Friday, January 16, 2009

Mr. Monk Gets Cancelled

Well, no, not really. They're not canceling "Monk", they're just ending it next season because it will become more expensive than it's worth. Which is fine. I like the show but eight seasons is enough. (The damn Brits usually cut their series short.)

Anyway, about ten minutes into "Mr. Monk Gets Shot", I figured it out.

I'm not really very good at that sort of thing. I try to turn my brain off in the movies--that's part of the reason I go. But it's way harder with TV. Particularly with this kind of "can you solve it?" mystery genres.

My mom loved this kind of show, and I was weened on those Sunday Night Mysteries, "Ellery Queen" and the like.

It was "Murder She Wrote" that clued me in, though. In a late season MSW, long after I stopped watching it, I was at mom's and the opening scene was on. And I knew, from the opening scene, who the killer was.

In this type of mystery show, of course, the oddball item that "doesn't make sense" is the clue that solves the case. In this one, in the opening scene, Jessica had called across the lobby to an old friend, who didn't hear her and walked away. Well, duh. He had something in his ears, probably to protect him from loud noises while he committed his crime.

Plus, he was one of Jessica's old friends, and they were all murderers.

Anyway, these shows all have a limited amount of time and "Monk" especially so because of the comedy bits, so you know there's not much wasted space. There is no "offhand" remark. I've been calling "Monk" for quite a few seasons now.

Another sign that it's time to go. I hope they resolve Trudy's murder, tho'. And it wouldn't kill them to give Monk himself a little personal peace.


  1. This was a show that seemed a lot more fun the first two times you watched it and then it started to get tiresome. It was the repetitive nature of the story arc that starts to get to you. That happens to me in a lot of shows. Like ER and NYPD Blue and Meduim and Law and Order. It just seems to be the same formula. So when something like Deadwood or The Wire comes on you can't believe your good fortune. Still it was a cute little show for the old folks.

  2. When I solve mystery shows (or novels) it's never because of clues, but because of the dramatic structure.

    Another thing with MSW in particular was that often it would remind me of a particular mystery story/novel (Agatha Christie most often) and that generally let me know who did it. I wasn't so good motives and backstories though.

    The more I think about it, the more I like the British approach, do a much smaller number of episodes per season and don't run the franchise into the ground.

  3. Exactly, Michael. I'm certainly not claiming to have any particular perceptive or logical facility in the large, just knowledge of how the formula requires the right clue being dropped at the right time, but also how it needs to be presented as not a clue.


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