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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The New TV Season: Chuck

Mondays, 8:00pm (CBS) starring Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strzechowski, Joshua Gomez and Adam Baldwin
Chuck is, at its root, a genre mashup -- a geekified comedy AND espionage thriller, taking its cues from both The 40 Year Old Virgin and Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond. Now. Read that description back one more time and realize what it means; by all rights, this show should be a complete mess, mired in mixed-up conventions, theatrics and gadgets. But somehow, it survives its odd-duck inspirations by smothering the entire endeavor in quirky charm and gentility. It also has a winning leading man in Zachary Levi (The Division), who deftly hits the sweet spot of Chuck's awkward-but-adorable dichotomy. Thanks to Levi, you're pulling for Chuck to win the girl, solve the case, and get out of his dead-end job. And before you know it, you're pulling for the show to succeed, too.

There are some hurdles in your way, however. Let's start with the wildly implausible premise -- a computer repairman becomes enmeshed in a global conspiracy via an email from his college roomate, which downloads thousands of government secrets into his brain, and THEN has to work with a smokin-hot female spy (Yvonne Strzechowski) and with the CIA and NSA. Not exactly poetry, that. There's also some truly irritating comic relief in the form of Morgan (Joshua Gomez), Chuck's perpetually clueless and constantly horny nerd buddy. But even when bits and pieces don't quite come together, you can still see the potential this series has. Under the dialogue and the genre shtick, there's a glowing effervescence. And when the show works -- and whenever Levi's onscreen, it does -- it's easy to forgive its sputtering style and flights of fancy. Chuck may not be great television, but it's eminently watchable...and given time to find its footing, it could be remarkable.



Blogger vance said...

Plus, Adam Baldwin rocks the role of the other government agent. A role that could have easily been one note/annoying/dumb.

Also, Captain Awesome is Awesome! They really need to keep that guy in the show some more.

9/25/07, 10:11 AM  

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