I’m a new fan of Monk. I rented seasons one and two of the show and was instantly hooked. However, I modified my opinion slightly after seeing season 3.
While I loved seasons one and two of Monk, I only loved half of season three. One of the main reasons for my change of opinion is the sudden, abrupt change in assistants to Monk in mid-season. The first half of the season features Monk and his faithful sidekick, assistant, and personal nurse, Sharona, up to their usual routines of solving homicide cases, handling Monk’s myriad phobias (namely germaphobia, fear of heights, and snakes to name a few) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, etc. However, during the course of season 3, they clumsily write Sharona out of the show – she is there for one episode and gone the next with only a brief mention of her whereabouts by Monk – and introduce a new assistant, Natalie, with very little transition. She is different from Sharona, as she should be because she is a different person, but she is not nearly as interesting as Sharona. Unlike Sharona, Natalie is boring, whiny, annoying, and unattractive to boot (unless you like mosquito bite-sized boobs). So far, she ceases truly to challenge Monk and make him a better person the way Sharona did. Sharona is sassy, smart, intelligent, assertive, and funny. I really tried to give Natalie a chance, but unless something changes in the succeeding seasons, I am not a fan.
Having said that, however, I do still enjoy the show. Monk is still brilliant, quirky, and awesome, and the characters Stottlemeyer and Disher are the usual fun, funny, interesting selves. Though many Sharona fans decided to quit watching the show once her character departed the show, I’ll continue to watch the show despite Sharona’s absence and Natalie’s grating voice, because it is still enjoyable to watch. Based on my research about season four, the show does not bode well for me liking it, but I am willing to give it a chance – tough if it out if that ends up being the case – because I love Adrian Monk, Captain Stottlemeyer, Disher, the storylines, and the concept of the series in general.
In short, I rate the third season of the series as good instead of excellent or on the other end of the spectrum, poor because the first half – the first six episodes, give or take an episode or two – is excellent and the second half is mediocre due to the addition of Natalie and some less than stellar writing to which fans are not accustomed.