Sunday, January 03, 2010

For Your Consideration: "Chuck"

With the premiere of the final season of Lost less one month away, I'm sure we're all having trouble falling asleep at night - counting not just the days, but the hours, and minutes, and seconds until Lost returns to feed our addiction one last time. What can we possibly do to occupy our minds for the next month?

For your consideration: become an uber-fan of "Chuck".

You've heard me talk about "Chuck" on the Blog before. I kinda love it the way that a kid loves candy and fresh snow. So here is my attempt to make you love it too.

First off, the good news is that unlike "Lost", you can start watching "Chuck" right now and be able to pick it up immediately. In fact, the basic storyline of "Chuck" is so simple, I'll summarize it below in 18 words:

Average loveable nerd accidentally gets all the government's secrets downloaded to his brain. Action, comedy, and romance ensue.

Knowing only that (which I'm sure they will expand upon during a "previously on Chuck" montage to kick off the new season), you will be able to sit down and enjoy Chuck. It won't take you long to figure out that relationships between the characters that have developed over the past two seasons, and the episodes are stand-alone-y enough that each one provides a nice little story with a beginning, middle, and end... with a few more complex underlying storylines running along in the background of each to tie it all together.

For those who are willing to spend the next two minutes of their lives getting a more in-depth explanation of "The Story of Chuck, So Far", the next few paragraphs are for you. For the lazy among us, skip ahead to the pictures of pretty girls, where I'll outline "The Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Chuck"...

Chuck Bartowski is living a simple life working as a computer expert at Buy More. One day, he receives a mysterious Email from his former college roommate, Bryce Larkin. Unbeknownst to Chuck, Bryce was actually a rogue CIA agent who stole all of the US Government's secrets (that were stored on a big computer called "The Intersect") and Emailed it to Chuck just before being captured / shot by the CIA. When Chuck opens the file, he is shown a series of rapid-flash images that represent everything the US Government knows about enemy nations, secret plots to destroy the world, etc. After the experience, whenever Chuck sees something that "matches" to one of the images, he "flashes" on it, meaning he suddenly knows things - like the man he sees walking across the street is actually a secret Russian spy - or things like that. But he's just an average nerd - even though he has this information, what can he do about it?

Well, once the government finds out that all their Intersect computer was destroyed by Bryce and all their secrets are stored inside Chuck, they send a CIA agent (Sarah Walker) and an NSA agent (John Casey) to protect Chuck and help carry out missions. Chuck provides the brains / information, they provide the muscle / spy know-how. As you can imagine, hijinx ensue as Chuck gets involved in the missions, accidentally saves the day, and comes to grip with this new "secret identity". Buy More Nerd Herd by day, Secret Government Agent by night.

What else? Chuck lives with his sister Ellie and her husband Devon (also known as "Captain Awesome"). Awesome accidentally found out about Chuck's involvement with the government last season, making him the only person outside of Sarah and Casey who know his secret. Chuck's best friend is Morgan, who also works with him at the Buy More. Oh - and Chuck is madly in love with Sarah, even though she tries to keep things professional, she kinda likes him back - but they've gotten past second base with each other.

The big cliffhanger of last season was that there was a new and improved version of the Intersect computer created. This time, Chuck intentionally downloaded it to his brain, only to find out that some of the "enhancements" included instantly teaching him fighting skills (kinda like in the Matrix where they would "download" karate moves or whatever).

That's it.

I promise the show isn't as "nerdy" or "sci-fi" as that description may have sounded. Everything on this show is totally rooted in 100% reality once you accept that Chuck has all this information inside his head.

So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Chuck:

1. This is Sarah Walker. Need I say more?



2. Jeffster! One part Jeff, one part Lester – they’re two of Chuck’s nerdy co-workers at Buy More, who play in a rockin’ cover band on the side that has been featured a few times over the course of the season. Enjoy their greatness – and a little bit of the happy /sweet / feel-good side of Chuck at the same time:

3. Lost Tie-In! Just in case you are so obsessed with “Lost” that you couldn’t imagine spending any time watching a TV show that wasn’t in some way related to “Lost” – you’re in luck. During an early episode of Chuck, he began flashing on a rapid series of images, and uttered “Oceanic 815 was shot down by…” before being interrupted by a new flash.

