Counting Down (Compulsively) to the Last Monk
The last season of Monk began with little fanfare last week, but look for the tributes to roll in over the course of the season. The middle-aged audience for Tony Shalhoub's OCD antics will sorely miss this quirky series and hopefully USA has another addled detective comedy project in the works. Weird cops shows rarely fly on networks (Sorry, The Unusuals), but that is all that basic cable is these days.
Monk [9 PM, USA]
Monk (Tony Shalhoub) bonds with an African widower (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) while investigating a murder case involving a dead maid. Last week's episode signaled a different, more fun-loving tones to this season's plots, so hopefully they keep it up for the entire victory lap. Shalhoub might not win any more Emmys for the role (three in four years should be enough), but at least he will get to do something that requires him to be mean or angry once in a while.
Neil Diamond - Hot August Night: NYC [8 PM, CBS]
The original Hot August Night back in the seventies featured the same songs, but "Sweet Caroline" has only improved with age. Aside from the performances at Madison Square Garden, we get to see Diamond also visit his former home in Brooklyn and discusses his successful career. While it would be cool to see him perform a bunch of his new material from Home Before Dark and 12 Songs, tonight is about the standards. Let's hope "Kentucky Woman" makes the cut.
Comedians of Chelsea Lately [10:30 PM, E!]
Chelsea Handler hangs out with her favorite comics including Heather McDonald, Loni Love, the Sklar Brothers, Brad Wollack, Whitney Cummings and Josh Wolf at LA's Club Nokia. While the Sklars have been around forever without really popping off, Cummings seems to be positioning herself as the next Sarah Silverman, which would be interesting if Sarah Silverman wasn't so young and still on top of her game.
Walk the Line [8 PM, FX]
Looking back at the nominees for the 2005 Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, it's not surprising that the Johnny Cash biopic is the one that shows up most often on cable TV. The Producers is difficult to sit through on the small screen and no one would ever rewatch Mrs. Henderson Presents. As for Pride & Prejudice and The Squid and the Whale, those are OK for repeat viewing, but not really on a Friday night. Intellectuals trapped by their pride tend to be a huge buzzkill.