Friday, August 22, 2008

Alphabeticals: C is for Chuck

I'm a week late on this one. Apologies.

So last fall Josh Schwartz (creator of The OC) entered the TV season with 2 new shows, about as different from each other as possible, but both firmly routed in The OC. The first of these shows was Gossip Girl, the second and the subject of this week's Alphabeticals, was Chuck.

Chuck is the story of a guy named Chuck (big surprises there) whose future was veered off course while at Stamford when his best friend and roommate, Bryce Larkin, framed him for cheating and got him kicked out of school. He also stole his girlfriend. Since then he's been living with his older sister, Ellie, and her boyfriend, Captain Awesome (ne Devon). He heads up the Nerd Herd (a fictional Geek Squad) at the Buy More (a fictional Best Buy) and hangs out with his friend Morgan.

Then, without any warning, he gets an e-mail from Bryce Larkin (who grew up to be a CIA agent, and turned rogue at that), an e-mail that contains a computer program called The Intersect, a series of rapid-fire images that contain massive amounts of confidential intelligence and that lodge themselves in Chuck's brain, effectively turning him into a powerful computer and a resource for the CIA and the NSA.

Of course this means that any number of people would be glad to see Chuck dead, since all he needs to do to find out whether or not they're dangerous is look at them. He's put into the hands of Sarah Walker, a CIA agent, and John Casey, an NSA agent. Sarah is his fake girlfriend, an excuse for her to hang around, and Casey moves in next door and gets a job at the Buy More with Chuck.

Meanwhile, the government is trying to figure out how to get the computer out of Chuck's brain.

It's a fun show. It's easy to see that Chuck is who Seth Cohen might have grown up to be, that is if Ryan had gotten him kicked out of school and stolen Summer away from him.

The cast is wonderful, especially Zachary Levi as Chuck. Sarah Lancaster (who you may recognize from lots of things, like Everwood or Scrubs or What About Brian) plays Ellie, whose desire to see her brother happy makes her a completely lovable character, and there is little that is not awesome about Captain Awesome. The writing is hilarious, as are the secondary characters (like the other members of the Nerd Herd, who spend their days playing Name-That-TV-Show on the Buy More TV sets).

The highlight of the show, though, is probably Chuck's less-than-subtle crush on Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), which is made all the worse by their pretend relationship, a farce that they have to keep up for the sake of Ellie and Chuck's best friend, Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

The show did not come back after the Writer's Strike last winter, choosing to hold out until the beginning of the fall season for new episodes, and if the previews currently airing on NBC are to be believed, this season is going to be even better (especially with Tony Hale guest starring this season).

Season 2 starts September 29th.

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