masquerades as a hit man with a terrifying reputation. Once Monk gets a taste of respect and deference, he is reluctant to revert to his old personality, with interesting results. Another great one, “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show” guest-stars Elizabeth Perkins as a Marsha Brady-type older actress whose upcoming book reveals sordid details about Monk’s favorite classic TV show. His initial misunderstandings about Perkins’ character, along with his revelation about the true content of her tell-all book are comedy gold. Finally, if viewers were worried that Monk wouldn’t solve the biggest mystery plaguing him from day one of the series: the murder of his beloved wife Trudy, they needn’t have. The series concludes with a two-part episode and Monk’s discovery of exactly what happened to his wife, including an interesting bonus surprise for Mr. Monk as well.
There are four discs and sixteen episodes on this DVD set. Bonus features include “Mr. Monk and the End,” a commentary covering the final two episodes of the series with creator/episode writer Andy Breckman, episode director Randy Zisk and Tony Shalhoub, who plays the one and only Detective Adrian Monk. The commentary is filmed so viewers can see the three men while they talk about the two final episodes. Strangely, Shalhoub seems upset through most of the commentary. Whether he is sad about the show’s cancellation or has a naturally pensive demeanor is unclear. It is certainly strange to see a man who is so funny and loveable in a series that you have grown to love behave so bizarrely in his last tribute to the show.
There is also an individual interview with Breckman on the bonus features where he briefly answers questions like “Thoughts on the Final Season” and “New Season vs. Past.” Tony Shalhoub also answers a series of questions, including queries such as “Keeping Anything from the Set?” and “Thoughts on the Final Season.” In this interview with Shalhoub, and interestingly while he is dressed as the character Monk he is visibly more friendly and forthcoming than he was in the final episode viewing commentary. Perhaps it was the last hoorah of the character, and not the actor. Traylor Howard, who plays Monk’s long-suffering assistant Natalie Teeger and Jason Gray-Stanford, who plays Lt. Randall Disher are also quickly queried about their final thoughts on the show. These interviews are so brief that they add almost nothing to viewers’ knowledge about the series. There is no behind-the-scenes- footage on the DVD set, just the before-mentioned commentary and selected cast questions. Though the bonus material seems a little thin for the final season of such a successful show, so one must simply make-do with the excellent content of the series, and these few more adventures with the fantastic Mr. Adrian Monk.