01 October 2008

Chuck: Chuck Versus the First Date

“My name is Charles Carmikle, I am a CIA agent, and this is my trap. I don’t think you gentlemen don’t realize the gravity of the predicament you’re in.” – Chuck

“Chuck Bartowski has served this country with honor. Now he’ll die with honor to protect it.” – Tony Todd's character dude

(S02E01) My love for all things CHUCK began when I picked up the first season on DVD. I caught only a few episodes when they first aired, and they were humorous, but nothing too enticing. I don’t know the difference between them and now, but when I bought the DVD, after the first episode, I was hooked. I mean it; I went on a CHUCK-a-thon. Episode after episode after episode, each one was absolutely perfect and entirely enjoyable. Few shows are able to have a ensemble cast that are just entertaining and interesting week to week, and are able to balance action, humor, darkness, thrills, geek references, and espionage so well. (the only other person I can think who succeeds in this regard [minus the espionage] would be TV Master Joss Whedon, who proved this point on not just one, not just two, but three television programs)

Chuck & Co. have a problem keeping the hard drive to the new Intersect in their hands: they lose it, they get it, they lose it again, and now they got to get it again. The best part, the hard drive is in the possession of a very intently intimidating operative (Michael Clark Duncan). Once this hard drive is secure, the new Intersect can be operational, and Chuck can live his life free from the CIA and be with Ms. Sarah Walker! Not so fast – the CIA has their own plans: Chuck is too much of a risk, him knowing the secrets of the government and everything, so he must be eliminated. Meanwhile, at the Buy More, Big Mike is looking for a new Head Honcho to be in charge of sales – naturally, he proposes the job to Chuck, who declines. So, Big Mike has now made it his duty to determine who will take the mantle of Head Honcho. All this and more as Chuck goes on his first official date with Sarah, must locate the Intersect had drive, and finally and most importantly, pick who to be in charge of sales at the Buy More. Just another exciting episode!

CHUCK begins season two on a high note. Fast paced, instant with the comedy, and for those who are just catching up on the show, a sufficient ‘This is who this person and this person are, and this is what they do’ recap. From the opening alone, the nine-month wait for a new episode vaporized instantaneously, and I was sucked into Chuck World. Funny one liners, action, beautiful Yvonne Strahovski, great music choices, and a damn enjoyable good time.

Chuck really owned this episode. Have any reservations about Chuck being a valuable CIA agent? Watch the ep. His total ownage of Intimidating Dude and his team near the end on the rooftop was seriously awesome; if I wasn’t in the school computer lab, I would be whistling (if I actually could whistle) and clapping for our dear Chuck.

By now Zachary Levi is perfectly comfortable with the character of Chuck (though, come to think about it, he seemed to totally get the character from the first episode), and shines in every scene he’s in. When Levi, Baldwin, and Strahvoski are on screen, they are a formidable comedic duo.

Adam Baldwin is a true highlight to any series. I was most familiar with him from the last few episodes of ANGEL as the suit-wearing Hamilton, a liaison to the Senior Partners (bad guys plotting Armageddon). Definitely intimidating but simultaneously funny, Hamilton was awesome. Next up was his stint in FIREFLY and the movie adaptation SERENITY (Whedon dialogue serves him well; they work terrifically together). Further adding to his list of cancelled programs was THE INSIDE, which I only watched a few episodes of because of Tim Minear’s involvement; though I don’t really remember what Baldwin’s character’s role was. Anyhow, point is: Baldwin was made for two roles: Casey and Jayne (FIREFLY). Every episode, Baldwin is terrific. In my opinion, he helps make the show as good as it is.

Yvonne Strahovski is as great as ever, although it is sad she is no longer working at her old place (yep, it’s all about the outfit). But the best thing about Strahvoski is that she is able to be a beautiful, sexy woman when necessary, but the cold-blooded CIA agent comes first, and she sells that brilliantly. To show how much I love this show, I care about Chuck’s future to the extent that I want a new Intersect built so Chuck can be done with the CIA and live this life and thus end the show – as long as Chuck’s happy, I’m happy. Though, of course, that brings about a conundrum because the orders are to kill Bartowski once the new Intersect is operational (unless they keep him around for insurance reasons – just in case).

The last five minutes of the episode were simply awesome. The hard drive being a bomb from Fulcrum was genius (I didn’t anticipate it, evidently some did), and I loved the whole glasses thing (Tony Todd takes his glasses out and puts them on as the other agents take their glasses off). Casey sneaks into Chuck’s house to kill him under orders as Chuck prepares his lines to Sarah. The music playing perfectly compliments these moments as well. Though, I shouldn’t be surprised. Josh Schwartz is Einstein when it comes to music selection.

Also, anyone else begin to think the INDIANA JONES theme was about to start when Morgan was talking about Jeff and his Twinkie eating?

Unfortunately, numbers for CHUCK aren’t good. Thus far, there’s 13 episodes completed, and I’m hoping to whatever deity I worship that CHUCK will persevere. Give teen idiots their GOSSIP GIRL and ONE TREE HILL, just let me keep my CHUCK! (and REAPER…and SUPERNATURAL…)

But in all honesty, if you haven’t started watching CHUCK, I highly, highly, highly recommend it. Nowhere else on television will you find such a fantastic blend of different genres nor wonderfully crafted scripts with an extensive cast of likable characters. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

(Screencaps from ChuckTV.net)

1 comment:

kaline68 said...

The first time i remember seeing Adam Baldwin was in the 1987 war movie "Full Metal Jacket" where he was featured prominently in the 2nd half of that film. He's never been an "A" list actor but usually delivers commendable performances in a wide array of movie roles.