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TV Review: Never Judge A Show By Its Pilot – Chuck

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My first impression of the new NBC action comedy Chuck is that the premise – a computer geek who accidentally becomes the government's most vital secret agent – will burn out very fast. I also don’t buy Zachary Levi as a geek. Look at these Zachary Levi photos on IMDb. This guy looks like someone who beats up geeks. I think the part should have gone to a young Andy Dick type.

I watched the pilot. The episode opens on the night of Chuck’s birthday party. Chuck’s sister has invited lots of women for Chuck to meet but I don’t see this guy needing his sister’s help getting laid. I also don’t see this guy working as a member of Buy More’s Nerd Herd (a spoof of Best Buy’s Geek Squad).

Chuck receives an e-mail from his former college roommate. When he opens the e-mail, he unwittingly downloads sensitive government data in the form of pictures into his brain, in essence turning Chuck into a computer. Events begin to trigger the data in Chuck’s brain. Now agents from the CIA and NSA want that government data back. It turns out that Chuck’s old college roommate was a CIA agent who went rogue. With the data locked in his head Chuck must now use that knowledge along with his computer nerd skills to help the government stop the bad guys.

NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin) is now working undercover as a Buy More trainee and CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski) is working undercover as Chuck's girlfriend. I really like the action sequences. I also like Yvonne Strzechowski for many reasons, especially the scene when she gets ready for her date with Chuck then kicks butt on her date with Chuck. Even though there are elements that I like, I still feel that my first impressions are correct. The premise will burn out really fast. Zachary Levi is a very talented actor. I liked him on Less Than Perfect, but I don’t see him as a good fit for this show. Then again I might change my mind because I never judge a show by its pilot.

The second episode opens with an extensive recapping of the pilot. Sarah is now working undercover serving hot dogs next door to the Buy More. The agents bring in the doctor who designed the program trapped in Chuck's brain. The doctor says that he can remove the program from Chuck's head but when the doctor leaves, his car blows up — "the old exploding cell phone." The agents accuse each other of the murder. The data in Chuck's brain tells him that the exploding phone is an NSA weapon. There is a great fight sequence set in between the two agents at the hot dog place. It turns out that the Doctor faked his death in order to kidnap Chuck and sell him to Korean interests. While flying off in a helicopter, Chuck accidentally shoot the pilot with a tranquilizing dart. The big finale involves Sarah having to talk Chuck through landing the chopper by having him recall flight simulator games.

I still stand by my first impression that the premise will burn out really fast and Zachary Levi is not a good fit for this show.

To quote Chuck (to himself), "Don't freak out".

Stay tuned.

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About Tony Figueroa

  • Chris Beaumont

    I’ve enjoyed this so far. I am looking forward to what they do with it.

    Did you catch the Lost reference?