"Monk", 2002–2009. Three and a Half Stars.
Speaking of excellent shows coming back from the brink of awfulness, there's also "Monk"!!
So, this show was great. But the last few seasons, however, got really stagnant; there wasn't much room for innovation until Monk was able to grow, and he couldn't grow until he started to solved Trudy's murder. (I always thought it was curious that a character so important to the main character in this show ended up being played by two different actresses, the first Trudy being Stellina Rusich.)
Well, because the series would end with the solving of Trudy's murder, this last season was phenomenal! Monk finally starts progressing and growing as a person, the characters around him also develop, and situations aren't dictated by his predictable reactions to everything. It was also cool to see how he finally got his badge back (which was something he always sought during the series), but since he (and the department) has changed and grown so much over the years, he realized he was happier just doing his Monk thang on his own. And, did anyone see the two-part series finale? It was so perfect! Everything I could have wanted and more.
Also, I'm a little bit of a sap, and I really like that Sharona and Disher got together, and that Disher is heading his own department in NJ. Mostly I'm very happy that Disher finally got so less annoying!! Unfortunately, Julie's character remained pretty flat. And I really think it's the character, not the actress (she was good in that episode "Mr. Monk and the Critic"!).
If you've never watched an episode of this show in your life, and you wanna get in to it, I suggest checking out the first few seasons, then a few of the first Natalie seasons, then the last season. Those will all give you a decent Monk experience. Then, if you like it, check out the rest of the seasons. It's easy to check out episodes of this show since, if it's anything like it is now, USA will be re-airing Monk marathons for ages to come.
Whenever I see Craig T. Nelson ("Coach")'s name in credits, for a split second I think it's actually Michael J. Nelson ("Mystery Science Theater 3000") and I get excited. I know that's weird. And don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see the dad from Poltergeist!