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Review: Chuck

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:27 pm

Ah, out with the old, in with the new. The television season is dead, long live the next television season. And to prepare for it, I’m going to review new shows as the pilots become available.

Chuck; NBC, Monday, 8:00 PM

This show has it all. Spies. Beautiful women. Nerds.


Sarah Lancaster and Zachary Levi

Ok, let’s start at the beginning. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, Less Than Perfect) leads a pretty normal life for a member of the “Nerd Herd” at the “Buy More” store (think CircuitCity’s Best Buy’s Geek Patrol). His sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster, Everwood, Dr. Vegas, What About Brian, and a d*mned good reason to watch any series although I prefer her as a blond) throws him a birthday party from which he wants nothing more than escape with his friend and fellow geek Morgan (Joshua Gomez, Without a Trace). Meanwhile, his old roommate Bryce who he thinks is an accountant but who is really a rogue CIA agent, is breaking into a top-secret headquarters and breaking into a massive computer database (front-ended by a Macintosh SE, no less) to steal secrets from the CIA, NSA, and lord-only-knows who else.

Bryce is stopped by John (Adam Baldwin, Firefly, Day Break), but with his dying breath Bryce sends an email to Chuck with a riddle from Zork (if you don’t know what that text adventure game is, check Wikipedia)…when Chuck solves it, a massive flood of information flows out of his monitor into his brain itself, filling it with information he isn’t aware he has.

Next day at work, he meets Sarah (Yvonne Strzechowski, Gone), a beautiful woman who seems to fall for him and finally gets him to ask her out, but a woman who holds secrets of her own…Sarah is really CIA, and sent to find out what he knows - problem is, John is also on his trail.

While the two fight over the secrets inside Chuck’s brain, Chuck puts together a terrorist plot from the information he gleaned from the email, and the race is on to save a NATO general while saving his own hide as well.

“Saving the world at $11.00 an hour” is the tagline for this series, but I have the feeling it’s going to cost a whole lot more than that, especially if Chuck gets the job as Assistant Manager. While some of the comedy elements seem a little strained in the pilot, the action sequences are top-notch (man, wouldn’t want to be the stunt team who handles Bryce in the mad escape - yeah, it takes a team of ‘em along with some computer graphics for the final jump). The premise suffers from the typical cluelessness when it comes to technology (they even got the computer viruses wrong), and it took me a while to stop laughing about the Mac SE as the front-end for the most powerful computer in the government, but those are small quibbles…the show kept me watching if not on the edge of my chair, and makes me curious to learn what else lies in store for Chuck.

I admit, though, I am curious how the series will handle the inevitable problem should it be successful…after all, the influx of secrets from this one email will eventually get stale, so Chuck will need a reload…

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