Tuesday is Filler Day!
The Brain Thinky Doctor himself, Trey, was back in town tonight, which was a better excuse than most for the Dragon staffers to go grab some dinner. It was fun. Trey's a stand-up guy, smart as a whip, and, as Chad said, probably didn't want to be somewhere else when he was hanging out with us tonight. He's been gone for a while, and since the last time I talked to him was on the phone when I was drunk at Scott's New Years Party, it was good to see him.
I also finished City of Towers today, and I was thoroughly pleased with it. It probably helps that I like the Eberron setting a lot, but it was a fun read. If you're like me, and you have a high tolerance for barons, kings, and elves, give it a shot. I mean, in an interview where they ask him how he became a writer, Keith Baker says "Wandering through the forest, I stumbled upon a crashed spaceship. The dying alien handed me his gleaming emerald word processor and made me solemnly swear to assume his post," and then goes on to list Raymond Chandler and Grant Morrison as two of his favorite authors. How can you not jump on?
But unfortunately, since I was out eating a meal I was forced to refer to as "Chicken Critters" and reading D&D novels, I don't have too much to write about tonight. So how about some reader response?
Jim S. in Columbia, writes: "What do you think of the new chick on Monk (the one who replaced Sharona?) Also, are you going to check out Kojak? It looks pretty good."
You want to know what I think of Natalie Teeger, eh, Jimbo? Well, it's like this.
A few weeks back, my good pal sent me a lecture series on detective fiction to help while away the long drive to and from work. I really enjoyed it. There were eight lectures in all, going from the innovation of detective fiction and the establishment of the English style (which oddly enough was invented by Edgar Allen Poe, although it was popularized by Brits like Doyle and Christie), and then onto the American style, with Dashiell Hammet and my homeboy Ray C.
So by the classification the lectures set up, Monk falls squarely into the English form--just like some other favorites, like Ellery Queen or that show where the singing teapot busts murderous philanderers. One of the main elements of this style is that the detective has to restore order in the wake of a chaotic act of violence, and one of the most appealing things about Monk is that he as a character literally creates order out of chaos with his OCD. It's a fun bit of literalism that I like for some reason.
As such, the focus for me is on the character of Adrian Monk, not the Watson-esque foil to whom he explains his thought processes. The challenge is then put on the writers to make the foil entertaining on her own, but not to overshadow Monk.
Sharona was a great foil for this purpose, since her personality was crafted to clash so utterly with Monk's, but still make her an endearing character. And while it's still pretty early, Natalie's doing an enjoyable job of it as well, without being a carbon copy of her predecessor, which I think would've hurt the integrity of the show. If there's been a problem, it's that there's been too much of an effort to differentiate the two--the episode where Natalie was pressuring Monk for a raise actually included the line: "Don't compare me to Sharona," although there was a joke made of it.
So yeah, I like Sharona a lot, but I've also seen about ten more episodes with her in them than Natalie. And the new season, especially the last episode ("Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever"), has been pretty awesome. I mean, two weeks ago, there were ninja involved. And you know how I like ninja.
As for Kojak, I'm pretty excited for it. Ving Rhames was the guy who delivered the phrase "get medieval on their ass" to an adoring public, after all.