Chuck is a graduate of Stanford University, and a current employee for The Nerd Herd. Basically he is the fictional representation of someone in the Geek Squad at Best Buy, and this gives him the chance to show off his skills with technology in the work-place. He makes $11.00 an hour at this job, and spends most of his free time playing video games with his best friend. While home one day he receives an e-mail from his old college roommate, one which he did not get along with, and one which he does not think about fondly. The e-mail comes as a surprise, but when he opens it, he is faced with thousands of images that immediately become part of his memory. Embedded within those images are codes and secrets of the U.S. Government, and suddenly Chuck now knows everything about the CIA and NSA. Unbeknownst to him, this has drawn him into a world of intrigue that could eat him alive if not for the help of his supporting cast.
NBC has brought Chuck to Monday nights at 8pm this Fall, and hopes that people will tune into this show and stay tuned in for Heroes at the 9pm slot. The trick with this show, is that they are not trying to focus entirely on the action orientation that is obvious to readers of the plot, but on the comedic aspect of a computer game nerd being drawn into a “game” that is way over his head. Watching the pilot through my On Demand service, I quickly drew correlations between this character and the computer hacker in the new Die Hard film. He is really good at what he does, but when given the right tools, he can go above and beyond what he even thought to be possible. Having all of this knowledge in his brain, he can quickly draw on it in the right situations, and suddenly he has access to the entire book of secrets for the United States Government. This simultaneously makes him an asset and a target to the people in power, and as the season progresses, the viewers are sure to find out which way this story is going to swing.
The star of the show is Zachery Levi who also stared in Less Than Perfect. At first glance he is almost a smarter version of comedian Dane Cook, with moments of brilliance surrounded my moments where he just completely lacks life experience. This is particularly noted in the pilot episode where he has to recall when he last had a girlfriend, and can only remember years ago during his freshman year at college. Not that he has cared though, as he seems to prefer hanging out with his best friend than going out to clubs or parties. This is something that always rubs his sister the wrong way, as it seems she is intent on setting him up with someone that she works with. Sarah Lancaster plays the sister, whom people may recognize as Marjorie from What About Brian or as recurring characters in both Everwood and Saved By The Bell: The New Class. Also in the cast are Adam Baldwin, Yvonne Strzechowski, and Joshua Gomez (the best friend) just to name a few.
Chuck looks to be one of NBC’s best bets to combine the drama and comedy aspects of television and sell it in one tight little package. The story seems like it could be pretty strong, and there is a lot of room to play with the premise as the show develops week after week. The main problem that Chuck faces though, is that it is in a brutal time slot that could spell doom if it doesn’t capitalize on early buzz and draw a large audience during its first few weeks on the air. The 8pm slot on Monday’s puts it up against ABC and Dancing With The Stars, How I Met Your Mother on CBS, Prison Break on FOX, and Everybody Hates Chris on CW. Not only that, but all of these shows will be doing battle with Monday Night Football which moved to Cable this year. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this show succeeded, but it’s also one of those shows that needs to get a core audience if it wants to survive till the November sweeps. The pilot was interesting enough to keep this viewer interested in seeing Episode 2, but others will have to be willing to give it that same chance if the show wants a future.
*Chuck premieres on Monday, September 24th at 8:00pm on NBC.