Chuck S5 The Final Season DVD Review
is the little show that
could. It seemed as though the series was facing unimaginable odds of
cancellation at every turn in its five year run on NBC television. The
were the only thing keeping the show trucking' from the production
of returning every year. Viewers from the Nielsen ratings just wouldn't
with the fans and faithful viewers of the series would do anything to
their most loved series would be back in the fall every season: from
massive twitter campaign, to group meetings, to purchasing Subway
when Chuck was on-air for an
episode's airing (because Subway was one of the biggest advertisers
show's run during commercials and some episodes as well), to buying
merchandising, to purchasing DVD's or Blu-ray's, to supporting the cast
crew at Comic-Con, to being responsible for writing letters to the
advertisers. The show audience was in a unique way just as responsible
show continuing to exist as Chuck's amazing
creative team who made it all possible for the fans to enjoy on a
could go into a massive run-down of the plotline for the series but
you the short version instead:
is an average nerdy guy season one who accidentally downloads a
called the "Intersect" into his brain. Basically, it turns him into a
He's got everything there is to know about the CIA and government
He also knows Kung-Fu; all courtesy of the Intersect.
meets a CIA handler named Sarah Walker and an NSA agent named Casey and
the amazing trio becomes spy-buddies. A goofball friend named Morgan
along for the weird ride, and the Buy More employees (where Chuck and
actually work) helps Chuck and company in their CIA cover whether they
it or not. The team journeys into stopping the baddies, saving the
uncovering the pasts for Chuck's own family and eventually for the
behind Sarah and Casey. Chuck and Sarah begin a slow-brewing romance of
unparalleled in my own previous television viewing experiences.
the many years I have spent viewing countless television series, the
series I have seen that actually made a dramatic impression on me is
relatively small compared to the massive swarms of productions hitting
airwaves every year. There was even a time in my life in which I didn't
television was capable of achieving great things. Then I saw Lost and my overall experience with
viewing that series shifted my entire perspective on the TV landscape.
television could be that good? As it
had been before, I was just an anime and animation fanatic who would
whatever seemed worthwhile in the world of the animation-realms. Again,
knew television could be that good?
Emphasis on "good".
have a point in listing all of my opinions about the general state of
"golden era" of television: Chuck
fulfills virtually all of these
elements. So bear with me for the next few of these fandom-inspired
given that little preamble, I think it is fair to say that a lot of
productions ultimately aren't "that good".
However, it is my personal opinion that we are currently in a golden
television production. The quality of programs is so high right now
quality television series are legitimately outdoing the other mass form
entertainment otherwise known as the motion-picture. AKA, our
you're a huge fan of television then you are probably aware of the
high quality series that have been hitting all our airwaves over the
several years: Lost, Alias, Battlestar Galactica, True
Blood, Dexter, Mad Men, Fringe, Medium, Breaking Bad,
and The Walking Dead are just a few prime examples. I
could go on and
make a long list of even more quality programs that effectively proved
themselves to be in the upper-class of quality craftsmanship.
get me wrong, quality TV is something that has always existed. Some of
aired before "my time": The Twilight Zone,
Star Trek, I Love Lucy, Seinfeld,
Friends, etc. I wouldn't want to
dismiss the fact that great television has
always been possible to find. Yet something seems different now in how
entertaining series arrive at airwaves concerned with every aspect of
filmmaking on a more regular basis.
entered a superb television era that includes character development,
development, excellence in behind-the-scenes, and quality on every
whether it is in acting, directing, writing, costumes, sets, music,
props, makeup, editing, stunts, and just about all of the other areas
imaginable. How about casting? Let's
can make or break a show. Any element can form a crutch in both good
ways. And television makes the challenges more demanding because
more room to fail than the world of feature films. You could write
excellent seasons of a series and lose fans in the final run of
doesn't always happen, but it's worth pointing it out to remind people
collaborative nature existing in this art-form has huge stakes.
I said before, Chuck has all the
elements of a great television program. It was one of the best that
had the pleasure of seeing and in the past few years it has constantly
as a show that I have felt passionate and loyal towards. The fans know this show constantly delivers and
that's surely going to be remembered as one of the main reasons why the
kept being renewed again, then again,
and again... but I have a feeling that there are some
out there that
are still in need of discovering this gem of a show. I hope that this
can manage to not only reach out to longtime fans but to some curious
who might be swayed to discovering Chuck because
of my high praises. Upon reaching the conclusion of the series, I
confident that this was my second favorite series ever (just behind Lost). I'm not sure if all viewers of Lost
would find it as compelling to that
high degree, but what I am confident in suggesting is that anyone who
the current "golden era" of television as I described, please, please, please... check out Chuck and see for
yourself. I have a feeling you might actually
enjoy it a great deal. You may walk away from the series with as much
immense feelings of gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the
& crew as I had.
a look at the cast of actors and the wonderful characters they
really unsurprising that there was so much love for Chuck.
