Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chuck Versus The Shark

Chuck has been my favorite tv show for the past few years. I've learned to enjoy every episode like it's going to be the last because Chuck has been permanently on the cancellation chopping block as far back as it's first season. And going into season 4 I was very psyched when I read this round would be guest star heavy with Linda Hamilton (Terminator) and Timothy Dalton (James Bond!). I was ready for another set of frothy spy comedy fun that Chuck does so well.

While the guest appearances paid off well (Dalton in particular was killer) the season overall felt a bit choppy. Some of the fun seemed to get lost as Chuck and crew got locked into saving his Mom from the evil Volkoff conglomerate. The tone was more grim. And the pulling in of all the supporting cast into Chuck's spy world(Morgan, Awesome, Ellie) took away part of the double life shuffle I enjoyed in seasons past.

The lightness and fun returned with the wrap up of the Volkoff story line, but then there was a slight feeling of "been there, done that" in his spy hijinks. I thought maybe I was judging my favorite show too harshly, even as characters would unconvincingly change direction at the drop of a hat (Robin Given's shift from ruthless hardass to selfless savior at the very end of her arc, or Vivian Volkoff's shift from naive righteousness to evil mastermind in training for example).

Monday's season finale summed up season 4 nicely. The first two thirds went all Empire Strikes Back on the Chuck crew. Sarah was dying, Chuck was stripped of the intersect and his latest new foe revealed as a CIA insider. The drama palpably ramped up until the last commercial break when Chuck gets Sarah the antidote. After the break, the tone shifted to such a light feel I thought maybe we were watching a dream sequence. It was such an abrupt change I was like "Huh?" And to end the show with Morgan getting the intersect? Aw crap, my favorite show had jumped the shark and landed in After MASH.

Chuck has been renewed for season 5 and final season. I'll definitely watch, but I got that sinking feeling like the best ideas are all used up. Though if they give the intersect to Jeffster, I may have to check out.

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