Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NBC's Chuck is a spy and why I'm not sure I like it

Not long ago I talked to executive producer, co-creator Chris Fedak about what we had to look forward to for NBC's Chuck third season. "It’s really fun to tell the Chuck stories, the writers and actors and producers, we love these characters. We love taking them to new directions and that is what season three has allowed to do. It’s also allowed us to essentially create a new show. With these new abilities we’re kind of launching a new show. It’s still very much the Chuck show with the same kind of sense of humor combined with action, but now with Chuck having these abilities it’s like the concept we’ve kind of twisted it up a bit."

After seeing the first 11 episodes, I have to admit I'm a little confused and disappointed (and it doesn't have anything at all to do with the Sarah/Chuck romance quadrangle). Mind you, I still love Chuck, Sarah, Casey and all the characters. I still love the fun spy plots, the 80s throwback's Fedak and his co-creator Josh Schwartz love to sneak in, or the fantastic dialogue. Mind you, I'd never actually stop watching Chuck, unless NBC decided to cancel it (in which case... bastards!).

No, my problem is with the season so far is the whole "Chuck's a spy" business.

"On the spy side of the show, for the past two seasons Casey and Sarah have been essentially in charge of protecting Chuck Bartowski, like a secret service team that goes on spy missions protecting the Intersect," said Fedak. "But now that this season since Chuck decided at the end of last year to upload the new Intersect into his head and then when he realized that he now has these abilities, these new spy skills, new hero skills, he’s decided he wants to be a spy. He’s decided to step up to the plate and to be hero. Of course that’s not going to be very easy and nobody learns that overnight. So now Sarah and Casey are not only protecting him they’re also training him in how to be a great spy. So it’s part protection and part mentors. The other thing, too, is that for Casey and Sarah that and especially Sarah is that for the past two years they’ve been protecting Chuck Bartowski from the world. Now they have to protect the world from Chuck Bartowski. They have this new unstable element."

Well, it's ended up being a little more than that. Suddenly, the Intersect info in his head rarely is important and all anyone cares about is Chuck being a spy. What's that about? When Chuck last wanted out of the spy game, they were going to kill him rather than let a valuable asset leave. Now, if he doesn't pass all the spy tests, he goes back to his old life?

What about the valuable asset that's still in his head that involves information and not just his kung fu skills? Suddenly that's all anyone thinks is important.

I guess the last episode where Chuck was supposed to kill someone "Chuck Versus the Final Exam," which overall I liked as an episode, pushed the "Chuck's a spy" button a little too far. Sure there's an advantage of Chuck being able to work on his own in the spy world, but in what universe would the spy people still not consider him of use just because he couldn't kill anyone? He still has the freaking Intersect in his head.

There's two more episodes in this mini-season, before the final six episodes air. According to Fedak episode 13 was original planned as the season finale, before NBC saw the light and gave Chuck an extra six episodes. He says episode 13, "Chuck Versus the Other Guy," is a "game changer" and that the final six episodes will we a sort of season 3.2.

That sounds cool. But I'm still waiting to see why just Chuck being the Intersect isn't enough for everyone anymore? It seems like Chuck's game has been changed significantly already.

1 comment:

  1. You might also enjoy this May 20, 2010 Mr. Media radio interview with ‘Chuck’ co-star Vik Sahay, who plays Buy More employee ‘Lester Patel’ on the popular NBC romantic comedy and spy show. He talks about the season finale, the future of the band “Jeffster,” Yvonne Strahovski, and the new movie he’s filming, Afghan Luke and the Burgundy of Hash, in which he plays a New York Times reporter covering the war in Afghanistan!