Chuck vs. The World

22 Apr

Greetings, Faithful Reader! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Tests, Papers, and the looming threat of Finals have kept me from you, but I’m back- at least for a little while. So come inside, because I have something very important to discuss with you.

NBC’s Chuck is one of the best shows on television. Unfortunately, most of the world is choosing to ignore that fact. Despite widespread critical praise and a rabid fanbase, the ratings for Chuck have been consistently lower than NBC would prefer. At the same time, Jay Leno’s upcoming move to 10:00 every weeknight is removing 5 hours of scripted TV from NBC’s lineup. The loss of that time is apparently making the competition between NBC series for renewal very tight, and Chuck is one of the shows “on the bubble” of cancellation. Seeing as how I love this show, and coming off the best episode of the series yet this past Monday, I couldn’t restrain myself from sharing with all of you why I think Chuck is one of TV’s current best, why Chuck should be picked up for a third season, and why you should tune in next Monday night for the season finale.

Let’s start out with the premise of the show. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) is a mid-twenties loser working at the Buy More (Best Buy) as part of the Nerd Herd (Geek Squad). Then one day Chuck’s ex-best friend/rogue CIA agent Bryce Larkin steals a top secret government supercomputer called the Intersect and sends it to Chuck. Through the miracle of plot device the classified data contained in the Intersect is downloaded into Chuck’s brain as a mish-mash of encoded images, which he accesses through “flashes” triggered by seeing people or objects contained in the Intersect database. Chuck has now become the most important intelligence asset in the world, and to keep him and the Intersect safe he is put under the protection of the CIA and NSA’s top agents, Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski: most beautiful woman ever) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin. ‘Nuff said.). Chuck, Sarah and Casey use the information stored in Chuck’s brain to go on missions and save the world. In the meantime Chuck tries to come to grips with his dangerous new life while keeping everything a secret from his family and friends.

If that sounds dumb or silly or [Insert negative or neutral opinion here], think again. Chuck is one of the smartest, funniest, most action packed shows on TV. It moves seamlessly between comedy (during missions or when dealing with the antics of Chuck’s hilarious coworkers at the Buy More), action (self explanatory), and drama (missions again and your standard character conflicts). It’s well written, the mission-of-the-week structure never getting old. The acting is solid throughout; the actors create believable, multilayered, sympathetic, kickass characters. The “will they or won’t they” romance dynamic between Chuck and Sarah is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of that staple of the TV relationship. There’s also a very funny and at times touching “bromance” going on between Chuck and his best friend Morgan.  The guest actors are excellent (Michael Clarke Duncan, John Larroquette, Tricia Helfer, Dominic Monaghan, Some Dude Who Plays Some Sport, Scott Bakula, Bruce Boxleitner, Chevy Chase, Imhotep, the list goes on).

Not that everything is pitch perfect all the time. Some episodes are worse than others, obviously, but the overall consistency of awesome on this show is superb. There really is something for everyone on Chuck, which is why it’s so surprising to me that it’s ratings have only been average.

I should say that, like many of you probably are, I was at first a Chuck skeptic. I had no interest in watching it, but my brother eventually brow beat me into watching the first season online last fall before the start of season two. I obviously don’t regret it.

So why should Chuck get a third season? Because it’s good. End. As Battlestar Galactica and American Idol can attest to (from different ends of the goodness spectrum) a show’s Nielson numbers don’t represent the quality of a show. And while I understand that TV is fundamentally about ad revenue, not entertainment, it doesn’t seem fair that a show so good could be cut down in it’s prime just because the millions of people who watch it aren’t enough millions.

The whole purpose of this post is for me to make a request of all you good people. Tune in on Monday for the season finale of Chuck, 8:00 p.m. EST on NBC. You’ll enjoy it, and the season needs to end with a strong showing in the ratings to prove to NBC execs that it’s worth keeping around. Rent or buy Chuck season 1, and season 2 as well when it hits shelves. For those of you reading this who know me, you know you can trust my opinion when it comes to quality entertainment. To those of you who don’t know me but have stumbled across this anyway, I tell you that you won’t regret listening to me and giving Chuck a try. At the very least, you’ll be helping the people who do love this fantastic show, but I really do think everyone can find something in Chuck to enjoy.

Help save Chuck. For the children.

One Response to “Chuck vs. The World”

  1. Rockabye April 22, 2009 at 11:25 PM #

    Amen.

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