Exec produced by the combination of McG ("Charlie's Angels") and Josh Schwartz ("Gossip Girl"), "Chuck" is an entertaining geek fantasy starring Zachary Levi as Chuck, an ordinary guy who works in the Nerd Herd (think Geek Squad) at the local Best Buy-like electronics store by day and plays video games with pals at night. As the pilot opens, Chuck is in the midst of sneaking out of his own birthday party, then gets caught by his irritated sister, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), who wants him to socialize with the guests - almost all of whom are her friends she brought and chuck feels too awkward to talk to.
Meanwhile, an old friend of Chuck's now working as a rogue spy and, before he gets caught, he sends an email to his former friend Chuck. When Chuck sees the video in the email (which looks an awful lot like something out of "The Ring"), the entire NSA / CIA database is downloaded into his head, only able to be triggered by certain images.
However, while Chuck is freaking out at strange things that are starting to occur, he is confronted with a cute girl new to the neighborhood named Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) who wants a date. Sarah, however, isn't simply an average girl - she's a CIA agent who is aware that Chuck may have had contact with his old friend.
After getting into the middle of a dangerous situation, Chuck is faced with the facts: his mind has essentially been turned into a computer full of national security secrets, and it's up to easily angered NSA agent Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah to try and protect him - occasionally from himself. While Sarah and Chuck's relationship is all business at first, he certainly falls for the beautiful blonde quickly, and she starts to realize that she has feelings for him, too. All this is kept from Chuck's sister (Sarah Lancaster), his best friend (Joshua Grimes) and his sister's boyfriend, Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin).
I'd never gotten into the series during its first season run, but found it quite entertaining while watching it on this DVD set. Levi is terrific as Chuck, a likable underachiever who's easy to root for. He doesn't overplay the character - someone else could have easily made a nerd who finds himself in the midst of government spies too goofy in a comedy like this - and manages both laughs and good chemistry with Strahovski.
Strahovski is also marvelous in the role, able to be both convincingly soft in her scenes with Chuck and equally convincing playing an intense agent in the action sequences. Lancaster, Baldwin and Grimes also offer very good supporting performances. While the material is enjoyable, the fact that the show has an excellent ensemble cast helps matters further. With what appears to be a sizable budget, the series also manages some exciting and well-choreographed action sequences.
Overall, "Chuck" remains a fast-paced and highly entertaining series, with great performances and a solid mixture of action and comedy.
1. 1- 1 24 Sep 07 Pilot
2. 1- 2 1 Oct 07 Chuck Versus the Helicopter
3. 1- 3 8 Oct 07 Chuck Versus the Tango
4. 1- 4 15 Oct 07 Chuck Versus the Wookie
5. 1- 5 22 Oct 07 Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp
6. 1- 6 29 Oct 07 Chuck Versus the Sandworm
7. 1- 7 5 Nov 07 Chuck Versus the Alma Mater
8. 1- 8 12 Nov 07 Chuck Versus the Truth
9. 1- 9 19 Nov 07 Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami
10. 1-10 26 Nov 07 Chuck Versus the Nemesis
11. 1-11 3 Dec 07 Chuck Versus the Crown Vic
12. 1-12 24 Jan 08 Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover
13. 1-13 24 Jan 08 Chuck Versus the Marlin
VIDEO: "Chuck" is presented by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is excellent and remains a touch above broadcast quality throughout the show. Sharpness and definition were top-notch throughout the episodes, with fine details looking crisp and clear throughout most scenes. Although a few minor moments of artifacting were spotted, the presentation remained free of edge enhancement, shimmering or other faults. The show's vibrant color palette looked bright and well-saturated throughout the proceedings, too.
SOUND: "Chuck" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Given the show's action sequences, it's no surprise that the show's sound design is aggressive at times, with gunfire, explosions and other sound effects coming from the rear speakers at times. Audio quality is terrific, with bassy effects, crisp dialogue and clear, full-sounding score.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes ("Declassified Scenes"), "Chuck on Chuck" (Cast and creators discuss the series), "Chuck's World" (Character development & casting sessions), gag reel, mini featurettes. Also included is a demo of "Madden '09" for the XBOX 360.
Final Thoughts:Overall, "Chuck" remains a fast-paced and highly entertaining series, with great performances and a solid mixture of action and comedy. The DVD set does show off excellent video quality and very good audio quality, but I was a little surprised that the supplemental features are on the light side. Still, "Chuck" is a good deal of fun and gets a recommendation.