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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $25.49
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 556 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Chuck On Chuck: Stars Zachary Levi & Joshua Gomez in some Point / Counterpoint with Series Creators Josh Schwartz & Chris Fedak
Chuck’s World: Character Development and Original Casting Sessions
Chuck vs. the Chuckles gag reel
Chuck’s Online World: Gallery of Web-Originated Mini-Featurettes

Declassified Scenes


The Pitch

It’s Jake 2.0…er…2.0.

The Humans

Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Adam Baldwin.



“Jesus, Adam, enough!  You’ve made your point to this Fox TV executive…!”



The Nutshell

When geeky electronics store employee Chuck Bartowski (Levi) opens an e-mail from a former friend, he gets the entire NSA / CIA database dowloaded into his head, which he can only access when he sees an image that triggers his subconscious.  He’s then recruited for secret missions by the government while also trying to maintain his normal life as a Nerd Herd (i.e. Geek Squad) technician.  Watching over him are the smoking hot Sarah (Strahovski), a CIA agent masquerading as his girlfriend and a fast food employee, and Casey (Baldwin), the trigger-happy NSA wetwork man who looks for any reason to plug somebody in the interest of national security.  Chuck has to balance both worlds and, along the way, finds out more about why his former friend, Bryce (Bomer), the man who got him kicked out of Stanford five years prior, chose him in which to hide the country’s biggest secrets



“Don’t worry, Sarah, I’ll have you free in a sec…but uh, how about a quickie cheap feel first…?”



The Lowdown

Chuck is an extremely fun show that mixes the action of Alias with the humor of Scrubs in a 40-Year-Old-Virgin setting.  It’s carried on the very capable shoulders of Zachary Levi, who embodies Chuck as the most likable and yet most unlikely government agent imaginable.  Levi’s charm as the titular character really clicks as Chuck is a neurotic but good-intentioned character who’s had trouble dealing with the downturns that life has tossed him, not the least of which is ending up working for Nerd Herd.  What he doesn’t know however was that his former friend, Bryce, was a CIA agent who orchestrated several of those downturns in order to protect Chuck because the CIA was interested in recruiting him for his ability to recall large amounts of data, which Bryce knew would spell the death of his friend.  Nevertheless, Chuck still ends up becoming a human Intersect, a walking database of government secrets.



And still, not a goddamned thing on….



Levi is also surrounded by a good cast, most notably Adam Baldwin, in yet another kickass toughguy role, very reminiscent of Firefly’s / Serenity’s Jayne.  Like other fanboys, I’ve been a big fan of Baldwin’s for years.  He’s in the echelon of John C. McGinley for quirky characters that are fun to watch and he’s no less so in the role of Casey.  Yvonne Strahovski is also good as Sarah.  She can handle the physical elements such as knife fights and gunplay, as well as embody the vulnerability of Sarah as she finds herself falling for Chuck.  Plus, she’s the hottest Wienerschnitzel chick I’ve ever seen.  However, the character who frequently steals the show is Joshua Gomez as Chuck’s best friend, Morgan.  Morgan is the ultimate loser geek whose ineptness with women is matched only by his loyalty to Chuck.  Sarah Lancaster is also fine as Chuck’s over-protective sister, Ellie.



“Wow, my first mission, this is exciting!  So, uh, what do I do, Sarah?”
“You’re going to sleep with the terrorist and pump him for information while I steal the secret plans out of the safe.”
“Um…isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?”
“The terrorist is being played by Steven Cojocaru.”
“Great…”



The bummer about this first season is that it was cut down to 16 episodes by last year’s Writers Strike.  But there are still plenty of good and varied episodes including “Chuck vs. the Tango,” where Chuck goes on his first real mission to locate El Ciudad, a terrorist, while also bucking for an assistant manager position at the Buy More.  “Chuck vs. the Sandworm” finds Chuck meeting an escaped CIA computer whiz who’s been locked in a think tank for most of his life.  Chuck can relate to him, up until the point that he realizes that the man is a homicidal lunatic.  “Chuck vs. the Alma Mater” has Chuck going back to Stanford, the scene of his ignominious expulsion, where he finds out that Bryce had a very good reason for framing him for cheating on a test: to prevent him from becoming embroiled in the life in which he currently finds himself.  And “Chuck vs. the Crown Vic” has our hero involved with a French spy, who is also a ghost out of Casey’s past. 



“Whoa!  That was…wow!”
“Yes, that was nice.  Too bad I have to kill you now.”
“Damn…couldn’t we just get married or something?”



I mentioned in the pitch line that the premise of Chuck is very much like that of Jake 2.0, an obscure former UPN show that went the way of most former UPN shows: Nielsen oblivion.  However, where that show failed, Chuck has found a formula of success that’s rightly deserved.  It’s a fun and entertaining show that has loads of possibilities.  I caught on to it last year and am eagerly looking forward to a full season of it coming up. 



Chuck’s most dastardly nemesis?  Microwavehead…



The Package

The show looks fine in widescreen, with available English and Portuguese Dolby, along with English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Thai (Thai?) subtitles.  There are several special features including Declassified (read: deleted) scenes that total around ten minutes, as well as several featurettes including Chuck’s World, which are six mini-featurettes on the casting of the show and audition sessions running between 2 and 3 minutes each.  Chuck on Chuck is a 27-minute give and take between stars Levi and Gomez, and show creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. Chuck vs. the Chuckles is a seven-minute gag reel; and Chuck’s Online World is a series of quickie featurettes originated on the web.  They include Meet Jeff (one minute), Morgan’s Vlog: Movie Villains (3 minutes), Anna’s Amazing talents: Karate Moves (25 seconds) and
Anna’s Amazing Talents: Sword Skills (35 seconds).


7.3 out of 10