My Guilt For Not Watching NBC’s Chuck – Till Now | By Phil Pendleton
I enjoy watching good TV as much as the next guy. I decided to write my thoughts into this article today about a series I just started watching this year called “Chuck” which airs on NBC Mondays at 7:00 central. It just wrapped it’s second season and I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about this show, it’s characters and the writing as well as explain a little bit about why I hope it returns for a third season.
I actually began watching this show halfway through the second season. When I’m in my downstairs game room working or helping out with folding and hanging up laundry for my wife I like putting on streaming shows on my laptop so that I have some background noise going on. I think one of the best things networks have done recently is to stream their most popular shows online. My wife got hooked on Samantha Who? this way as she decided one day to watch it online after seeing that ABC had video of various shows on their website. Pretty soon she’d checked out quite a few shows and started watching them in the normal broadcast on TV. FOX, NBC and CBS all have streaming shows as well and has been a great way for our family to check out shows we otherwise never would have watched and now commit time to each week when they air on TV.
I watch NBC for a couple of shows that my wife, kids and I enjoy such as Life, Southland, Knight Rider and the Office and had seen spots air for Chuck. I remember the commercial showing different actors from the show in clips repeating the name “Chuck” which definitely made me remember the name of the show. At first glance in the TV spots it looked like a cool spy show with action, some romance and comedic elements to it. I remember thinking that I wanted to catch an episode to see what it was about but just never quite found the time to do it. I finally caught an episode on NBC’s website however a few months back and became hooked. NBC had all of season 2 online at this point so it was easy to get caught up with what was happening so that when it came on TV I could follow what was happening in the story arc. To someone like me who has never watched the series here is what I would tell you.
The series centers around the character Chuck Bartowski played by actor Zachary Levi. Chuck is in his mid 20’s and we follow him in three different settings in each episode. His life at home, his job at the Buy More (a big box electronics store) and the spy world that he suddenly finds himself thrust into unwillingly. In the pilot episode we find his life to be pretty normal and a bit geeky as he and his best friend Morgan played by actor Joshua Gomez do their best to entertain themselves with video games and hanging out at work. We find out Chuck lives at home with his sister Ellie played by actress Sarah Lancaster and her boyfriend Devon “Captain Awesome” Woodcomb played by actor Ryan McPartlin who for the most part are his family at home as their dad and mom left both of them years ago. Life seems pretty normal for Chuck until an old college buddy by the name of Bryce Larkin played by Matthew Bomer sends Chuck a special program via email from an experimental construct called the Intersect computer just as he destroys it. It contains all of the governments secrets in the form of encoded images and information and are downloaded accidentally into Chuck’s head upon opening Bryce’s email. Soon Chuck is being hunted down by the government’s best agents who are looking for the stolen data. The CIA sends agent Sarah Walker played by Yvonne Strahovski and the NSA sends agent John Casey played by Adam Baldwin out to find out what had happened to the Intersect that was stolen each believing that the other was responsible.
Chuck episodes feature several different elements that drive the plot and the story in such a way that you can watch episodes independently from each other. The three aspects of Chucks life (home, work and spy world) often merge together at the worst possible times making for some funny and uncomfortable situations that Chuck has to get himself and others out of often with the help of his agents and friends. The primary dynamic is Chuck’s friendship with his friend Morgan who doesn’t know about the spy part of his life and his association with government agents Walker and Casey who are always close and are undercover in Chuck’s life and job. There is also a romantic tension with Chuck and Agent Sarah Walker who have to “cover date” as part of Walker’s assignment which is complicated for both characters. Season long story arcs are threaded into each episode which focus on different major plot threads that continue to drive the story forward through the season.
Sometimes certain shows can be cheesy or a bit too over the top in the writing and direction that a show is going. New series also have a tendency to stray too far from what made them good in the first place. I think Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have done a great job in 2 seasons with balancing out and moving forward the plot and storylines in this series and have kept it fresh and entertaining as well as grounded in that the series is still character driven rather than having to rely on special effects and other elements to keep you watching. You care about these characters and want to see what happens to them. Does Chuck ever get the girl? Will his life ever return to normal? Will he ever get the Intersect out of his head? Will his family find out the truth? The list goes on and on.
I’ve been able to get caught up on the whole series through NBC as well as catching the back half of season two on TV and in attempting to keep this article as spoiler free as possible I will just say that the season two finale tied up some pretty big loose ends but unraveled many more new ones. So if you haven’t started watching this series because it’s already wrapped season two, there’s plenty of time to get caught up. Don’t feel like too many episodes have aired as I was able to get caught up within a couple of weeks here and there quite eaily. I felt a little guilty for not catching this series in the first season. NBC has me hooked now though. Websites like nbc.com and thewb.com have streaming video you can watch online for free with limited commercials that will get you on the right track for seasons 1 and 2. If you have a budget for new DVD’s and want something different, scoop up the 1st Season of Chuck on DVD. Then catch re-runs on NBC and online and you’ll be ready to go.
There has been some speculation online that Chuck is on the bubble with NBC, a term which is used to say that a network is 50/50 on choosing to renew a show. Both me and my kids watch this show now faithfully every week and are starting to influence others to get their friends and parents to check it out too. It would be sad if this show didn’t get a chance to build more viewers for next season as it only just completed it’s sophomore season. I would hope that NBC chooses to renew this series for a third season and to give it a chance to continue to build more viewers and fans. I just started watching this season on TV thanks to the show being online for viewing at nbc.com. Imagine though how many more of us are out there who are ready to tune into NBC next season to catch this show and others. Here’s to hoping that Chuck will find a way to get out of this one too. Don’t stay in the car… go in and watch Chuck!
Phil Pendleton is a professional who writes for several online sites. He encourages you to check out the NBC Series Chuck at nbc.com. He also suggests visiting the fan site chuckTV.net if you’d like to find out more about Chuck and catch news and information about the series posted by fans.
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