Monday, 24 April 2006

"It's a jungle out there"

I never really watch daytime TV, but recently made an exception for BBC1's after-lunch timeslot for Monk. Written by Andy Breckman (of Saturday Night Live fame) this is a wonderful US comedy-drama series (set in San Francisco), about ex-cop and widower Adrian Monk. His mental health problems (including OCD and varied phobias) have somehow made him into a brilliant, if highly unorthodox, detective with powers of acute observation that rival Sherlock Holmes.

As played by Tony Shalhoub (Galaxy Quest – remember Tech Sergeant Chen? Spy Kids) Monk is a distinctively mannered, Emmy-award winning, characterisation, managing to rise above tics and quirks, while gently mocking the afflicted. He makes us care about the weird little guy who notices all the tiny details without needing a crime lab to figure out whodunit. Beneath the slapstick and one-liners, though, Monk serves as an inspiring story of someone who finds renewed purpose in life after a complete nervous breakdown, an emotional crisis (caused by the car-bomb murder of his wife; the only crime he’s been unable to solve) that left our much-troubled hero housebound for several years.

With guest stars including the likes of John Turturro (as Adrian’s even crazier brother Ambrose!), Monk is really worth your time. The first three seasons are now available on region 2 DVD.

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