Zachary Levi (Chuck Bartowski) is quintessential as the nerd
with a heart of gold: a character that cared deeply for his family,
and the beautiful, intelligent, and charming woman who made his life
mean more: mesmerizingly cool Sarah Walker,
who bests Sydney Bristow as the coolest spy character television has
and who was played to perfection by Australian actress Yvonne
one of the most convincing accents that I have encountered to boot). In
amazingly short time, Yvonne Strahovski became an essential aspect of
show's heart. Something about Sarah resonates amazingly well from
end and I'd even say Strahovski turned out to be the best actor on the
and she truly helped to carry it on.
realizing one of the coolest nerd characters ever in Chuck, the writers
had to form the quintessential nerd-friend who is equal ranks
right? Enter Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez): the undeniably wonderful
Chuck and who managed to bring more laughs, wisdom (Morgan wisdom was truly special, folks), and camaraderie
than any sidekick turned into a major series frontrunner as television
Casey (Adam Baldwin, of previous Firefly fame)
was one of the slyest and most surprising characters the show had to
offer as a
seemingly unstoppable army force with one mission: to be capable of
accomplishing any mission with any cost, but who grew to share his full
over this series and became recognized as the genuine teddy-bear
and all-around family member (of sorts) helping to hold
the gang together. Sure, he could kick people's butts and be strong in
gun-range but he had so much love in him too: from how he cared about
fellow spysters in Chuck, Sarah, and Morgan to his newfound knowledge
friendship with his daughter Alex (Mekenna Melvin).
about Sarah Lancaster as Ellie Bartowski-Woodcomb? She performed the
Chuck's older sister with so much special grace and warmth. It reminded
my own relationship that I've been blessed enough to have with one of
sisters (named Corinna, if you want to know), and I imagine her
having that kind of impact on others as well. There is not a single
the series where you doubt how much she cares about her brother Chuck,
their love for each other is genuine and strong. From the pilot onward,
a reminder of how we always need to remember our siblings, our brothers
sisters - and how much love we get the privilege to share in knowing
Ellie was a great character, one who first confirmed for me that this
show that placed creating real characters and relationships above
- of course, not that the series skimped on anything else.
even had a character like Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb, as
Ryan McPartlin. He's the kind of guy you would think that most men
some intimidation from because he has six-pack abs, blonde hair, blue
a tall body frame. He almost is reminder of the idealization found in a
Barbie doll. Yet he's one of the best
characters, constantly being just about the nicest guy imaginable, and
always tries to help the others on Chuck.
You'd think it's impossible, but the writers and directors were wise
casting McPartln, because he in true premonition style he truly was and
can forget the fellow Buy More employees? Mark Christopher Lawrence was
as the lovable store-manager Big Mike - he was the glue of the
someone who seemed to care for all of his employees and friends. He
in on the spy game, in the end, but he was undeniably a true member of
Bartowski. Then we have those goofball weirdoes Jeff Barnes and Lester
Respectively, Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay made irritating characters
heartwarming. We were often annoyed, but it was always in the best of
These were some of the coolest characters on the show and you would
wonder what it might have been like witnessing a spin-off with these
and offbeat characters. Jeffster, forever, everyone! If David
do it, so could Jeffster.
the general Diane Beckman (performed by Bonita Friedericy), added an
that is something I would have never expected in the beginning of the
her character began as a way just to express missions the characters
to go on for the CIA - to having one of those undeniably charming
roles where you just couldn't help but like her. It was certainly clear
she always hoped for the best for Chuck, Sarah, Casey, and all of the
was a character-driven show. I hope I was able to express that clearly
in discussing these characters, because the number one reason to watch Chuck was always how wonderful all of
these characters were: you grew to know them, care for them, and love
Each and every character was essential to the story and the balance of
show. Without all of them, it just isn't possible to even imagine it
same. The journey was made entirely worth every
single moment because these characters were so well written and so
performed. Not to mention directed.
cannot even begin to fathom how much hard work was invested by everyone
involved in the series. Everyone involved in this show amazed me.
That's why I
wanted to express just how I felt about this series tapping into every
of producing an amazing series so brilliantly. These types of
pitch-perfect creations almost never happen, even in this great
Chuck was constantly innovative. It
was always about watching the characters grow, the relationships
the friendships become strengthened.
are many series where you hit some rough patches and it seems as though
series might be slipping away creatively somewhat: even the so-called
episodes found in Chuck manage to
avoid feeling as though this is happening. I cannot think of a single
in the entire series run that I'd describe as a "bad" one. Not ONE
was always entertained, thrilled, and moved.
