Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: The Pilot aka “Chuck versus the Intersect”

Score: A-

Fast-paced and absorbing, the pilot episode takes us into the action right off the bat by contrasting video game playing ubergeek Chuck with super-spy hottie Bryce Larkin in action. As Chuck alienates girls at his birthday party with talk of his computer-game inflicted injuries and his long-lost love, Jill, Bryce Larkin breaks into the Intersect computer with some seriously Buffy-esque moves and emails all the United States Government’s intelligence to Chuck.

Which then get downloaded into his brain. And if you can accept that right off the bat, you’ll be fine.

The good
The pilot sets the scene and manages the right balance between exposition and action. The contrast between Chuck at the birthday party and Larkin in the Intersect are television gold and the scenes between a clueless Chuck and a rather mercenary Sarah are very well done. The characterisation of Chuck, Sarah, Ellie and Awesome is good, something you don’t usually see in pilots, and the obvious attraction between Sarah and Chuck is already palpable. Most importantly, Zachary Levi perfectly portrays Chuck’s confusion and fear about how his life has been turned upside down, while still giving us the surprisingly-brave Chuck we’ve come to know and love.
Oh, and saving the day with porn? Bloody classic.

The bad
Gratuitous underwear shots and a ridiculous volume of beautiful people remind us that the last show these people created was the OC. There’s a slight overtone of slapstick that jars and the nightclub scene, while undoubtedly popular with 14-year-old boys, was somewhat annoying and contrived. (Actually, make that very annoying). Casey and Morgan are underdeveloped and Casey in particular is far more of a serious badass than in subsequent episodes. The overall plot is somewhat clichéd, as is the “Seth Cohen meets Doctor “JD” Dorian” lead and the scantily-clad ass kicker. And as enjoyable as it all is, you just can’t shake the feeling you’ve seen this all before.

The Chuckalicious
Fun, fun, fun. It’s just so much fun.

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