Must-See TV: Chuck Season Two

There have been few series that have avoided the axe as much as the hero to geekdom, Chuck. As television rolls out more reality based drivel, shows are forced to take chances to keep the ratings up. Chuck is a unique manner of beast, neatly balancing out comedy, action and drama in equal doses. The formula has worked extremely well and there are times I wonder what it has to do to get it over the line, into that safe zone. At the end of each season you almost feel like the writers are giving the audience some sort of resolution, in case it is their last hurrah.

The core of Chuck has always been the ‘will they, won’t they’ romantic tension between Chuck and his NSA handler Agent Walker (played by the simply stunning Yvonne Strahovski) balanced out with the steadfast friendship between Chuck and his Buy More co-worker Morgan. Coasting through life Chuck had a computer database comprised of a conglomerate of various US Agency’s Intelligence known as the Intersect downloaded directly into his noggin. Thus the nerd slacker is now able to “flash” on intel instantly and has become a vital national security asset and one of the government’s best kept secrets.

If the first season was all about Chuck dealing with his new found abilities and burgeoning relationship with Sarah Walker, season two is about the boy becoming a man. As Chuck grows more and more accustomed to life or death situations, he wants to get out of car and adopt a more hands on approach. The action sequences and enemy agents have been taken up a notch with some brilliant guest appearances including Michael Clarke Duncan, Jordana Brewster, Andy Richter, Jenny McCarthy, and Nicole Ritchie.

But it’s not all about espionage. The retail outlet Chuck works at as his ‘cover’ has a new assistant manager played magnificently by Tony Hale (Arrested Development). Part creepy, maniacal and constantly scheming he remains a thorn in Chuck’s side often with hilarious results. Chuck and Sarah also have their back stories fleshed out with a glimpse into Walker’s background via a High School reunion, but most of the series’ look backs are on the star of the show, Chuck.

We get to see why he was kicked out of Stanford, meet up with his ex-girlfriend Jill (Jordana Brewster) creating some much needed sexual tension forcing Sarah to acknowledge that Chuck is more to her than just an asset. Super spy and Chuck’s nemesis Bryce Larkin features as well, with his actions to discredit Chuck not quite as cut and dry as they seemed. Throw in a mysterious organisation trying to build their own Intersect known as Fulcrum, a electronically gifted operative called Orion and the re-emergence of Chuck’s long lost father (Scott Bakula) and season two is jam packed to breaking point.

The chemistry between all cast members is brilliant with Zachary Levi immensely likeable as the lead. Yvonne Strahovski provides the eye candy, but there’s a real sensitivity to the growth and development of her character, Sarah, emotionally. Her hard-case partner, Casey, is played with understated awesomeness by the always solid Adam Baldwin (Firefly) who manages to convey whole pages of dialog with a simple look or grunt. The three feed well off each other and remain the glue that holds the series together.

The ragtag group of misfits in the Buy More provide more than enough comic relief, but it’s the inclusion of Fulcrum, with the reveal of it’s leader and the return of Chuck’s father that have the most impact on the season. Not knowing whether or not it would be renewed, the writers ended the season on a brilliant high that had fans begging for another round as Chuck drops a pop culture classic reference in the final moments after a shock filled and explosive finale.

If you’ve never checked it out, I can’t recommend the show enough. It will make you laugh, tear up and fist bump as you cheer for this unlikely hero. Overflowing with geeky references, sexy ladies and comedic gold it’s one of the most rewatchable series I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing and reviewing.

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai
Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers and Hyper Magazine.