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Chuck Update

  1. Please ignore all rumors- NBC did momentarily have Series Finale on the official Chuck webpage, but that has been fixed. NBC may be stupid, but they are not THAT stupid. Also, there is no merit to the suggestions that ABC would pick up Chuck. There is no financial incentive for them to do so. This is not a Scrubs situation. NBC will announce Chuck’s fate on May 5, liek it has been said by every executive, Josh and Chris, and television critic for the past month. As Chuck would say, don’t freak out.
  2. I will be posting my ruminations about “Chuck vs. the Ring” later on. Work has been busy and I’m still going over my notes.
  3. Do not, however, get complacent about the ” To be continued” message at the end of the show last night. Continue to do all the things the fan pages suggest and keep the pressure up.

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Yes, Chuck fans, today is the season finale.

Now, there are rumors floating about that Chuck has been picked up for thirteen ( no truth to that), Nikki Finke saying that the show is safe ( I have issues with Ms. Finke at times, some things she wrote during the WGAstrike hurt some writer friends deeply, so I take what she says with a grain of salt). Let me be clear- THERE IS NO TRUTH TO ANY OF THESE RENEWAL STORIES. So do not think that we are in the clear ( I suspect Chuck will be renewed, because of the help we fans got from prominent TV critics from the Chicago Tribune, The NJ Star-Ledger, and Ausiello at EW.com, which turned a grassroots movement that would probably been effective to a point into a national story not seen since Jericho was cancelled the first time). If we are lucky to see our favorite Buy More employee and the gang back for season three, we cannot give up the big fight- we have to continue to tout the show at every possible moment and make sure people tune in for season three.

The fact is, rarely do these fan based reactionary movements work. the most famous one is of course the Jericho ” nuts” campaign, which saw Les Moonves’ office filled with peanuts. The most successful one in history was the letter writing campaign that saved 80s cop classic Cagney and Lacey, a show cancelled after it’s first season only to return for another five (it also had Ms. magazine backing it). There is also The Family Guy, cancelled by Fox only to come back years later due to the ratings the show got on Adult Swim. That show is also still on the air after many seasons.

The thing that is different about the Chuck campaing, though, is the fan ingenuity. It was a fan who came up with the Subway campaign. See, Subway is prominent in it’s product placement on the show, including the character of Morgan Grimes ( the invaluable Joshua Gomez) singing the $5 footlong jingle a couple of episodes ago. Fans actually praise the product placement on Chuck- it’s obvious, sure, but it’s done in the most fun loving, goofy way. That is why this idea got legs. We all know product placement is the wave of the advertising future on TV, as the rise of DVRs and TV on DVD attest ( not to mention the continued popularity of torrent files). What could be more effective than showing both the advertiser and the network that the idea actually works? NBC has been the most aggressive network in this arena ( see: entire episodes of 30 Rock based around McFlurries and such). They are dying to prove that product placement works. We are helping them prove a point by showing the advertiser that we are watching and listening. It’s easy to be cynical and jaded about the practice, but damn it, we aren’t idiots. Advertising dollars propel the TV industry- that’s why Neilsens, however ineffective, are still the standard we use to gauge viewership. The assumption is if 1% of the population are recorded as watching a certain television show, the number correlate out by formula, there by 2 1/2 Men scores 17 million viewers in a week ( I really don’t know how accurate that is, honestly. No one I know likes that show, but almost everyone I know watches The Big Bang Theory at some point during the week).

The money train, though, is the most important thing to the networks. And that has been part of Chuck’s problem. See, Heroes ( craptastic as it is right now) is owned outright by NBC/Universal, it gets all the money from DVD and International sales. Chuck is produced out of Warner Brothers studios, which means that NBC has to pay the WB a licensing fee, and they don’t garner a huge chunk of those DVD and International sales.  That is why, despite comparable numbers ( Heroes still draws in a few hundred thousand more, plus a bit more in the oh-so important 18-49 demo), Heroes pulled in an early renewal call and Chuck- well, by all accounts, it’s on the positive side of the bubble, but it’s on the bubble none the less.

