Cable networks, USA in particular, have done a great job attracting viewers to summer programming. Year after year, people know that come July or come August some of their favorite shows will be returning. Perhaps two of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer return tonight to USA – Monk and Psych.
Monk, which is entering its eighth and final season, has been around far longer than Psych. Every promo for the show has been quite explicit about this fact, but fans need not worry that the series will be done come Halloween, USA will be – as they always seem to do – splitting the season in two, with the final episodes not actually arriving until the winter.
The show stars Tony Shalhoub (Wings) as the obsessive-compulsive detective, a role for which he has won a Golden Globe (and several more nominations), three Emmys (and several more nominations), and two SAG Awards (and several more nominations). It certainly hasn't been a sad run for the star who, in speaking of the decision to conclude the show stated on a recent conference call: "We certainly don’t want to go too long and have the quality start to wane and just limp to the finish line. We want to go out while we’re still really… doing great work and delivering really strong episodes. We want to go out on a high."
Even if that is something of a standard line delivered by actors and producers of long-running shows, it certainly is a true one in the case of Monk. The premiere episode in this final season, "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show," features the character taking on the role of bodyguard to the star of his favorite childhood TV show, and has all the humor tinged with sadness that we've come to expect from the series.
As his success at various award shows indicate, it is Tony Shalhoub who has made this series a standout for the length of its run. He is able to portray this terribly sad, not quite whole, man in a way that not only elicits smiles and laughs from the audience, but incredible amounts of sympathy as well.