Fall Frenzy: Cable for One – Chuck Review

Chuck is your average, everyday geek. He works at Buy More as a supervisor of the Nerd Herd (thinly veiled Best Buy and Geek Squad); he hangs out with his friends; he pines over the failure of a long dead relationship. One day he gets an e-mail from an old friend which leads to his somehow having all the knowledge of the US government crammed into his brain. As one might expect, this leads to wacky misadventures.

For Fans of: Eureka, quirky shows

What Worked:

In contrast to The Big Bang Theory, Chuck makes good use of its geeky characters. There were actually jokes about geeks (some were jokes written for geeks, and others were jokes about geeks), instead of just having the characters point out how geeky they are.

The characters in Chuck are an enjoyable lot. Chuck’s a likable follow and I’m interested to see where they go with Sarah (given how the pilot ended, I’m guessing we’ll get lots more evidence she’s a shady character, but in the end, she’s one of the good guys. Not exactly the most unique plot in the world, but an effective one). And while I’m sure Captain Awesome could get old after all, for know he amuses me greatly (possibly because I knew someone an awful lot like Captain Awesome during my university days).

I’m glad that the show doesn’t look like it’s just going to be a series of “While seeming entirely incompetent (ala Agent 86 or Inspector Gadget) Chuck uses the information he’s learned to bumble his way to success in thwarting the villain of the week” episodes. I’m sure that will still play a fairly major part, but there are all kinds of questions to explore as well (why Bryce sent the e-mail to Chuck [it was obviously set up for Chuck in advance, given the password issue], what Sarah’s motivations are, etc).

What Didn’t Work:

I know it’s a comedy, and it’s not meant to be taken all that seriously, but I was kind of annoyed that the computers on Chuck do whatever the plot requires of them. For example, there’s no way to create a virus that will cause your computer to fry. Sure there are lots and lots that will crash your system, and some of them can cause all sorts of nasty problems, but physically frying your system? Not so much.

The method of encoding the information was unusual as well. While data can be hidden in images, it seems like an odd choice for a massive government database. Not to mention, how is Chuck able to interpret those images as data anyway? (though that question could be less of a flaw and more something that will be addressed in a later episode)

I’m also a bit concerned about the long-term viability of the show. The pilot makes it seem like a major part of the show will be Chuck using his newly acquired knowledge to stop bad things from happening. The thing is, unless they keep shoving new information into Chuck’s brain (which would be kind of lame), then his information is going to be out-of-date within a couple seasons. In the pilot, Chuck knew about the bomb because of some data entered into the system a week ago; chances are he’s not going to have detailed and accurate information on an event that’s not going to happen for several years. And without relevant information in his brain, Chuck’s just a regular guy again.

Closing Thoughts:

For the most part my complaints about Chuck are pretty minor; the only one that really concerns me is if the premise will still be viable two or three seasons from now. And since A) the writers could already have plans to address that problem at some point and B) there’s no guarantee that the show will run long enough for the premise to need adjusting, it’s not a pressing concern.

If the pilot is anything to go by, Chuck will be a quirky and amusing series. Definitely a show worth keeping your eye on.

Sir Linksalot: Chuck

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