Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up and be a secret agent overnight? As the titular lead of the television show Chuck, Chuck Bartowski would probably say it’s not so nice, but he’s had his fair share of adventure and lady love.
For those who need a download of information on the series, brace yourselves. Chuck works for the Nerd Herd department of a Burbank Buy More store, an ode to Best Buy’s Geek Squad (which, by the way, does have a Burbank location). Chuck had a simple life until he opens an email sent from his former college roommate and the whole of the United States’ secret information gets downloaded directly into his brain. More after the jump.
Chuck doesn’t have immediate control of the information. It presents itself on a need to know basis; Chuck sees a person, place or thing that triggers him and he sees flashes of what he’d need to know. Chuck becomes a priceless asset for the government because the original computer, The Intersect, has been destroyed. The government assigns two agents, one from the NSA and one from the CIA, to protect Chuck from the nefarious forces of the world. The NSA agent, the imposing Casey, assumes a job at the Buy More. The CIA agent, the beautiful Sarah, assumes the position of Chuck’s girlfriend. Chuck has to balance his day job and spy job as well as his sister and a growing emotional connection to his keeper… Sarah… the pretty blonde one.
Things don’t start off easy for Chuck in Season Two. It starts with the government working up a new intersect computer, thereby eliminating the need for Chuck to continue breathing. Before the season is out, Chuck takes on Missile Command (my fiancée asked me if that was a “made up” game), a Black Widow, a rock star, suburbia, a high school reunion, his ex-girlfriend, his father and the third dimension. We’re even treated to a glimpse of Sarah’s past, a taste of her real Australian accent and multiple showers. From a character arc standpoint, we learn exactly why Bryce chose Chuck’s noggin for the Intersect.
The show has a great premise, but its success should be attributed to the chemistry between all of the characters. There is a repetition of elements (Chuck flashes, disobeys orders and either saves the day or has his own bacon saved), but it is the growth and interaction of the cast that secures this series as must see television. Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) embodies the everyman Chuck to perfection. Chuck’s personal dichotomy is that he’s the hero in the Buy More and usually the damsel when it comes to field work. Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Day Break) channels many badasses from his past to give Casey the appropriate grit and intimidation factor, but it’s his dry humor that really sets him apart. Yvonne Strahovski brings beauty and strength to the role of Sarah. Sarah’s interactions with Chuck are the key to her performance. Bonita Friedericy heads up the military operations as General Diane Beckman. The dynamic between Chuck and his sister Elle (Sarah Lancaster — What About Brian, Dr. Vegas) is believable. And let’s not forget Captain Awesome/Dr. Devin Woodcomb. Ryan McPartlin (Living with Fran) is the dash of salt that brings the recipe home. I’d ask for a Captain Awesome spin-off, but that’s just a pipe dream. Rounding out the cast is the Buy More staff. Joshua Gomez (Invasion, Without A Trace) is Chuck’s ever-ready sidekick Morgan. Julia Ling (ER, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) is Morgan’s girlfriend Anna and her fight with Michael Strahan is not to be missed. Mark Christopher Lawrence is a nice bit of comedy as Chuck’s daytime nemesis Big Mike. Scott Krinsky (The O.C.) and Vik Sahay (This is Wonderland, Our Hero) bring the appropriate quirk to comedic foils Jeff and Lester.
Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Andy Barker P.I.) recurs as a Buy More hardass Emmett Milbarge. Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) plays Chuck’s ex-girlfriend Jill Roberts from Stanford with the questionable past. Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Enterprise) guests as Chuck and Elle’s father Steve Bartowski. Chevy Chase (Community) plays industrialist meanie Ted Roark. Matthew Bomer (White Collar, Traveller) plays suave superspy Bryce Larkin. Other familiar faces that stop by include: Michael Clarke Duncan, Melinda Clarke, John Larroquette, Nicole Richie, Ben Savage, Morgan Fairchild, Bruce Boxleitner, Gary Cole, Michael Rooker, Reginald VelJohnson, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Richter, Jenny McCarthy, Arnold Vosloo and Tricia Helfer.
All 22 episodes from Season Two come packages on four Blu-Ray discs. For those who don’t keep a spare set of 3-D glasses on hand for the 3-D episode, not to worry, the package also comes with a couple pairs.
Audio available in English and Castilian Spanish. Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, French, Castilian Spanish and Dutch.
Overall, Declassified Scenes come with play all functionality.
Disc One —
On Startup: Warner Bros Blu-Ray. Episodes start immediately after.
Declassified Scenes: 3 from Chuck Versus The First Date, 2 from Chuck Versus the Seduction, 2 from Chuck Versus the Break-Up, 1 from Chuck Versus the Cougars, 1 from Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer and 2 from Chuck Versus the Ex.
Disc Two —
Declassified Scenes: 2 from Chuck Versus the Fat Lady, 3 from Chuck Versus the Gravitron, 1 from Chuck Versus the DeLorean, 3 from Chuck Versus Santa Claus and 3 from Chuck Versus the Third Dimension.
Disc Three —
Declassified Scenes: 3 from Chuck Versus the Best Friend, 1 from Chuck Versus the Predator.
Disc Four —
Declassified Scenes: 5 from Chuck Versus the Dream Job, 3 from Chuck Versus the First Kill, 2 from Chuck Versus the Colonel, 3 from Chuck Versus The Ring.
Chuck Versus the Third Dimension — now in 3-D.
Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome Tip for Being Awesome — First Dates, Job Interviews, Running into An Ex, High School Reunion — A series of “The More You Know”-esque tips provided by Captain Awesome.
Truth, Spies and Regular Guys: Exploring the Mythology of Chuck — two parts — The Secret Agents and The Agents’ Secrets — explore the characters and organization in the world of Chuck.
John Casey Presents: So You Want to be a Deadly Spy? — John Casey provides “advice” for those interested in a career as a spy. This is longer than the Captain Awesome tips.
Dude in Distress — a featurette that looks at Chuck from a stunt point of view, spotlighting the Nicole Richie fight and the season finale.
Chuck Versus the Chuckles — Gag Reel
Chuck Versus the Webisodes — five Buy More related shorts — Customer Service, Work Ethic, Employee Health, Leadership and Youth Marketing —with Play All functionality.
Chuck is a fun weekly romp, but it’s the character interplay that keeps this show going. Another nice thing about the show: the constant pop culture references everything from The Godfather to Spies Like Us to The Warriors, numerous to the trained eye/ear. There’s something here for anyone who appreciates both humor and action.
FINAL GRADE: A+