4. Guest Stars Galore. The main cast of “Chuck” is fantastic, top to bottom. The guest stars are equally awesome. Here’s a brief listing of those who have appeared on “Chuck” in its first two seasons:

  • Dominic Monaghan (aka, Charlie from “Lost”)
  • Rachel Bilson (aka, Summer from “the OC”)
  • Tony Hale (aka, Baby Buster from “Arrested Development”)
  • Andy Richter (aka, Conan O’Brien’s hilarious sidekick)
  • Scott Bakula (aka, Dr. Sam Beckett from “Quantum Leap”)
  • Chevy Chase (aka, Clark Griswold)

On tap for this upcoming season? Kristin Kreuk and Stone Cold Steve Austin both appear in the Season Three previews.

5. Critics Like It! Don’t trust me and my wacky opinions? What about these other people?

  • “Chuck wipes the floor with the other fall debuts” - Rolling Stone magazine
  • “One of the Top 10 TV series of the year” - The Miami Herald, The New York Observer
  • “One of the few bright spots in television” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • "The show pays attention to the mechanics of storytelling and doesn't just try to coast on the comedy. Given the level of attention paid to all those other things—emotion, suspense, plotting, character—Chuck ends up being one of the TV scene's greatest pleasures at the moment." – The Chicago Tribune
  • “The show is a delight” – Time Magazine
  • “Chuck is the most purely entertaining show currently on television, whether you're talking network or cable. What makes Chuck so special ... is that there's a fundamental warmth and humanity underneath the jokes with a cast of appealing characters played by very good actors.” – The Star Ledger

6. I Promised NBC You Would Watch It. In December, I ended up at some swanky NBC event in New York City courtesy of the Hot Wife’s sweet job perks. After having a few drinks, I ended up talking to some NBC Executives, and found myself thanking them for bringing “Chuck” back for a third season, after it was on the brink of cancellation last year. They told me they were debating between renewing “Chuck” or “Medium” – but decided on going with “Chuck” because it attracts young, fun, awesome viewers like you and me. I promised them I would drive up ratings by talking about the show more on my Blog. Don’t make me look like a jackass. (Wait, probably too late for that – but still…)

7. The Episode Titles. They may not be as “deep” as the episode titles for “Lost”, but they’re equally creative and fun. Every single episode is titled “Chuck vs.” Something. But it’s not as simple as being the “bad guy” of each episode. Here’s a sampling of “Chuck” episode titles – and after you watch each episode, each one makes total sense:

  • Chuck vs. The Tango
  • Chuck vs. The Imported Hard Salami
  • Chuck vs. Santa Claus
  • Chuck vs. The Suburbs

How fun is that?

8. It’s the Happiest Show on TV. In previous years, “Pushing Daisies” gave “Chuck” a run for this title – awarded to shows that provide 100% pure, happy, entertainment. But now that “Pushing Daisies” is no more (tear), “Chuck” is the undisputed champ. After each episode of “Chuck”, I’m happier than when it began. If you don’t like being happy, then by all means, do not watch this show.

9. The First Season Three Preview is Really Good. This four minute clip embodies all the great things about the show. Watch and enjoy:

10. Did I mention that Yvonne Strahovski is very physically attractive?





Chuck returns Sunday, January 10, 2010 with a two hour premiere at 9/8c before moving to its permanent timeslot of Mondays 8/7c.

Watch it.

You won’t regret.

If you do, I’ll give you your money back.


Pamela Jaye said...

Brian - I did not read your whole post - since you are preaching to the choir.
However I did note the missingness of one of the scenes that got a lot of women watching the show, from the pilot.
The ballerina. Someone posted it to youtube on my request. It has norwegian subtitles, but that's okay.
I hope that you will include it in your post.
It really shows Chuck's heart, that he would leave Sarah, to help the little girl. And many fans agree.

Anonymous said...

Did *I* mention that Yvonne Strahovski (and Zach, too) are possibly some of the best actors ever on television?

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

(And Chris Payne, who cut those is *absolutely* excellent; I really hope and pray they use one of the two as this season's "Previously" -- though I know it'll never happen...)

And incidentally: *must* you lock down comments?

Pedro dos Santos said...

I really can't get into this show... not bad of course. But it's just another comedy to me...

I didn't read the post though.

Right now I'm too tired and sleepy, will read it later in the day, and comment then. ;)

amanda said...

I know you are a boy and all, but you could have also included how irresistible chuck is. zachary levi is basically perfect all around, chicks won't be disappointed. yay chuck!

Brian said...

Pamela Jaye - I'm not seeing it on YouTube. If you can hook me up with the link, I'll add it to the post!

Leenoox - I was forced to lockedown (pun) the comments thanks to jerks who posted spoilers in them anonymously last season of Lost. It's a small price to pay to keep out the no good punk kids.

amanda - It's true. Chuck is totally hunky. But I have to keep up my manly image and only talk about Yvonne... you know how it is.