By CAINE GARDNER
In the strike-shortened season that was last year, many network shows received an untimely axing, but one show that powered through it all and not only came out of the fracas, but won a legion of loyal fans was NBC's Chuck.
What made this show stand out from the rest? In a word -- charm. And nothing was more charming than the series' leading man, Zachary Levi. Levi comes off as guy you could sit down with, have a beer and watch some football. Levi acknowledges in the bonus features that there was no real prep for the role due to the fact that after reading the script, it was apparent that he was Chuck.
Chuck is a simple senior member of the Nerd Herd at Buy More, but when his former college colleague sends him an email that downloads critical government information into Chuck's brain, his life is not so simple anymore.
The CIA and NSA send out agents to retrieve the information and once they learn Chuck is the only source of their secrets, they must grit their teeth and reluctantly work together to find a way to remove their data.
The CIA sends super-sexy agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski), while the NSA sends ruthless killing machine John Casey (Adam Baldwin), each of whom take jobs to stay close their target.
As with any hero, he must have a sidekick and Chuck is no different. Batman had Robin, The Lone Ranger had Tonto, Starsky had Hutch -- Chuck has Morgan. Morgan, played beautifully by Joshua Gomez, is one of the highlights of the show. Whether it be hitting on Chuck's older sis or playing a good game of Mystery Crisper, a game where the blind folded participant eats whatever is pulled from the lunchroom fridge crisper, Morgan is a guaranteed chuckle -- no pun intended.
Another element that makes the series work is the camaraderie between the actors. One of the added goodies included in the four-disk set is a gag reel that shows just how much fun they're having. From goofy dancing to multiple shots of nose-picking (gross), their enjoyment of each other shows. And if one man can give another man a raspberry on camera -- you know they're tight.
Being a fan of the series from the pilot, I was really looking forward to this four-disk set. This is a DVD that you'll be able to watch over and over and still find yourself laughing at something new.
In addition to the gag reel, the DVD also offers some Web mini-features, Chuck's World and Chuck's Online World, but the star of the special features is Chuck on Chuck, a roundtable between stars Levi and Gomez and series creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. It would have been nice to have a commentary track, but like the Stones said "You always get what you want."
Final Cut: A must have for a fan of the series. The likeability of Levi and the strength of his supporting cast made this show a one of a kind. It will be nice to see what the Chuck team does with a full season.
3.5 out of four stars
Chuck: Season One
Starring: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, and Adam Baldwin
* Declassified Scenes
* Chuck on Chuck
* Chuck's World
* Chuck vs. the Chuckles: Gag reel
* Chuck's Online World
* Madden '09 Demo
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