Chuck season 2 episode 1

Three cheers for the return of Zachary Levi as Chuck, in a US TV show that always remembers to entertain...

I’ve come to the conclusion that some shows don’t need to break new TV ground to be entertaining, and Chuck is a perfect example of how.

This is a formulaic show about a nerd who ends up as a spy through no fault of his own, yet it’s got wit and style that other shows just can’t emulate.

In the season opener, Chuck’s world almost gets put right side up, when it’s revealed that a new ‘Intersect’ intelligence computer is about to go online, releasing Chuck from being the one they use now. Except Chuck hasn’t grasped that the full consequences of that won’t be retirement from active service for him, or not in a conventional job sense.

But part of the new Intersect has been stolen by, and this blew my mind, Michael Clarke Duncan! He’s looking much trimmer from his Kingpin era, but he’s still got a voice so deep he’s probably trackable by seismic sensors. He’s not overly used, but it’s nice to see some named actors turning up on the show so early this year.

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In the typically convoluted logic of Chuck, the plot has him and Sarah going out on a real date, Casey being given the order to kill Chuck and Morgan deciding who’ll be the next Buy More assistant manager after Chuck passes on the job.

But there is some evolution from last year. The Weinerlicious shop which is Sarah’s cover is now ‘Orange Orange’ a chilled togurt dispensary, Sarah will be getting a new boss (because her CIA controller is blown up), and Chuck actually manages to save himself at one point suggesting the spy world is beginning to rub off on him.

My top ‘geek’ moments from this episode of Chuck:

  1. The radio alarm comes on to Huey Lewis and the News, twice. Referencing Back to the Future and Groundhog Day.
  2. Chuck’s bedroom has a TRON poster.
  3. Casey practices bonsai, badly.
  4. Buy More has a special this week on Roboraptors and Robosapiens!
  5. A map Morgan draws is the Compound level from Call of Duty, a sponsor of the show now.
  6. Casey practices using his silencer on Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler, among others.
  7. Morgan’s method for determining the new assistant manager is borrowed from Mad Max 3.
  8. Casey stabs himself in the heart with an adrenalin hypo, as per The Rock and Pulp Fiction.
  9. The new Intersect has an original Apple Mac on it.

It might seem a little ungrateful to mention this but I miss Harry Tang at the Buy More, and his particular type of insanity. But that’s a minor complaint, as Chuck is certainly back and he’s firing on all cylinders.