Chuck: The Complete First Season Review
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Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was once just your average, everyday geek. He had a decent job working for the Nerd Herd at the Buy More, fixing cell phones and computers and other devices for panicked customers. He lived with his sister, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), and her boyfriend, Devon (Ryan McPartlin), a.k.a. Captain Awesome. And he spent his time hanging out with his even geekier best friend, Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

But then, one night, he got an email from his former best friend and college roommate, Bryce (Matthew Bomer). Bryce—who stole Chuck’s girlfriend before getting him kicked out of Stanford—had become a CIA agent. After going rogue, Bryce stole a bunch of important government secrets and—before he was killed—sent them to his old friend, Chuck, who then opened the email and ended up with classified government information stuck in his brain.

Now, Chuck is a walking computer. To protect him, the NSA sent Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin), who’s posing as a fellow Buy More employee. And the CIA sent Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski), Bryce’s former partner, who’s posing as Chuck’s hot girlfriend. Together, the three are quietly trying to keep the country safe—with the help of the computer in Chuck’s brain.

Thanks to the unmistakable influence of executive producer McG (who’s known for directing music videos, as well as movies like the Charlie’s Angels), Chuck feels a lot like a Hong Kong action movie. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. It’s often hilariously corny. And just about every episode features Sarah in some kind of martial arts fight scene. There are shootouts and car chases—and plenty of laughs. And, thanks to McG’s music video influence, it’s got a great soundtrack, too.

But the characters—especially the geeks—really make Chuck worth checking out. Though the action scenes are fun, the show’s best moments are the ones that take place at the Buy More, where the geeks exchange stories and challenge each other to games of Name That TV Show (or the stomach-turning Mystery Crisper). And Morgan, the socially-awkward (and slightly obsessive) best friend, is one of the best characters on the show—perhaps second only to Chuck himself.

Levi’s Chuck is a sweet, good-natured guy—one who finds himself thrown into a life that he definitely wasn’t prepared to live. His naivete often gets him into trouble, which is the focus of several mid-season episodes: Chuck trusts someone he shouldn’t and messes everything up, causing Sarah to have to kick-box her way out of it. For a while, things get a bit monotonous—and I almost considered giving up on the show. Fortunately, though, the writers eventually get back to work on some of the ongoing stories—like Chuck’s awkward fake relationship with Sarah, along with a new (real) love interest, Lou (Rachel Bilson)—and things get interesting again.

Though the first season of Chuck does get stuck in a mid-season rut, it’s still worth checking out—if only for the lovably geeky cast. Many of the season’s 13 episodes offer amusing and action-filled stories—all of which play out on top of a great soundtrack. If you enjoyed McG’s Charlie’s Angels movies, you’ll find that Chuck is quite similar. It may not be the smartest or most creative series on TV, but it’s still good for some geeky fun.

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