There's been a lot of discussion about the fate of reluctant spy Chuck
Bartowski lately. Of the other shows that were picked up in that ill-fated 2007-08 season, only CBS's sitcom The Big Bang Theory
and the CW's soapy Gossip Girl
have survived. Ouch. Worse, most of those shows, like Pushing Daisies
, The Sarah Connor Chronicles
, and Life met the axe this year (though the jury's still out on Life, it doesn't look good.) With Jay Leno
taking over five hours of the NBC schedule a week (seriously, whose genius idea was that?), things aren't looking good for the once proud Peacock. Here are ten reasons why they should bring Chuck back for more:
1. Major John Casey
. Adam Baldwin excels at playing the tough guy with a heart of gold, and as NSA agent John Casey, his deadpan delivery continually cracks us up. Ronald Reagan
is his idol, and the man trims bonsai trees to relax - what's not to like? Despite the gruff exterior and constant threats of violence, we know that he has a soft spot for Chuck, and when he said that Sarah was the best partner he'd ever had, we couldn't help but say, "Aw, Casey."
2. It doesn't take itself too seriously
. Chuck is good old-fashioned fun, an enjoyable hour of television that doesn't weigh you down with constant death or doom. It's the sort of show you want to watch while eating ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. The spy stuff adds just enough action without dipping into Bourne territory, and the cast keeps quipping even when the bullets are flying. There's romance and intrigue, but through it all, the show reminds us that friends and family are what's most important. Oh, well, and saving the world's nice too.
3. The sibling dynamic
. Functional sibling relationships seem to be rarity on television, but Chuck and Ellie Bartowski have made it work. Abandoned by their parents at a young age, the Bartowskis relied on each other, and though Chuck has to lie to her on a regular basis, and Ellie has a tendency to nag, the brother and sister duo put each other above everything else. Their familial love stays sweet without being saccharine, and that honest devotion is a nice respite after dealing with your own family.
4. The Era of the Geek
. Though some might say the Dork Age is on its way out, Chuck shows that we all have a little geek inside. Where The Big Bang Theory is hilarious if you know your Cylons from your Terminators, the crew at the Buy More represent the computer slacker in all of us - and that's where the big bucks in advertising are. We geeks love our shiny electronics, and are just as likely to get excited over the new Call of Duty as green-shirt Morgan Grimes.
5. Important life lessons
. On what other show can you use a porn star-computer virus to disable a bomb? Or evacuate an entire store - bad guys included - with the word 'pineapple'? How about averting World War III with an old-school video game and a song by Rush? Paralleling Chuck's struggles in the spy world with Morgan's struggles at the Buy More shows that the two really aren't so different after all. You too can survive in the world of espionage with the knowledge gained from a trip to Comic-Con.
6. Captain Awesome
. According to one of the DVD featurettes, Season 1 was going to end with the revelation that the Captain was a Russian spy, but Ryan McPartlin became much beloved and turned what could have been a one-note joke into one of the coolest dudes around, so the writers said das vadanya to that plot. His almost child-like charm, well-intentioned mentorship of Chuck and Morgan, and obvious love for Ellie make Dr. Woodcomb, well, awesome.
7. The guest stars
. They may not be the huge names some other shows draw in, but it's always nice to see familiar faces that've been out of the limelight for awhile, and the Chuck writers have a knack for using those guest spots to lampoon the actors' previous roles. A wink to the audience, and it's all in good fun, plus they just keep coming - guess the fans aren't the only ones who want to play in Chuck's playground.
8. Charles Carmichael
. Who hasn't wondered what it would be like to live the life of a suave alter-ego? As Agent Charles Carmichael Chuck saves the day and gets to live his dream of being confident and successful. Though he always returns to the life of a Nerd Herder with a sigh of relief, sometimes we can tell he enjoys playing the part, and we do too.
9. The identity of Chuck's mother
. We've met his father, who turned out to be Orion, creator of the Intersect, but no clue yet about the mysterious Mrs. B who walked out on Chuck and Ellie when they were young. The show can't end until Maria Bello shows up and reveals that she's Fulcrum's best agent.
10. Chuck and Sarah.
It's vindicating to see the hot chick fall for the sweet and adorable everyman, rather than the action hero. There's conflict without angst, and chemistry up the wahzoo. Since Chuck's made his feelings for Sarah clear, and she's having a hard time hiding her emotions, the job's the only thing keeping these two kids apart - and probably not for much longer. Like many of the great romances of television, the tension is palpable and though there's a certain inevitability to the relationship, we can't wait to see how they get there. Not to worry if they do - there'll probably be plenty of obstacles still to overcome.
Watch Chuck, Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.
Story by Megan Christopher
Starpulse contributing writer