The laughs were joyous and good-natured. The characters felt
were (and are) friends. That sort of
thing almost never happens.
interrupt my reviews, but the rest of my review contains major
don't read the rest of this portion of the review if you want things to
as "unspoiled" until you have finished the series:
was a little bit worried entering the final season that they wouldn't
to live up to the previous seasons because the show had already managed
as creative as it was for four amazing years. Season 4 was in many ways
best season and the Volkoff storyline with Timothy Dalton was
finally learning about Chuck's mother (performed by magnificent Linda
was a treat fans waited years to see.
was it: the writers and directors knew going into it that this was the
season of the jubilant little show that could... Chuck.
Yet they only had 13 episodes to end everything. I hesitate
to say it was a "perfect" season, because there were some moments where
particular episodes proved stressful in ways prior seasons hadn't -
were even recklessly thrown by the writers into disturbing situations
(especially Sarah and Morgan, considering their storyline relating to a
thing named the 'Intersect'). These were definitely challenging
tested out the range of the actors and the characters dramatically
placed in situations that I actually wasn't all that fond of. Yet the
storytelling remained just as captivating as always, and you knew the
worth a continuing price of admission.
episodes range from having some of the most fantastically funny (Chuck Versus the Curse, Chuck Versus the
Kept Man) to some of
the intense (Chuck Versus the Frosted
Tips, Chuck Versus Sarah) moments
that ultimately bring even greater understanding of our own
these characters and why we loved them. In Chuck
Versus the Curse, for example, it was nice to see Ellie and Awesome
get mixed into the spy-world game. Moments like these were priceless.
many good moments happened in this concluding season. The show was also
constantly mixing things up to keep it interesting. Chuck and company
without CIA support initially during the season and started up
enterprises, Morgan became closer to girlfriend Alex, Casey finally
own romance in meeting a new character named Gertrude Verbanski
Moss), Sarah FINALLY got some much needed story regarding her family
- we learn more about her mother for the first time. I'm genuinely
actually realize how many things were pulled off in just 13 episodes.
there is any minor disappointment with the season, it's that the bad
seem as interesting compared to someone like Timothy Dalton as Volkoff.
storyline's probably one of my favorites. I was also a little confused
"conspiracy" theme that undeniably became a forefront plotline in the
episode. It seemed a bit rushed in carrying out that storyline, but was
decently concluded with Chuck Versus the
Santa Suit, featuring the return of Brandon Routh as Daniel Shaw.
last batch of episodes did something that irritated some fans but
of the overriding, number-one reason why I fell in love with this
series in the
first place: it took us to a dark place where the possibility of loss
was used as a major plot element. With concluding the series, in
the last two episodes (Chuck Versus Sarah and Chuck Versus
Goodbye), I was reminded that the best thing about this series
the characters themselves) was the fact that Chuck is
a love story first and foremost.
to know Chuck and Sarah and was the greatest part of the entire
characters felt as though they truly
loved each other and that love was
the heartbeat that motivated everything.
Chuck loves Sarah and Sarah loves Chuck. Beyond the action, the
comedy, and wonderful characters... beyond ALL of it, fans loved the
recognizing the romance between Chuck and Sarah because it was one of
all-around romantic storylines in television history.
In the end-game, Sarah downloads a virus
infected, corrupted intersect (as Morgan had done earlier in the
because it is the only way to get out of a dangerous situation. It was
devastating moment in the show's run. Sarah begins to lose memories.
fans. Understandably so! Yet the final episode felt like a gift to
followed this series throughout the entire run because it was all about
reaffirming the love between these characters and about how magical
for each other was from the moment they met. Nothing has moved me more
romantic-storytelling than this story of Chuck and Sarah. Perhaps Pride & Prejudice, but I think Jane
Austen herself might have enjoyed the series.
absolutely understand that some viewers were bothered by the open-ended
scene. I recognize that this is something that the show hadn't done
that this is how it's ultimately concluded. For me, though, the last
the beach was a way of saying that everything was going to work out
Chuck and Sarah in the end regardless of if the magical fairy-tale
occurred as predicted by Morgan or if things would take some time
recovery of Sarah's memories.
myself, I watched the final scene with Chuck and Sarah kissing and
each other I knew in my heart that they were in love and that this is
that wouldn't change. Chuck began as
a story of a boy and a girl meeting and ended as a story of a man and a
whose love for each other meant that they would always be there for
through thick and thin.
eyes were not merely watery, and I'm unashamed to say that my tears
during these moments: that this most beautiful and transcendent ending
something that surpassed my every expectation. In its own way, I felt
the Chuck series finale was the perfect
sendoff and nothing else comes close - except, of course, the Lost series finale (still my number one
in television despite some of those lingering mysteries).
real end-game of Chuck is all about
love. This is the true message of the show, as I perceived it: love is
valuable thing in the world. Don't lose
it. I cried. I smiled.
was a story about true
love, and I loved every minute of the journey.
