If you know me at all or even if we’ve just met, chances are you’ve heard me talk about one of my favorite TV shows: Chuck. I recently got 3 separate friends and my parents to watch this show on Netflix, and each of them became obsessed almost immediately. It’s got something for everybody: action, comedy, spy-drama, adventure, romance and enough incredible guest stars for everyone in the family to keep coming back for more. And I think this is one of the only shows that put a smile on my face with every single episode.
Like Friday Night Lights, I started watching this show about a year after it was off the air. The pilot episode aired on NBC in the fall of 2007 with the finale airing in January of 2012 for a total of 5 seasons and 91 hour-long episodes. One of my favorite things about this show is how the fans literally saved the show season after season and the cast/crew continue to love their fans for it. If you haven’t heard about how the fans rallied together to buy subway sandwiches to save the show, then you’re missing out on one of the greatest fan campaigns ever. Clearly, this was a beloved show. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch an adorably nerdy underdog save the day each week? I know I sure do!
This show is special for many reasons. It revolves around Chuck Bartowski, an average 20 something computer-nerd who lacks ambition but oozes charm with his unending love for family and friends. He works at the Nerd Herd in the Burbank Buy More (think Geek Squad in a Best Buy) with his best friend Morgan (equally charming and lacking ambition) and a quirky cast of co-workers that serve as the comedy for the show. He lives with his incredibly endearing big sister Ellie and her boyfriend Devon, affectionately known as “Captain Awesome”. Through an email from his old college roommate (now working for the CIA) Chuck unwittingly downloads the only remaining copy of the Intersect into his brain. What’s the Intersect you ask? Oh, just encoded images of all the government’s secrets from the CIA and NSA…no biggie! Cue the sexy-kick-butt-blonde-warrior-ninja CIA agent Sarah Walker, and crazy-intimidating-Ronald-Reagan-loving NSA agent John Casey. They are sent to protect Chuck as he is recruited by the government to help identify and stop assassins and terrorist attacks. To protect his family and friends, Chuck stays a Nerd Herder at the Buy More while hiding his job as the newest government recruit, causing Sarah to pose as his girlfriend and Casey as a Buy More employee. As you can imagine there is never a dull moment as this goofy but well-meaning underachiever is now thrown into the spy-world that completely contrasts his normal life.
Why it worked:
One of the things this show does best is integrate various genres into every episode. There is always a dangerous threat that calls for the team to save the action-packed day. There is always heart-warming scenes with Chuck and his sister or Chuck and his best friend Morgan. There is always romantic chemistry between Chuck and Sarah. There is always something over-the top corny (but we still love it) happening at the Buy More involving those loveable Buy Morons. And you can always expect a classic grunt from the gun-loving, ex-Marine John Casey. But what I love most about this show is the beautiful growth of all the characters over the course of 5 seasons but also how at the same time, they remained true to the original characters we all fell in love with in the pilot.
Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi)
Incase you weren’t aware by now this is the lead character on the show, and rightfully so! He is the most lovable nerd-next-door and the friend everyone should have in their life. He is the moral compass needed on television with his willingness to always put his family and friends first, even if it means sacrificing his life. The combo of nerdy references, wit, kindness and heart create the perfect formula for this genuine charismatic character.
Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski)
This girl’s journey of self-discovery may be one of my favorites I’ve ever seen on television. What you first meet is a cold, unemotional, expertly trained con-artist meets spy who has known nothing of a normal life outside of the spy world. What you discover over 5 seasons is a lovable, friendly, caring person who can still kill you with practically any object. The love between Sarah and Chuck is so true and precious, and the way she opens her once closed heart is touching.
Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez)
This is the best friend EVERYONE needs. If I had a nickel for every time he selflessly took the fall for Chuck or defended a friend or tried to help someone without any hesitation, I would have a lot of money…but no amount of money can buy you a friend like Morgan. He is unorthodox, small, loyal and full of random knowledge. This friendship is one of my favorite things about this show.
Ellie Bartowski Woodcomb (Sarah Lancaster) and Devon “Captain Awesome” Woodcomb (Ryan McPartlin)
I LOVE these 2 characters. They are the perfect amount of endearing, amusing and encouragement. They are both the cheerleaders for every character on the show, no matter the milestone. Ellie is the dearest and best big sister you’ve always wanted and Awesome is the ridiculously good-looking and humorous brother-in-law you immediately love having in your family. They are a little under-rated in my opinion and I can tell ya right now, the show would be nowhere near as awesome (see what I did there 😉 without them!
Why YOU should watch it:
You should watch this show simply because it will make your heart happy. It is something the whole family will love. You will laugh with the clowns at the Buy More, hold your breath as Chuck gets into an impossibly dangerous situation, cheer when Sarah and Casey save the day, and choke up when Chuck and Ellie have their classic big sis-little bro talks in the courtyard. Oh and also, about every other episode there is almost always an unbelievable guest star. Where can you find a former Quantum physicist from a Leap into the future, a James Bond with a Liscence to Kill, the sole target of The Terminator, and a Superman?!