October 29, 2011

TV: Chuck 5.1, "Chuck vs. the Zoom"

I started watching the NBC series Chuck on a whim when it premiered in September 2007. It was a fun spy series with likable characters that didn't take itself too seriously. Its ratings weren't amazing, so I expected that it would quickly disappear from the schedule. Amazingly, it not only survived but received longer episode orders when other shows faltered. From its stars Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, and Adam Baldwin to its many guest stars from all realms of pop culture's past, this show has provided great entertainment during its four seasons. Starting yesterday, its fifth season will be the last one. NBC ordered 13 episodes to close the story in style on Friday nights.

During this final run, I'm writing recaps each week for the fine gang over at Sound on Sight in their expanding TV section. It will be interesting to dig into a show that I've enjoyed as a viewer during the past four years. I'll try to keep my fandom from clouding my judgment if the stories go off the rails. Last night's premiere, "Chuck vs. the Zoom", was solid and included a great cameo from Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill) during the action-packed opening. Check out my recap of Chuck's premiere and let me know what you think. 


  1. Solid write up. I confess that I didn't even recognize Mark Hamill in the episode. It was only after I went on IMDB and people were talking about him that I realized what I had missed.

    I have to disagree on one thing: I was looking forward to seeing what Chuck was going to do with all that money. There was great comic potential (like the throwaway line in the first episode "now aren't you glad we bought that satellite"). Having them have to struggle for money all the time will make the spy plots less believable (i.e. where are they going to get the jet fuel to fly to Moscow the next time they need to go?) It almost seemed more a plot device to set up the challenge of Chuck and Sarah being able to buy their own home together.

  2. Chip, the reason I like the lack of money is that it makes them underdogs. If they have unlimited resources, the Intersect (even if it's in Morgan), and don't have to report to the CIA, it's almost too easy. Chuck works really well when they have to use ingenuity to succeed along with the Intersect.

    However, I do see your point about it being used to show the plot device of buying the house. That part of it was a bit shaky.


  3. Sorry Dan but I only watched Chuck when Timothy Dalton guest starred (love that guy!). It was fun at first but I didn't think the show was particularly well-written. I realize it didn't take itself too seriously but I just got bored so I stopped watching. They do have great guest stars though, but it's gonna need more than that to interest me.

  4. No problem, Ruth. Chuck's best seasons were the earlier ones, especially 2 and 3. My attachment now is more to the characters, who I find entertaining. I can't really argue with the fact that writing's not always top-notch. It's one of those "comfort food" shows that I enjoy because it's fun and has likable actors.

  5. @ruth - I'll echo what Dan said. Try watching the early episodes and see where the characters were at that time. Viewers formed connections with them and that is what they (and I) watch the show for now.