CHUCK Third Season Blu-ray Review

     September 17, 2010

Chuck Bartowski lives the geek dream.  He has the ability to pull up information and physical skills on demand.  He has good friends and a loving sister.  He even gets to make out with a hot blonde trained in firearms.  It’s too bad everyone’s out to kill him.  More after the jump:

chuck_zachary_levi_yvonne_strahovski.jpgFor those who need an Intersect-style download of information on the series, brace yourselves.  Chuck works for the Nerd Herd department of a Burbank Buy More store.  Chuck had a simple life until he opens an email sent from his former college roommate and the whole of the United States’ secret information gets downloaded directly into his brain.  Chuck doesn’t have immediate control of the information.  It presents itself in flashes on a need to know basis, when he’s triggered by a person, place or thing.  Chuck, now a priceless asset for the government, receives protection from two agents, one from the NSA and one from the CIA.  The NSA agent, the imposing Casey, assumes a job at the Buy More to keep a close eye on the Intersect.  The CIA agent, the beautiful Sarah, assumes the position of Chuck’s girlfriend and at the local yogurt/Subway/ever changing food place.  Chuck tries to balance his day job and spy job as well as protect his sister from the latter.  All the while, Chuck’s fake relationship with Sarah starts to feel more and more real.

At the end of Season Two, Chuck receives an updated Intersect 2.0 which allows him to pull up physical abilities, as varied as fighting, acrobatics and flamenco guitar playing.  With these skills in tow, Chuck decides to actually try and become a real spy.  This decision starts with him giving up on the chance of running away with Sarah.  When the two reconnect, this puts a wet towel on their romance.  Also acting as a barrier is the new super-agent on the team Shaw, recruited to help the trio of Chuck, Sarah and Casey bring down The Ring.  Over the course of the season, people close to Chuck join Captain Awesome in the ranks of those who know of Chuck’s secret double life and the applicable drama and hijinks ensue.

Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) takes the new addition of powers to Chuck’s arsenal in stride.  Even with the upgrade, Chuck is still Chuck, unable to pull the trigger on even his enemies.  Levi’s authentic geek-cred make you believe in and care about the journey Chuck is on.  Adam Baldwin’s Casey (Firefly, Day Break) shows cracks in his badass persona, especially with a familial reveal this season.  You absolutely buy into the romance between Chuck and Yvonne Strahovski’s Sarah.  Bonita Friedericy heads up the military operations as General Diane Beckman.  In terms of home life, the dynamic between Chuck and his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster — What About Brian, Dr. Vegas) ramps up as Chuck and Awesome try to keep a very large secret from her.  And let’s not forget Captain Awesome/Dr. Devin Woodcomb.  Ryan McPartlin’s (Living with Fran) character finds a taste of the spy life might be too much, even as an extreme sports enjoying doctor.  Joshua Gomez (Invasion, Without A Trace), Chuck’s ever-ready sidekick Morgan, gets to play Alfred to his Batman this season. Mark Christopher Lawrence, Scott Krinsky (The O.C.) and Vik Sahay (This is Wonderland, Our Hero) bring the appropriate quirk to comedic foils of Big Mike, Jeff and Lester.  Never underestimate the power of a Jeffster performance.

The big score/addition this season is Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) as Agent Daniel Shaw.  Routh is the perfect foil for Levi.  He’s a dashing guy, but he still has the Superman nerd appeal.  It’s hard to root against him… that is until it’s time to root against him.  Kristin Kreuk’s (Smallville, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) adorable Hannah helps create a nice Chuck love trapezoid.  Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Enterprise) returns briefly to guest as Chuck and Ellie’s father Steve Bartowski.  Other notable Season Three appearances come from: Vinnie Jones, Armand Assante, Angie Harmon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Louis Lombardi, Tony Sirico, Diedrich Bader, Cedric Yarbrough, Robert Patrick, Mark Sheppard, Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz.

AUDIO/VIDEO/EXTRAS

All 19 episodes from Season Three come packaged on four Blu-Ray discs.  Episodes can be viewed with optional English (for the Hearing Impaired), French, Dutch and Spanish subtitles.

Overall, Declassified Scenes come with play all functionality.

Disc One
Declassified Scenes:
Chuck Versus the Pink Slip — Sc. 36
Chuck Versus Operation Awesome — Sc. 38a
Chuck Versus First Class — Sc. 8, 9, 62

Disc Two
Declassified Scenes:
Chuck Versus the Beard — Sc. 2, 5
Chuck Versus the Tic Tac — Sc. 43, 47
Chuck Versus the Final Exam — Sc. 7, 28, 37
Chuck Versus the American Hero — Sc. 62, 66

Disc Three
Declassified Scenes:
Chuck Versus the Other Guy — Sc. 13, 26-27
Chuck Versus the Honeymooners — Sc. 37
Chuck Versus the Role Models — Sc. 41
Chuck Versus the Tooth — Sc. 33
Chuck Versus the Living Dead — Sc. 33

Disc Four
Behind the Scenes & Schemes:
Chuck-Fu and Dim Sum — A lengthy chat with the cast and crew about the show’s evolution going into and through Season Three.
The Jeffster Revolution — A faux documentary about the Chuck band Jeffster comprised of the characters Jeff and Lester.
Gag Reel — Chuck and Chuckles

FINAL WORDS:

Chuck is a fun weekly romp, and Chuck’s enhanced abilities have ramped up the show in Season Three.  The pop culture references hit the ground running with some nice nods to the Dude from The Big Lebowski.  Crossing all genres, Chuck touches base on comedy, action, drama and mystery and because of the likeable titular protagonist, you want to go along for the whole ride.

FINAL GRADE: A

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