Perhaps the most notable thing about the TV series “Chuck”was its longevity—because it wasn’t expected to have any. In perpetual danger of cancellation due to low ratings through its existence, “Chuck” commanded one of the most loyal fan bases in TV history that convinced NBC execs to keep it going year after year.
Reaching the end of its lifespan in its fifth season, the show went out in fine style with the mix of spy action, comic antics and genre references likely to be caught by its fervent geek following.
In truth, I never watched “Chuck” prior to viewing this season on DVD, but it’s not too hard to pick up what’s going on. In short, title character Chuck was a computer nerd who had the Internet downloaded into his head when he received an e-mail from a friend working for the CIA. Using this ability, known as “The Intersect,” Chuck gained abilities not unlike those of Bradley Cooper in the film Limitless or the Robert Downey, Jr. version of Sherlock Holmes—not only did he know everything, but he could use his superbrain to defeat enemies in battle, because he could figure out how the fight would go before it even happened.
Over the course of the series, Chuck lost the Intersect, fell in love with his CIA handler, Sarah (Yvonne Stahovski), set up his own spy agency and got into a ton of wacky adventures.
In the final season, Chuck is trying to settle down with his now-wife Sarah, but the Intersect pops into their world again, and off we go. The final episodes are noteworthy for their emotional substance on the part of the writers and actors as the series comes to a satisfying, heartfelt close.
Production values were a nice throwback to the spy shows that dominated TV in the 1960s and 70s (think “I SPY”, “The Man From Uncle” and “Mission: Impossible”)—mostly sets that look like TV sets, and locations that look like California rather than the globe-trotting locales they’re supposed to be. The episodes are nicely mastered on these easy-to-navigate discs, and the bonus features are worth watching. And the cast, which also features TV veteran Adam Baldwin as crankily conservative muscleman John Casey, is likeable and natural. Add in a guest star cast that any geek could love (Mark Hamill! Trinity from the Matrix!) and you have one colossally fun show.
“Chuck” was an underdog on TV, but thankfully its five seasons are still with us to enjoy. Think I’ll check out seasons 1–4!Buy Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season on Amazon