January 8th, 2005
A few weeks before Xmas I happened to catch BBC2's Saturday afternoon schedule. Lately they've been filling the afternoon with runs of various detective series. Some, like the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes adaptations, are familiar – classics, even. (Can I just note that I'm horrified, having looked up Brett's series on the IMDB, to discover that it debuted more than 20 years ago. I suddenly feel very old…)
Anyway, this post isn't about the Holmes adaptations, fine as they are. It's about a show which I'd heard of but not seen before, not least because I don't think BBC2 ever tried it in an evening timeslot. Monk is as enjoyable an hour's TV as I've seen in quite a while. Tony Shalhoub's magnificently eccentric detective is clearly the heart of the story, but the supporting cast – especially Ted Levine as Monk's captain and Bitty Schramm as Monk's assistant/nurse – do good work, and the stories are great fun. It looks as if everyone involved is having a ball, which always helps.
As it happens, the detective show which followed Monk in this afternoon's BBC2 schedule was also worth watching. I've never read any of Rex Stout's stories, but by all accounts the A Nero Wolfe Mystery series is a worthy adaptation. As with Monk, you have a sense that the likes of Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton are having a ball with the material. I'm definitely going to have to go and hunt down the source material now. And to set my VCR if I'm not around on a Saturday afternoon.