Sybil Meets Monk, eh?

Canadian broadcaster Canwest announced four new pilots that they are putting into production, including a one-hour drama called  "Shattered," which is described this way:

Kyle Logan, once the best cop in the force and now a damaged
recluse, solves crimes with the help of his unconventional forensic
squad – who just happen to be facets of his

This latest in a long-line of "Monk" rip-offs sounds more like a "Saturday Night Live" spoof of a police procedural than an actual TV show.

5 thoughts on “Sybil Meets Monk, eh?”

  1. The show that’s really ripping off Monk is The Mentalist. Wife (and in this case child also) murdered in an unsolved case. Detective is quirky, brilliant, observing things that no one else around him does.

  2. “sounds more like a “Saturday Night Live” spoof of a police procedural than an actual TV show.”
    Exactly! Up here in Canada, nothing happens. Nobody is a world leader. Everybody minds their own business. Nobody takes any risks. Things always turn out the way they should in the familiar, predictable pattern. The country is basically demoralized because all the real power is in Ottawa (the capital) and exercised by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Nothing changes. There are no hot ideas. Blah, blah, blah is the national motto. Therefore, it is impossible to write a Canadian drama when there is no drama. And this shows up in the fact that even those who want to produce a Canadian drama can’t take the form seriously because it just doesn’t match their life experiences living here. Characters in drama are serious about their mission whereas, up here, you can’t get serious because you have no power.
    What I really love about the U.S. is that individuals are empowered. Every day I read that a new E85 pump has been installed and the proprietor is helping free America of the need for foreign oil. It’s patriotic energy in free flow! It’s standing up and changing the world a bit and making it better.
    Do you know how the Ontario government is reacting to this ethanol push? They are saying that electric cars will come so why invest in ethanol as a stop gap? Instead, just wait it out and get an electric vehicle later on. That is, do nothing, laugh at those who are doing something, talk yourself into standing still. But did you know that Zenn is a Canadian company that produces electric cars that can go about 40 miles with speeds of up to 40 mph? And guess what? The Ontario government won’t license them because “they are testing them.” But 42 states in the U.S. have already approved them as have Quebec and British Columbia. See how it goes? The investors in Zenn have a good, useful product but Canadian governments won’t do a thing to help them and will do everything to deny them success. This happens with everybody, so eventually the talented leave Canada.
    I could go on and on. But I’ll mention just one more example. During the ’70’s and 80’s, Canadian literature started to garner international attention due to its excellence. Know what the Prime Minister said when the writers’ union was asking for some tax breaks for writers? He said that writers weren’t that important in Life and that they should realize it and stop asking for any help from the Federal Government. Can you believe that?
    Anyway, I’ll stop.

  3. I wonder if the other members of the forensic team will be played by different actors; or if it will just be the same actor multiple times in different clothes, a la “Being John Malkovich.”

  4. It certainly sounds like a Monk-ish spin. But it sounds like it is also, er, “taking inspiration” from MPD Psycho (Multiple Personality Detective), a six-part miniseries from 2000 that aired on Japanese TV and has been available on DVD for a while now. It was directed by notorious filmmaker Takashe Miike (I’m probably butchering the spelling). Granted, MPD Psycho was much, much darker and more nihilistic, but the central premise was of a detective who reverts to his alternate personality to catch a serial killer.
    Multiple personalities seem to be in vogue now. An hour ago, before I read this post, I saw an ad for The United States of Tara, the new “multiple personality comedy” on Showtime starring Toni Collette and exec produced by…Steven Spielberg??!!
    Oh and PS, in my opinion, The Mentalist is really ripping off Psych.

  5. The more I think about the phrase, “ripped off,” as in “bad copying,” the more I wonder if it is a useful phrase. Why isn’t the new show seen as just adopting the conventions of the genre?
    Edgar Allen Poe wrote the first fictional detective story (perhaps based on memoirs of a real detective). And Poe had the “superstar” detective along with his sidekick helper. Ever since, this is the basic convention for detective stories.
    My all-time favorite detective characters are “Nick & Nora Charles” as they appear in Hammet’s, “The Thin Man.” They inhabit the elite social world in NYC and San Francisco, Nick makes investments, Nora (who is 26 while Nick is 41) is always giving affectionate mock-putdowns to Nick, and Nick is witty, urbane and has an electric connection with Nora. What’s not to like? It’s a pity that Hammet thought he had to invent a new franchise with each detective he created. He could have had a great series centered around the Nick-Nora connection.
    But if a writer today has a similar male-female detective team, I wouldn’t say the writer was “ripping off” Hammet so much as following in the genre’s footsteps. The really creative writer will try to extend the genre conventions further, not try to invent a new franchise (which is also good but often fails.)


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