Saturday, 27 December 2008

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #11 Chuck

Here we go as promised, my favourite shows of 2008. So we start here, as any good list should, at the beginning.

Chuck was on and off this list quite a bit during my draft copies. I knew I liked the show, I just didn't know whether or not it was one of the best shows of 2008. The show is fun, the acting is great and the story is always interesting. I just didn't feel like it was "amazing" however this all changed on the 15th when Chuck aired its Christmas episode "Chuck versus the Santa Claus". This episode was superb. Every so often every show is bound to hit upon their amazing episode, the one that will stick with you after the show has finished, Heroes has "Company Man" and Lost has "The Constant", Chuck will now have this episode. Really the greatness of this Christmas episode should come as no surprise seeing as it comes from Josh Schwartz, the guy who invented Chrismukkah on the O.C. However I would say that this episode is better than those Christmas episodes of the O.C (I will go more into this episode on my favourite episodes list, I will however say that Die Hard crossovers are always a good thing).

Chuck has always been that fun little show and one that I have definitely enjoyed ever since the first episode. I mean a show about a geeky guy who has the greatest collection of criminal knowledge ever, downloaded into his head so now he battles crime in Los Angeles with the help of the CIA (Sarah Walker, played by the gorgeous Yvonne Strahovski) and the NSA (John Casey, played by Adam Baldwin (Jayne in Firefly)). Together they make an awesome team however it is Zachary Levi's portrayal of Chuck which really brings it together, his little verbal sparring sessions with Casey or the way he longs for Sarah really help make this show.

Each episode isn't all about the spies though. A large portion of the episode will focus on the Buy More or Chuck's family. It's the episodes that tie this portion of the story into the spy story that come off best, but it doesn't mean that the B-Story featuring Chuck's friends isn't funny or a nice respite from the explosions and gun fights of Chuck's other life.

Chuck Season 2 so far has been better than Chuck Season 1 in many ways (only reason its lower down is because I've watched too many great shows this year). For starters the Fulcrum story is coming together incredibly well (although Bryce Larkin's appearance wasn't anywhere near as good as last years). Then there all the little guest appearances by actors. Proper film actors like Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile) playing a Fulcrum agent and that's just the tip of the iceberg, John Laroquette, Melinda Clarke, Nicole Richie, Ben Savage, Tony Hale, Jordana Brewster, Carl Lumbly, Gary Cole, Michael Rooker and Reginald VelJohnson. That's in just 11 episodes and there are still actors like Dominic Monaghan from Lost and Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica are still to come when the show comes back in 2009. So I'm going to say that Chuck has without a doubt the coolest guest star casting department in the industry. Shows like Friends and 30 Rock are able to get incredibly big name people (Brad Pitt, Oprah) but Chuck gets really good actors who you'll recognise and gives them really good parts without it feeling like stunt casting.

Finally the soundtrack of Chuck is superb. Whilst many people find that all the best TV soundtracks sound the same (apart from those ones able to get their own orchestras like Lost and Doctor Who), I would like to point out that they all use similar songs. "How to Save a Life" is used on both Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs, bands like Spoon are on Veronica Mars and The O.C. However just because the soundtrack is similar to the O.C or Grey's doesn't make it any less good, however to be honest I love the of music that they use on these sorts of shows, they nearly always get that little ending montage just right and can introduce you to another great song (also massive props to Chuck for using not one but TWO Frightened Rabbit songs, I love for that reason alone). Chuck has a stunning soundtrack that just perfectly encapsulates the mood, but then again it is from the same people that brought you the O.C which was another show with a great soundtrack.

So in conclusion Chuck is an incredibly fun show, an incredibly fun show with a lot of heart. The romance on the show is actually one that you get invested in (similar to Desmond and Penny in Lost). The show does occasionally gets lost in trying to be geeky but it's always fun. Also if you haven't seen "Chuck versus the Santa Claus" I implore you to, it's simply one of the best episodes of an show that I've watched all year.

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