Review of "The Monastery" From The TV MegaSite
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Primetime Show Reviews

"The Monastery" Review by Suzanne 10/15/06

The Monastery group picture

When I was asked to review this for the Discovery Channel, I did not read the summary of the info ahead of time, so I figured it would be either a historical or nature program. I was surprised to find that it is basically a reality show. It seems like every channel has one nowadays.

Now, I don't like reality shows as a general rule. They are usually either tawdry, involve shallow, dislikable people, or gross things like eating bugs, or they are just plain boring. At least from the few I've seen. I admit that I prefer fiction so I don't usually waste my time even watching non-fiction.

This show "The Monastery" is about 5 men who go to a monastery to see if it can help them fix the problems of their lives. One is a former Satanist, now an episcopalian. One is a comedian who has had trouble kicking alcohol. Another is an Iraqi veteran who had his leg blown off. Several are lapsed Catholics of various kinds. They stay in the monastery for 40 days, learning to stick to the abbot's schedule and discipline. The most telling comment came from the Iraqi veteran, who said that boot camp was easier than going to the monastery because there was not as much time to think. Learning meditation and how to sit still is difficult for the men (it would be for me, too--I'd probably fall asleep).

To me it is a bit slow-moving, but that's probably because I am used to fast-moving action/adventures shows, scifi, and cop dramas.  It was not hard to get into or difficult to get used to the pace, and it does speed up as it goes on.   It is a fascinating story and the people are interesting. If you want to watch an intelligent, thoughtful reality show, this is a good one to choose.

It airs beginning Oct. 22nd on TLC.

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Updated 10/15/06 

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