Monday, 23 May 2011
TV/DVD: CHUCK SEASON 1 -CHUCK AND THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL TENSION IN THE WORKPLACE
I think I caught part of one episode of the first season back when it aired on cable and it didn't impress me much so I didn't bother with it. Yet I kept seeing rave reviews from time to time, enough to make me wonder if I should give it another chance. So, when the price of the first season on DVD came down to around £7.00 I gave it a shot. And as soon as I finish this post I'll start watching Season 2 DVD.
But one thing in particular struck me about it; that, like Castle (see previous post), it's steeped in unrelieved sexual tension. Setup: an old college friend turned enemy downloads a computer program full of secrets and transfers it into Chuck's brain (this is the simplified version), then destroys the computer it came from. Thus Chuck (Zachary Levi), our intelligent good-looking computer-geek who works for something like Dixons, becomes a national security resource who is guarded/used by CIA agent Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and her NSA counterpart Casey (Adam Baldwin). No surprise that Chuck falls for the hard-shelled but vulnerable Sarah, who pretends to be his girlfriend as a cover, and not really much of a surprise that she rather likes him: but she can never show it. This is the continuing undercurrent to a rather likeable comedy-thriller.
I mentioned Castle, but this also reminds me a little of the Big Bang Theory in that Chuck/Sarah reminds me of the Leonard/Penny dynamic. However, the writers had the sense to get them together in the third season even if they did cruelly break them up towards the end. I'm the production team have the sense to get Chuck and Sarah together before audiences get sick of the constantly delayed climax (sexual pun intended).
Like Castle, Chuck works well because of a good cast playing good supporting roles. In this case, for me, the standout part is Adam Baldwin who has corned the market in playing the seriously heavy heavy with a cruel sense of humour. He was good in Angel, he was brilliant in Firefly and he's great in this. I could live without some of the other cast, particularly Chuck's workmates, though I like the Chinese girl. But it does balance the humour and the thriller aspects of it very nicely. It's certainly a lot more interesting than Castle, which is very one-note, while this has secrets within secrets within...etc. Halfway through the season, a character you believed dead turns out not be and not everything you believe about past events is true.
So, with a photo of the great Adam Baldwin, I bid you goodbye and slip in Disc 1 of Chuck Season 2.