Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chuck vs. The World

ChuckThis week’s recommendation is the one hour action/comedy Chuck (Mondays @ 8/7 Central on NBC). Unfortunately one of this season’s best new shows just happens to be on at the same time as the previously recommended How I Met Your Mother. Thankfully, with the invention of DVR/TiVo no one has an excuse to ever miss either.

Zachary Levi as ChuckHere’s a quick recap of the show’s premise: The main character Chuck Bartowski, played by Zachary Levi, is just your average geek working in the Nerd Herd section of a Buy More (which looks remarkably like Best Buy and its Geek Squad department) until he subliminally downloads all of the U.S. Government’s spy secrets into his brain's subconscious. How does one do this you might ask? It happened while viewing a series of pictures in an email sent to Chuck by his former college roommate turned spy just before the ex-roommate is killed. Now don’t let the fact that Chuck is a spy show scare you off. While the spy missions are a pretty large element of the show, it’s not what makes Chuck so great. The show is really about Chuck trying to find his way in the world, while coping with his new responsibility of safeguarding all of our country's secrets. The fact that Chuck was saddled with data by the aforementioned former college roommate who also stole Chuck’s college girlfriend and then got him expelled from Stanford seems to make him pretty resentful of the responsibilities thrust upon him.

Yvonne Strahovski as SarahOnce Chuck has been officially drafted into government service, he is assigned to work with and be protected by CIA agent Sarah Walker and NSA agent John Casey. Newcomer Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah, already has already developed some great on-screen chemistry with Levi and you can really feel the will they/won’t they vibe every episode as the two try to pass off their cover as a romantically involved couple to Chuck’s friends and co-workers.

Adam Baldwin as CaseyBut my favorite character on the show has to be NSA agent Casey played by Adam Baldwin. Baldwin may have found his greatest fame as mercenary Jayne Cobb in the short lived television show Firefly and subsequent feature film Serenity, but I will always know him as Ike from Poison Ivy. And no, I’m not referring to the 90’s skin flick Poison Ivy staring Drew Barrymore, but instead the 80’s instant classic starring Michael J. Fox and Facts of Life’s Nancy McKeon. If you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend finding a copy on eBay right away!

But The Blot digresses…what is also really great about Chuck is all of the recurring minor characters in the show’s cast. The three nerd herders on Chuck’s staff are hilarious and are always there for some good high jinks at Buy More with Chuck and his best friend Morgan. One character I can't get enough of, who unfortunately isn’t in every episode, is Chuck’s sister Ellie’s fiancé Captain Awesome. In case I have to explain where Chuck's nickname for him comes from, his response to pretty much everything is “Awesome.” It’s a really awesome concept for a character don’t you think?

The Cast of ChuckBesides the entertaining stories and characters, the music on the show has also been surprisingly good. The show is definitely going for the hip indie vibe using songs from The Shins, Jet, Gomez and Spoon to name a few. We’re only a few episodes into the first season, so it’s definitely not too late for everyone to start watching. Before every episode there is a brief recap of the season and after watching a full episode you should be up to speed with every going on in the show. In no time flat you'll be a Chuck-a-holic too.
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