Our Score: Chuck vs the Pink Slip – 8/10
Chuck vs the Three Words – 7.5/10
Chuck vs the Angel de la Muerte – 9/10
If CHUCK was on Fox, this weekend’s premiere would have been trumpeted as a 2 Night, 3hour event. Being NBC, I suppose we should be glad it was promoted at all. Actually NBC did a great job getting the word out that Chuck was coming back. The question is, will anyone care?
It’s been 8 months since we last saw Chuck, as he downloaded the Intersect 2.0 into his brain and suddenly became Neo… don’t remember? Here let me remind you…
So where has Chuck been, and what has he been up to since the big upgrade? Well that is what we are about to find out as the curtain rises on Season 3. This first episode has a lot to do, and a lot to do fast. It has to remind us of where things were left 8 months ago, and at the same time be completely accessible to new viewers. It has also has to move the story and the mythology of Chuck forward.
Now granted, Chuck is not Lost but it does have some important elements. It manages to be fun and accessible, while keeping story threads moving forward. It has been, for the most part a good hour for most anyone in the family… Some of the humor can go a bit crude, especially where Jeff, Lester and Morgan are involved, but it not so bad to make more sensitive viewers cringe, and the show courts male viewers pretty hard, (It took about 5 minutes into season 3 before we saw Sarah in a bikini, and don’t start me on the Carina/Sarah getting ready montage.)
Now, without spoiling the actual episodes for you, Sunday’s premiere episodes were a strong start. In fact, despite all the trumpeted budget cuts and deals made to help make the 3rd season happen, you could hardly tell. Well except for the loss of Julia Ling‘s Anna Wu (who was casually written out, I think unfairly with a throw away line about how she left Morgan for the prep cook in his Benihana training) and Tony Hale’s Buy More dictator, Emmett Millbarge makes a surprisingly dramatic and (uncharactistically) violent exit. While these losses are sad, they do not take away from the show. They do help reset the show’s original Season 1 status quo, with Big Mike, once again the Manager of the Buy More and Morgan, single, nerdy, and sleeping on Star Wars bed sheets.
The first episode, Chuck vs. the Pink Slip was a bit heavier on the Chuck/Sarah elements, explaining what had taken place over the intervening months. Chuck and Sarah’s relationship has also experienced a reset, which is bound to upset the ‘shippers. By the end of the Monday night’s episode, Chuck vs. the Angel de la Muerte, ‘shippers will close to tears, but I think this turn of events will actually lead to final results that they all really want (but not for at least 13 episodes.). This episode also really features everyone’s favorite Captain of Awesomeness, Devon Woodcomb.
The second episode Chuck vs. the Three Words was the most “Chuck like” of all three of this weekend’s Chucktacular, with the best combination of humor, action, and romance. It also featured the return of Mimi Andem’s DEA agent Carina. (Season 1’s Chuck vs. the Wookie) and featured Vinnie Jones (X-Men: Last Stand, Snatch) as the season’s first of many nerdtastic guest stars.
All in All I think the progression of Chuck from Nerd caught up in international espionage with a super computer downloaded into his brain to nerdy espionage agent with an even more super computer downloaded into his brain has started out on a very good start.