Friday, July 18, 2008

'Monk,' 'Psych' Return

A few weeks ago, I noted the passing of actor Stanley Kamel, who played Monk's shrink Dr. Kroger on "Monk." (USA, 9 p.m.)

Kamel, a veteran character actor, appeared on some of the best episodes of the series and was a delight in the role of Monk's overworked therapist.

Kamel's death from a heart attack brings a note of poignancy to tonight's season premiere, as Monk must deal with the death of the character of Kroger, who often served as Monk's security blanket.

The episode isn't that great, even with guest stars Hector Elizondo as Monk's new shrink and Brad Garrett as the guy fixing up Monk's new house; the mystery is fairly easy to solve and how Monk is rescued in the end is downright silly.

But the final scene (and the underlying theme of much of the episode) is a nice tribute to Kamel, so it's worth checking out.

It's followed by the season premiere of "Psych" (USA, 10 p.m.), which has always been a rather silly show. We meet Shawn's (James Roday) long-lost mother (guest star Cybill Shepherd) tonight, but the "case" is even sillier than usual.

REMINDER: The second part of the three-part "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog" starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion hit the Web on Thursday at You can check out the finale on Saturday. After Saturday, you'll have to pay $1.99 to download it off iTunes instead of getting it for free, though it is well worth it.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: "Doctor Who" (Sci Fi, 9 p.m.) meets "It's a Wonderful Life" in the episode "Turn Left," as Donna (Catherine Tate) experiences a world in which she never met the Doctor (David Tennant). Want to see what life on good ole Earth would be like without the Doctor constantly saving us? Tonight provides a great example. It also provides some hints into the two-part finale, in which all of the Doctor's companions play a key role. It's followed by a new "Stargate: Atlantis" at 10 p.m.

With Robin Hood away, Marian (Lucy Griffiths) must intervene to rescue the poorfolk of Nottingham in her guise as the Night Watchman on "Robin Hood" (BBC America, Sat., 9 p.m.)

On Sunday, Foyle is back on the job on "Masterpiece: Mystery" in a new "Foyle's War" (PBS, 9 p.m.)

ESPN manages to waste a lot of time with the annual "ESPY Awards" (ESPN, 9 p.m.)

The second installment of "Generation Kill" (HBO, 9 p.m.) debuts Sunday.

Finally, missed "Mad Men" the first time around and want to catch up before Season 2 begins? AMC is running an all-day marathon of the Emmy-nominated series on Sunday beginning at noon. Now is your chance to catch up before Season 2 begins a week from Sunday. This is TV at its absolute best and worth a day of watching or at least Tivo-ing.


zodin2008 said...

First and foremost, I beg and urge Phillip's "dozens" to check out the best show on Television - "Mad Men". Though "Lost" is one of my all time favorite series, and I think "Battlestar", "The Shield" and "The Wire" (among others) are all right up there, I think "Mad Men" is simply the best show on TV, bar none.

I have gotten BEYOND tired of "Monk" over the last few years. The show is silly and they don't CARE about trying to create interesting mysteries like they did during the first two-three seasons when the character of Sharona (Bitty Schram) was on the show rather than the boring Natalie Teeger character.

But the one highlight was always Stanley Kamel (who was also so much fun as Amanda's boss on "Melrose Place" and as mobster Anthony Marchette on a season of "90210") so I will watch tonight just to see the Kamel tribute.

To be fair, since Kamel was the "consummate pro" type of actor, Hector Elizondo seems like a good hire from the standpoint that he's versatile (TV and movies, comedy and drama) and in a way, a lot like Kamel as just being a very reliable and professional actor who can bled to any series and any cast.

(Elizondo like other fine actors such as Nestor Carbonnell and Jimmy Smits, became available again when CBS axed the Latino themed Miami family drama, "Cane". I am thrilled that Carbonnell became available to play Richard, the ageless wonder 'other' on "Lost" again).

"Psych" is silly but the chemistry of the cast (in a way, like an even more light hearted "Bones") is the key and I think a veteran of Television and 80's icon Cybill Shephard is a good and natural fit with Corbin Bernsen (as Shawn's loveable gruff ex-cop dad) & the always whimsical performance of James Roday.

Between previous acting appearances of Ernie Hudson, Phylicia Rashad and Dan Lauria, plus "Growing Pains" Joanna Kerns directing before, this show continues to pay hommage to some of the great TV stars of the 80's

(although Hudson's iconic status is as the extra "Ghostbuster" and maybe the mentally handicapped handyman in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle").

Phillip Ramati said...

Elizondo is a veteran character actor and does a capable job tonight.

But yeah, you're right, Monk is no longer the show it was.

Coastbunny said...

Have to agree about "Mad Men." Those history making nominations--MM and "Damages" are the first basic cable shows to end up in the best show category--were well deserved. I had the opportunity to interview "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner for the current issue of "script" magazine, and really enjoyed his insight on how he crafts the show.

Jonathan said...

"Monk" and "Psych" are the definiton of comfort food when it comes to television shows. They are light, breezy, and fun; occassionaly you even get a good mystery out of it; more so on "Monk" than "Psych." But as you all have been saying, "Monk" has been going down hill for the past couple of seasons; although last season's two part season finale was a fairly strong outing; although I still can't figure out why they couldn't get Tim Curry back. And yes, it's no false hype, "Mad Men" is as good as everyone says.

Also, just saw "The Dark Knight," and while not television that has to be the highlight of this weekend. It really is something special.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, Dark Knight is the highlight of my weekend as well; I'm catching it tonight.

For people not too familiar with Mad Men, you can read Coast Bunny's article in "Script" magazine, available on newstands in most bookstores. She does a good job giving you a primer of the first season as well as getting insights from the show's creators.

Devid said...

Monk is my Favorite TV show.The Show is quite interesting.monk is Playing very good Role in this Show.when i saw the Episode first time i was not thought that the show is Great after some of the episodes i became a good Fan of the show.I missed the episodes of First season that i was Looking to watch then i got a Great Source to Free download monk episodes from my Friend.

tramp394 said...

This show was really good and entertaining. A lot are saying that its like Monk, but I honestly don't see any real similarities. Monk is also a nice show, but Psych is fantastic. Its one of my favorite tv shows.

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