At the time that “Monk” first aired on USA back in 2002, basic cable was not known as a haven for high-rated scripted programming. This show, starring Tony Shalhoub as an obsessive compulsive detective named Adrian Monk, was a complete game-changer. It became a magnet for awards, it dominated cable ratings, and its series finale held the record for most-watched scripted cable broadcast for three years. “Mr. Monk and the Finale — Part II” had over 9 million viewers when it first aired in 2009, and those ratings remain eye-popping today.
It’s not hard to figure out why there would be a demand for the show to return — it’s enormously popular, and while it’s been off the air now for a good seven and a half years, it’s not as though the franchise died off in that time. There was talk of a TV movie at one point a few years back that never progressed forward, and there also have been novels inspired by the show as recently as 2015 that feature many of the same characters.
How to bring it back – This doesn’t seem all that difficult, given that the assumption here is that Monk would still be working to solve cases at the San Francisco Police Department with many of the other characters still around. It was alluded to in the series finale of “Psych” that Juliet and Chief Vick from that show were now working with him, but you could just write that out later by saying it was a temporary assignment, and he is back with Leland, Randy, and the rest of the familiar team.
Structurally, the show works so well in the story-of-the-week format that you could easily come back with another 6-8 episodes, just for the sake of testing the waters and see how they fare. Even though Monk now has justice for his wife Trudy’s death, there is so much more you can explore for the character, including if he could find romantic love again.
Could it happen? – It’s a fun idea and it’d be great if it could; the big issue is whether or not USA is looking to go back to many of their whodunnit shows now that they’ve re-branded from the “Characters Welcome” tagline that they had for many years. We do think that the ratings would be there, and it would be great to see some of the cast members again who we haven’t seen on TV in some time. This may be a case where the ship’s already sailed, but remember that “Gilmore Girls” was off the air even longer before it came back with “A Year in the Life.” In the world of TV, just about anything is possible.
Do you want to see a revival of “Monk” in the future? Share in the poll below, and head over here if you are interested in seeing some further chapters in our TV Revivals series. (Photo: USA.)