Bros. has presented Chuck on DVD across three discs
1 and 2 each containing 5 episodes and Disc 3 containing the final
extended version of the series finale, and the majority of the bonus
materials). The PQ leaves something to be desired. It's actually not
great. I've seen the show in High Definition on Blu-ray and I must say
HD version gets something of a bad-wrap for no reason - the series is
Super 16mm film and it has an abundance of grain that gives the series
look that I can appreciate.
on DVD the film grain doesn't
translate as well and looks more like an inconsistent mess. Fans that
have a Blu-ray player are still encouraged to purchase the DVD's - the
itself is worth every penny. However, if you CAN choose, don't listen
who faults the Blu-ray's as not being of high enough quality. The High
Definition presentation surpasses Chuck on DVD in every way.
series is presented in its
original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16:9
enhanced for anamorphic
Digital 5.1 surround sound tracks are somewhat underrated in my
sound design is kind of fun and exciting when it wants to be. The show
undeniably front-heavy and center-channel driven but the action
which there are plenty) are creatively-driven audio-wise and deliver
thrills with the sound design of effects, popular songs, or the great
are provided in English, French, and Spanish languages.
final season of the series the supplemental materials have been
expanded. The Season
5 box-set contains more extras than any of the previous releases and it
effort well worth appreciating.
Version of Series Finale "Chuck Versus the Goodbye" (53
minutes) is actually only included under the
supplemental section. I'm not sure why. This is the better way to view
concluding episode as it contains an additional eight minutes or so.
moments essentially are used to extend various characters goodbyes and
scenes for supporting cast members. There's an extended restaurant
and one final action piece with Chuck and Sarah. I especially enjoyed
lengthier conclusion for Casey's character - it's just a minute or two
Despite the short run time, I do feel that fans will appreciate the
content. It is something that doesn't change the ending (don't expect
that's what you were hoping). Instead, it does make things feel even
with the story that was told. Easily the coolest extra on any of the Chuck season sets.
and Superfans: The Saving of a Show (11
minutes) is tag-lined as "A Tribute to the World's Greatest
Fans" and it is all about how various fan campaigns helped to keep the
alive and renewed for several years. The cast and crew reminiscence
fans helped to make the show by keeping it on the air through their
they even left some grateful messages to the fans. Certainly a nice
should be appreciated most by the fans that helped to keep the show on
Versus the Final Episode (14
minutes) is a glimpse into the making of the very last
episode of Chuck.
the World of Chuck
(6 minutes) is (at last!) a supplemental piece about the vastly
composer Tim Jones and the work he did to compose music for the series.
composed music from season one to season five and created some iconic
are wonderfully used on the show.
(5 minutes) is a brief looking-back piece about the beginnings of Chuck's cult-favorite television status.
Through the Years
(11 minutes) is about the transformation of the characters and
as a regular Nerd-Herder to full-fledged secret agent man.
(2 minutes) is a sad vignette sort of piece in which time-altered film
dramatically speeds us through the take-down of the Buy More set.
and co-creator Chris Fedak
waves to viewer's goodbye before it all ends. Quite sad.
Buy More Commercials
(1:25) features the two Buy More commercials that were
utilized during the actual season: that means you get standalone
versions of Big
Mike and Captain Awesome Commercials. These are extremely cute on their
it's great to ultimately revisit these silly commercials.
is another short featurette in which the various actors/actresses for Chuck reflect upon how they see their
respective characters being in the future (in, say... five or ten years).
are included on the final two episodes,
Chuck Versus Sarah and Chuck Versus
the Goodbye by series executive producers Chris Fedak, Josh
actors Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez. These commentaries are generally
reflective about the entire series and working with everyone on the
some degree. I'd even go so far as to say these are nostalgic, kind
Fans that enjoy listening to commentaries from actors/writers should
- Extended and Deleted scenes from throughout the season. There is only
handful and most of them do feel somewhat throwaway (hence part of the
these parts got edited out in the first place). A few funny added bits
Morgan in some of these should make these worthwhile for fans to view
minutes) is your typical mixture of some funny moments and some
amusing for just the cast/crew. Lots of
bleeped swearing. This was a fun little way to send off watching the Chuck experience.
Ultraviolet Digital Copy code is
included to instantly stream and download the 5th season of Chuck
been said before, and should be said again: there was a lot of love
behind Chuck and a lot of love is something
that can go a long way. The last episode was something that left
utter satisfaction for this particular fan, and I can only hope that it
real pleasure to the fans that cherished the series as much as I did.
characters were always what made this show amazing. Especially the
love that developed between Chuck and Sarah. I
immensely enjoyed the entire season and
couldn't have asked for a better final episode as a swan song to one of
best shows of the last several years, and for one of my all-time
series should be viewed by any fan of great television: Chuck
is the perfect mix of action, comedy, adventure, and romance.
How can you get any better than that?
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.