Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Chuck: The best show you’re not watching

Derivative. Cliched. Silly. All true. So how come I love Chuck so much? I guess it just speaks to my geek.

Season 1 of the wacky adventures of the geek-turned-secret-agent has been released in Australia and I can barely contain my inner geek girl. And yet the show shouldn’t work. From its ridiculous premise (electronics store employee gets entire CIA and NSA database downloaded into his brain), to its nerd-turned-superhero lead and its sexy, scantily-scad CIA agent, and crazed Ugly Betty-esque supporting cast, everything about the show is wrong and yet it somehow works. Maybe its appeal is in its gleeful use of cliché or its sheer silliness but I think the show’s secret is in its wonderfully-likeable, beautifully-cast set of main characters.

Zachary Levi is so appealing and attractive as main character Chuck Bartowski that he easily replaces former nerd-turned-hero sex symbol Dr Daniel Jackson. Sorry Danny boy, you’ve not just been replaced but trumped and gazumped.

Yvonne Strahovski somehow manages to walk around beating people up in a ridiculously sexualised outfit without alienating female fans: quite a feat when you consider that such a thing would usually make a lot of us switch off within 10 seconds. She plays CIA Agent Sarah Walker’s strength-masking-vulnerability so well that you genuinely feel for her character and her sexual tension with Zachary Levi is so palpable it saturates the set. Never before have two people smouldered so much on screen while still convincing us they’re not just in lust but falling in love.

No review of Chuck would be complete without mentioning the always-awesome Adam Baldwin who brings his true comedic gift to trigger-happy NSA agent John Casey, a character who somehow manages to dance on the edge of psychotic without tipping over the edge.

Together, the “team” battle Afghani drug lords, international arms dealers, Russian mobsters, Chinese Triad, rogue CIA agents and a four-foot-long Marlin while maintaining their cover as retail employees. It is, to quote from one of my favourite irregular characters, “awesome”.

Season 1 of the show was cut short by the writer’s strike and is consequently a completely-inadequate 13 episodes. Considering Fox only started to play Season 1 on Australian TV in April and Season 2 has not yet been released on DVD in the States it will be a long long time before new episodes are available for Australian viewers (at least by legal means). In the interim, we will have to be content with a Season 1 DVD and a lesson in Klingon (one day it could save your life; just ask Chuck).

NOTE: I would like to add an addendum to this post in the hope of starting a new expression. To be "Chucked" referring both to inexplicable love for the show and the strange capacity the main character has for making everybody love him. They've been Chucked and we've been too. See you after my Season 2 DVD release marathon.


Stacey said...

I've been Chucked. Scary but true.

Geek Girl said...

I've been Chucked.

Anonymous said...

"I'm so chucked I learnt the girl's part of the Tango."

LOL, I love how he didn't even skip a beat in that scene. He just said, "apparently I've been taught the woman's part of this dance. Would you mind leading?"

Anonymous said...

Zach is hot!

Anonymous said...

I'm not Chucked. I tried. But I couldn't go past the second episode. Just too Dukes of Hazard crossed with Get Smart for my liking.