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Running Time: 682 minutes
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Jason Gray-Stanford and Ted Levine
Retail Price: $59.99
Features: Video Commentaries, Audio Commentary with Tony Shalhoub, Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford, Executive Producer David Hoberman and Director/Executive Producer Randall Zisk on "Mr. Monk Stays Up All Night"
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles, Episode Selection, Chapter Stops (4 per episode), Four-Disc Set
Released: July 8th, 2008
The sixth season of "Monk" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The episodes look decent at best. Detail is fine, color saturation is pretty good, and fleshtones look accurate. There isn't much in the way of noise, but edge halos and some shimmering do make appearences on some of the episodes. Unfortunately, the episodes are a bit on the soft side - and the scenes that take place at night really seem to struggle, with distracting bouts of grain and lower resolution. Overall, these episodes certainly are watchable, but I wish they looked a lot sharper.
The sixth season of "Monk" features English Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, which are decent but nothing outstanding. Fidelity is high on these tracks, and dialogue is very clear and easy to hear. The Jeff Beal musical cues - plus the Randy Newman theme song - also come out clear and straightforward. The sound effects are audible, but the stereo effects often come out a bit too artificial and even hollow. There's nothing wrong with these tracks, and all the sound elements ring in just fine, it's just that they have limited dynamic range. 5.1 mixes would probably serve this series much better.
English subtitles are also included.
This set features Video Commentaries, but calling them that is very misleading. These "commentaries" are more like introductions, where some writers introduce their respective episodes. Each of these introductions last a few minutes each, and give a decent overview about what they were trying to accomplish, where ideas came from and that sort-of thing. They're pretty enjoyable, and it's nice to see the writers spotlighted, but again - "introductions" is more of an apt title for this kind of feature.
Beyond that, there's only an Audio Commentary with Tony Shalhoub, Ted Levine, Jason Gray-Stanford, Executive Producer David Hoberman and Director/Executive Producer Randall Zisk for the episode"Mr. Monk Stays Up All Night." There are a few dead spots, and despite all the participants, isn't as chatty as you might expect. Shalhoub is the most enthusiastic on the track providing most of the anecdotes, while Zisk cites Scorsese's "After Hours" as inspiration for the episode's visual look. Other than that, there's a lot of praise for the actors and laughing at the jokes in the episodes. It's an okay commentary, which I think is probably best suited for die-hard fans of the show.
Six years into its run, "Monk" is still a clever and entertaining TV series, with sharp writing and a great cast led by the always excellent Tony Shalhoub. This sixth season on DVD is a bit of a disappointment, however. The episode presentations are pretty ho-hum, and the bonus materials don't add up to too much. Die hard fans will probably want to pick this set up, but the rest of us are probably best to watching the show on TV.