Monday, January 11, 2010

Chuck vs the season premiere

    NBC's Chuck is the little show that could.  Numerous times now it has been near death, only to rise again triumphantly.  The end looked so likely early in season two that producers ramped up the juice, squeezing what was planned for several seasons into several action-packed arcs.  It shook up the show in new and awesome ways, and was rewarded with a third season this year, and six additional episodes have already been picked up on the top of the original order of thirteen.  In fact, last night's two hour premiere scored the highest ratings Chuck had seen in some time.  That, combined with an NBC primetime schedule that is about get a lot thinner because of the departure of The Jay Leno Show, suddenly has this nerd looking a lot cooler.  Chuck will air again tonight in it's normal time slot.


     When last we saw Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, Less Than Perfect), the computer in his head had just been upgraded in such a way that gave him skills as well as knowledge, a curse as well as a blessing, as Chuck does not seem to have control of when the skills manifest.  As season three opens, six months have passed, and Chuck's world has changed dramatically.  Apparently, our hero gave up the girl of his dreams, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), and his tech wizard job to chase the dream of being a real, professional spy, then washed out pathetically.  Returning to his sister Ellie's (Sarah Lancaster, What About Brian?) couch, he checks in at his old job at the Buy More, only to be disgraced further.  Even Casey (Adam Baldwin, Firefly) begins to feel sorry for him.

     True, Chuck had his jobs back by the end of the first hour, but it was nothing less than thrilling.  Chief among the surprises, I am still rocked by the apparent surprise murder of Emmett (Tony Hale, Arrested Development).  Of course, that facilitated the return of several key characters to the Buy more.  Also, the second hour featured the return of Sarah's friend Carina (Mini Anden, My Boys) and a great plot for Morgan, who remembered her fondly from her first visit.

     Of course, it wasn't all shocking.  To restore status quo, and the only weak part of the episode, Chuck's best friend, Morgan (Joshua Gomez, Without a Trace) was fired from his job in Hawaii and returned, unfortunately without his girlfriend, Anna Wu (Julia Ling, who was sadly dropped from the cast this season).  That won't hold the show down, though, as there are plenty of great plots coming up.  For starters, Chuck's brother-in-law, Captain Awesome, (Ryan McPartlin) is now in on the secret that Chuck is a spy.  Chuck will slowly be getting more powerful, and his relationship with Sarah has never been more confusing.  General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) knows more than she's saying.  And there are a bevy of big guest stars, including Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Kristin Kreuk (Smallville), and the return of Chuck's dad, played by Scott Bakula (Men of a Certain Age, Star Trek: Enterprise, Quantum Leap).  This is certainly must-see-TV.

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