Always a sleeper hit (and only saved from cancelation by the
fanbase (oh, and a deal with Subway)) the third season of Chuck builds on
what's come before and expands the show wonderfully.
Now with the Intersect 2.0 installed into his
brain, Chuck finds that he has new abilities but his personal life is
of a shambles than ever. He's no longer
a reluctant pawn caught up in events he can't control, now Chuck is
become and actual spy.
Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was a brilliant student at
Stanford until his life came crashing down on him.
It all happened when his roommate and best
friend, Bryce, stole his first (and only) girlfriend, Jill, and then
to get him kicked out of college. That
was five years ago (as the series begins) and Chuck finds himself
his sister, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), a doctor, and her boyfriend, a
mountain-climbing sky-diving doctor who Chuck refers to as Captain
(Ryan McPartlin.) He works at the local
Buy More, and when he's not working hangs out with his uber-nerd friend
Things all change one evening when, out of the blue, Chuck receives an
from Bryce. It turns out to be the
Intersect, a program that downloads a CIA database into Chuck's brain. Now whenever he sees someone or something
that's in the database he'll 'flash' and instantly gain all the
that the CIA knows about that person or thing.
After the original Intersect is destroyed, Chuck is the ONLY
that information. Since such important
information can't be allowed to walk the streets freely, he gets two
assigned to watch his every move: cute
and sexy CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) who poses as
girlfriend, and psychopathic killer NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin)
gets a job at the Buy More and moves into the apartment across from
At the end of season two Chuck was implanted with the
Intersect 2.0, which in addition to
raw data also allows him to become a martial arts expert (or
whatever skill he may need) but only when he flashes, which is
Now that Chuck "knows Kung Fu" the CIA agrees to train him
to become an official field operative, which doesn't go so well. His flashes are unpredictable and he can't
always get out of the sticky situations they put him in during the
his training. So he's kicked out of the
program and goes back to the Buy More, where Morgan joins him after
While things seem the same, they aren't. Things
have cooled between Chuck and Sarah
ever since she offered to run away with him and he turned her down in
take a chance at being a spy. A mistake
in anyone's book.
The spy game is getting a little dangerous too. When
Awesome helps Chuck with an assignment,
the Ring, an evil organization that the CIA is hunting and which
assumes that the extreme sports enthusiast cardiologist is the real spy
tries to turn him, and if they fail they'll just kill him.
While Awesome relished the idea of becoming
an asset (unlike Chuck originally) the reality is much too far outside
comfort zone and he starts to crack under the pressure.
Even knowing Chuck is leading a double life
is hard for him to handle.
Ironically, Chuck is growing into being a spy. He
starts to really excel as an agent and
helps the team out of some sticky situations (as always) but now he's
it. His superiors have noticed and they
start to give him more responsibility, including sending him on his
mission. Sarah isn't happy with the new
Chuck however. He becoming growing too
comfortable with being a spy and as he does the things she liked about
start to disappear.
There are a couple of new characters this season that serve
to change the show just a bit and make things more interesting. First is the new leader of the small team,
Daniel Shaw (Brandon Routh). He's been
chasing the ring for years and is charged with destroying the
organization. Handsome, talented, and
smart (Chuck describes him as "Superman-y", which isn't too far from
given that Routh portrayed the Kryptonian in Superman
Returns), he takes a liking to Sarah, something that
starts to upset Chuck. Chuck also
new love interest, Hannah (Kristin Kreuk, Smallville)
a one-time highly paid trouble shooter who finds herself out of a job
starts working at the Buy More.
This season was very good once again, with the creators
changing things up just enough to make the show feel new and fresh
altering it so much as to alienate fans.
The story arc of Chuck becoming a field agent worked well. He became so adept at leading a double life
that it changed him a bit, and the fact that Sarah could relate, and
it would ultimately take Chuck was a big driving force through the
The only place this season really falters is with Sarah and
Chuck's relationship. While the things
that they're going through are realistic, a few episodes spent too much
dwelling on their feeling for each other.
At times it felt more like a teen romantic drama than an
show, but there were only a few episodes where the romance troubles
That's not to say that the show lost its humor, one of the
great things about the program, it hasn't.
There are still some laugh-out-loud funny moments and every
amusing. One of my favorite episodes has
Chuck impersonating an assassin, Rafe Gruber, in order to discover the
target. He's hired by a pair of tough
mobsters (played by Tony Sirico and Louis Lombardi both from The Sopranos) and is undercover when he
spies Sarah with Shaw. His reaction to
this revelation leads to a wonderfully comic scene where the two thugs
'international assassin' have a heart-to-heart about how demanding and
women can be. Three seasons in, the
show's still got it.
The Blu-ray Disc:
The 19 episodes that make up Chuck Season Three arrive on four
Blu-ray discs in a double width case with slipcover.
Like the earlier seasons, I wasn't impressed with the video
quality of this program. The show is
presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, encoded at 1080p with the VC-1
it looks pretty average at best. I was
astounded at how much digital noise and grain was present in the image. Much of the show is plagued by mosquito
noise, especially in the background. I
never saw this show when it was broadcast so I have no idea if it
this originally or if it is a problem with the encoding, but I was
lot better. The whites are often too
bright and details are frequently lost.
Chuck's white work shirt often seems flat and lacking texture,
is very rare blooming.
Aside from the noise issue things look pretty good.
The colors are fairly stable and the flesh
tones look fine. The level of detail is on
the soft side, but there is no confusing this with a SD DVD. There are even a couple of scenes where the
detail is too good, revealing that wounds that Casey suffered are
latex applications for example. Overall
this doesn't look bad, it just has several problems that keep it out of
top-tier Blu-ray releases.
It's a little disappointing that this season, again, only
comes with a DD 5.1 soundtrack. While I
guess I should be happy that it's not just a stereo track, I was hoping
we'd be treated to lossless audio. In
any case the audio sounds fine with the dialog being easy to discern
music and background noises coming through clearly.
The soundstage wasn't used much, mainly
during the few action sequences when some audio effects were thrown to
rears, so the show isn't as enveloping as I would have liked it. The sub channel was also fairly anemic. For a TV show the sound is fine, just not as
impressive as it could have been.
There are some nice bonus features included with this set,
though nothing that is really exciting they are all in HD with the
the gag reel. First there's an EPK fluff
piece, Chuck-Fu... and Dim Sum (22
min), which has the cast and crew talking about the show and their
characters. Like most behind-the-scenes
featurettes, it's light on real content.
That's followed by The Jeffster
Revolution (11 min) a mockumentary on the band Jeffster, which is
funny. I really like the duo, and this
was the highlight of the bonus material.
There are also deleted scenes to several episodes and a fairly
Like the previous seasons, this is a wonderfully
entertaining show that's willing to take risks to keep the program
interesting. Chuck filling into his role
as an agent while having to juggle two lives was taken up a notch, and
characters worked well (though I wish one of them had stayed around a
longer.) It's hard to mix action and
intrigue with comedy and not have it turn into camp, but the creators
this show have managed to do exactly that.
The stories are fun, the characters are likeable and the acting
excellent. It comes Highly