Breaking Bad is one of (if not the best) TV shows ever made, Mad Men is a critical darling, Game of Thrones is epic in scope and Walking Dead is the biggest thing on TV. I watch all of these shows and enjoyed them all to different degrees but one of my favorite shoes of the last decade has been Chuck and now everyone can see what they missed as it is streaming on Netflix.
Chuck was that little scrappy show that was just an enjoyable hour each week. It was never a hit show and struggled to stay on the air but thanks to NBC bottoming out, a great fan driven “save our show campaign” and critical support Chuck got to tell its story over 5 years. Maybe worrying about the show each year made me love the show more but I can safely say that spending an hour with these characters each week was one of the highlights of my TV viewing week.
The show also passed my DVR test that states that the longer the show stays on my DVR the less I enjoyed watching it. With Chuck, I watched every episode with my wife (also a huge fan) within 24 hours of it taping and this was a period of time where we had 2 small children. Why did I love the show so much? It was for many different reasons:
- I loved the characters and the actors. Chuck, the nice guy turned spy, was played wonderfully by Zachery Levi. He was funny, good looking (my wife STILL has a huge infatuation with him), charming and had such personality that you would want to grab a beer with him in real life. The beautiful Yvonne Strahovski played spy Sarah as an ass kicking hero that could also be very vulnerable. Her and Levi had such great chemistry together that you believed you were watching two people falling in love each week. If I had a hall of fame of TV romances, Chuck and Sarah would be in the first year. Adam Baldwin, with his character of Casey, perfected his gruff persona to a T, sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) were also a great pair and gave Chuck a great family for support. Even the Buy More Crew, who could grate on the nerves if used too much, could also make a good episode great when used the right way.
- The story of Chuck, where a normal man turns into a superspy when a computer program is inserted into his brain, merged genres brilliantly. Chuck was a spy show, a workplace comedy, a romantic comedy, a drama and a sci-fi show all rolled into one. An episode could spoof James Bond one week and then do a Christmas themed Die Hard episode the next. I never knew where the show would go next and I loved it for that.
- The guest stars on the show were great! How can you not love a show that had stars such as Scott Bakula, Timothy Dalton, Linda Hamilton, John Larroquette, Matthew Bomer, Rachel Bilson, Tony Hale, Gary Cole, and Christopher Lloyd?
- It was made for geeks by geeks. Chuck was great at balancing the comedy and action and much like co-creator Josh Schwartz’s first hit The OC, this show had characters who were giant nerds like the audience. The song Tom Sawyer and Missle Command saved the world, one of the biggest villains was a Steve Jobs type character, video games were always being played and the casting of stars showed that they loved big blockbuster films and cult TV shows just like the rest of us. We would get ex-James Bond’s playing kooky, Terminator 2 and Matrix stars doing what they are doing and even Officer Powell from Die Hard shows up for a cameo. If you find a season finale action scene scored to a horrible cover of Mr. Roboto hilarious then you would love this show.
- Like I said before, the show was always on the verge of being cancelled and the creators wanted closure for the fans so in the span of the show we got at least 4 episodes that were wonderful endings to the story. The show was sure to be cancelled at the end of season 2, in the middle of season 3, at the end of season 3 and at the end of season 4. Since they thought the show might be ending they would throw everything into these episodes instead of dragging them out until it gets old. Villains were vanquished, love was fulfilled, characters changed and you could never tell when this would happen. Again, I didn’t know what might happen in an episode and I loved it for that.
- With all of the training they had writing for supposed finales they totally went a different way with their true finale. The other times they wrapped everything up they went super happy but the end was very melancholy. Although I will not ruin it here they throw a curveball near the end of the show and I thought it might go like Quantum Leap and end very depressing. I should have known better because although it is melancholy the end was also beautiful and might have had me tear up a bit. The finale is open ended and that might drive some people crazy but for me it was the way to go.
Chuck is nothing but a fun show that makes you fall for each and every character. It is not seen as a pivotal show from “the golden age” but it is a great way to spend 91 hours. Do yourself a favor and cue it up on Neflix, get a big bowl of your favorite treats and spend a day with a crazy spy and his group of friends.