Featured Review: Chuck Versus the Third Dimension

Give the producers of "Chuck" credit: They pull out every imaginable stop to capitalize on their 3-D airing the day after the Super Bowl, including guest shots by Dominic Monaghan (for sci-fi nerds) and Jerome Bettis (for football fans), as well as a fight involving young women in lingerie (for both) and a riff on "The Shawshank Redemption" (for men in general). Otherwise, it's a pretty standard episode, barring the occasional knife hurtling directly toward the camera. The gimmick gets points for the old college try, but the ship for this second-year series appears to have sailed.


Revisiting the show, there is a lot to like here, particularly the interplay among the three leads: Chuck (Zachary Levi), the reluctant secret agent with all kinds of top-security info downloaded into his head; Sarah (Yvonne Strzechowski), the butt-kicking girl of his dreams; and John (Adam Baldwin), the steely operative who would just as soon wring Chuck's pencil-neck to be rid of babysitting him.


Beyond that, though, it's the usual spy stuff with a comic twist, with the latest hour featuring Monaghan as an imperiled rock star (apparently he can't get off that "Lost" island), while Bettis squeezes into a Buy More shirt as a paroled con.


As for the 3-D, the results prove somewhat disappointing, as it often is when trying to appreciate the effect in a home-theater setting. Or maybe it's just that those cheap cardboard glasses never fit particularly well over the prescription kind.


NBC is doubtless eager for any boost "Chuck" might eke out from this stunt, but the competition has only gotten tougher with "House" taking up residence Mondays. "Heroes" does return after a convoluted fall run promising a new direction, but the network is now playing defense, leaving the Buy More gang in a mode where they'll probably have to settle for less.


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RachelLEditor
Feb 3, 2009 3:07PM EST

Dear Variety, why was the riff on Shawshank for men only? Explain!Also, who caught at least 2 references to Arrested Development with "no touching!" and use of "The Final Countdown".

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Feb 4, 2009 12:17AM EST

2 more cents:
The amateurish composition, starting from bad camera shots and ending with overly exaggerated music overlays, has put the entire past of this season (if not entire show) into its grave. Trying to appeal to everyone can never go right. The only chance I see of continued air-time will be if first-season's Chuck returns with his humor, brains and a closer-to-reality identity.

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Feb 6, 2009 12:07PM EST

Does anybody know the song that played in the background in the Dream sequence with Sarah in lingerie?

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Feb 9, 2009 1:22PM EST

Heard a little Okkervil River at the end of the episode...
...best soundtrack on television, as usual.
And what about the teaser for the rest of the season? It got me all excited.

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Feb 11, 2009 1:53AM EST

@RachelL DUDE! All I could think about was G.O.B. killing doves in his pants once I heard that song!

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