Chuck arrived on our screens in 2007; giving us the world of one Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) - computer and technology 'Nerd Herder' who after receiving a high tech e-mail from his ex-Stanford roommate Bryce Larkin (Matthew Bomer) ended up with pretty much every American spy secret lodged inside his head just waiting to leak out. CIA Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski - Did I mention Dan placed her as sexiest woman on TV in his most recent list?) and NSA Agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are dispatched to retrieve this information and when they discover that it's lodged inside Chuck's brain pan they
Chuck now has to balance work at BuyMore, dealing with computer related issues alongside co-workers Anna (Julia Ling), Jeff (Scott Krinsky), Lester (Vik Sahay) and his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez). While concealing his new and exciting life in the world of SpyCraft from them and his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) who lives with Chuck and her boyfriend "Captain Awesome"/Devon (Ryan McPartlin).
Chuck is a fun and energetic show which mimics and parodies the spy genre well and reminds me a lot of 'that other spy show' Burn Notice. Now I shan't go into listing the common threads and differences between the two shows, but I shall say both of them provide an entertaining and light-hearted take on the world of spying while keeping a distinctive voice. I'd certainly put them on about the same level where entertainment value is concerned.
This first season spans for thirteen episodes and maintains a consistent level of quality, mixing comedy and drama with a lot of action to provide thrills and spills throughout. Zachary is very likable as Chuck, providing a bit of an everyman and managing to pass as a nerd thanks mostly to the haircut (without it he really wouldn't look that nerdy). Yvonne likewise is very watchable and not only looks good but portrays Sarah with depth and interest (even if her front teeth irritate me). But for myself personally it's Alec Baldwin's performance as Casey which sells the show, his acting here is best describes as 'with gusto'. He takes a great deal of relish and enjoyment in his scenes - but what else can you expect from the man they call Jayne? The rest of the cast are likewise immense fun and great on screen, Sarah Lancaster's haircut after the pilot does irritate me though, a lot.
Now I am a bit of a packaging enthusiast, mostly because I feel I've invested money in purchasing DVDs and as such I want them to look nice on the shelf and work well. The main difference between owning a legitimate copy and pirated ones (apart from various legal issues) is the packaging and appearance of the set. So naturally I get more than a little snarky when it seems like the creators of the DVD set aren't really trying (Fremantle Media's Homicide series for example).
Fortunately here the quality is obvious, I don't know if it's a new design or a one off for Chuck, but the package here is simply the best I've reviewed in seventy two sets. Hands down it's the best in my entire collection; appearance, design, functionality, it has the whole damn package all the way up and down the nine yards. If this packaging was a woman she would be so good looking you'd be too intimidated to talk with her in case she turned out to be a figment of your imagination - like sexy fight club.
In short the packaging is so full of win that it's actually worth writing three paragraphs about without even really trying to describe how good it is. There is one drawback - it took me over a minute to figure out how to open the darn thing. That might not be the fault of the packaging, it could just be myself being dense.
So if you're looking for a show which isn't afraid to provide tongue in cheek laughs, suspense, thrills and deliver it all with a heavy sense of irony Chuck's first season might be the spy you're looking for.
Chuck on Chuck - Series stars join creators for some point/counter point discussion
Chuck's World - Character development and original casting
Chuck vs. the Chuckles - Gag Reel
Chuck's Online World - Gallery of Web-Originated Mini-Featurettes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Run time: 8 Hours 51 mins
Soundtrack: 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, Dutch