All things being considered though, Chuck has everything going for it- it’s like Lost and Heroes in it’s dense mythology, but unlike both of those shows, it’s actually funny, light hearted, positive, and charming on top of smart and thrilling. It’s not weighed down by a ridiculously massive cast that requires maneuvering ridiculous amounts of story lines. It says great things about family and friends. It’s actually quite family friendly ( I know last weeks Chuck-Sarah make out session was a little steamy, but as my preteen daughter pointed out, when was the last time you saw a show that actually encouraged responsible sexual practices and said condoms are important and don’t sex someone up without one. Yeah, but you know, I’m one of those ridiculously open liberal parents that allows my kids to swear because there are worse things in the world they could be doing, like robbing liquor stores). And the cast has shown in the last few weeks that they really appreciate us as the fans.  Few shows have the majority of their cast and crew talk to the hosts of a fan podcast to discuss things the way Chuck’s cast and crew did last week for Chuck vs. The Podcast. Few show runners would engage their fans in interviews, thanking them and encouraging the ” Take It To the Man” attitudes. Few would actually say ” Send Nerds” ( as in the candies) like  Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak did. Fans often feel passionately about their shows, but there often seems like there is a wall between creators and fans, and we never even know if they know how passionate we are about what they do. The Internet has changed this somewhat, and I have seen show runners get majorly involved now in fan communities ( Criminal Minds Fanatic has a notoriously close relationship with Ed Bernaro and the creative crew on that show). Chuck falls on that side of the TV world. A lot of that, I’m convinced of, is Josh Schwartz being so frakkin’ young himself, growing up in the era of video games and the rise of the Internet. Chuck’s NBC page uses integration really well, and Schwartz ( who also produces the CW’s Gossip Girl- talk about a Sophie’s Choice situation in the Schwartz home Mondays at 8 pm) is savvier than most about the ways to use the Internet community. 

Another fan based movement happens on the mother of all Internet driven commercial real estate- ITunes. Chuck is available on ITunes, and  so is the music. Chuck fans have been encouraged to of course purchase episodes off of the music store, but there has also been a push to buy the music featured. The Chuck soundtrack is heavy on two things- indie rock ( Bon Iver, Phantom Planet, Spoon, Flight Of the Conchords) and eighties classics ( Rush, Journey, Twisted Sister, Huey Lewis and The News). I know I have bought songs simply because I heard it on Chuck first. And I have apparently forgotten how much I loved Huey Lewis as a kid. I would like to thank Chuck for reminding me.

And more on that eighties thing- well, it’s less about the eighties per se than the genius way this show pays homage to the popular culture of the people of my age group. Emmett Millbarge- totally Spies Like Us. The Godfather? Well, you know that the Buy More is just a different kind of mafia, right?  Casablanca is probably referenced in this show more than one could possibly realize. There have lines cribbed from everything- James Bond, The Warriors, Quantum Leap, Jerry Maguire… part of the fun is realizing that yes, Nicole Richie and Ben Savage’s characters are, in fact, named Heather Chandler and Mark Ratner ( from the two greatest high school movies ever- Heathers and Fast Times At Ridgemont High).

Then there is that cast. Adam Baldwin as the indomitable Maj. ( now Col.) John Casey- a mix of his characters in My Bodyguard and Firefly ( Jayne Cobb=John Casey on earth and with a badge). The beautiful Yvonne Strahovski ( nicknamed Strahotski by libido charged fanboys) has grown into her difficult role of kick ass chick with a gun and a heart. How can you hate a show with a character nicknamed Captain Awesome, and Ryan McPartlin’s character has developed from one note joke to the person Chuck first tells about his secret. Sarah Lancater’s Ellie Bartowski is a smart woman who loves her brother to the point of almost smothering him, but she genuinely cares about what he is doing with his life. Jeff and Lester provide hilarious comic relief at the Buy More, and let’s face it, Jeffster is the coolest lame ass band in TV history. Morgan Grimes is the devoted best friend, and the Chuck-Morgan bromance is the stuff of legend. Then there is Zachary Levi as Chuck- handsome but not so much so as to be unbelievable as a geek, but not so geeky as to be off putting. He’s charming, affable, and funny, and a really great actor. I’m actually sure of the fact if it wasn’t for the show’s lead, the show would not work. Sometimes character and actor just mesh in a way as to become one. From all accounts, Zac Levi is an awful lot like Chuck in real life- video gamer, sweet, generous, and warm.

There are many reasons why Chuck deserves a third season, most of them listed above. But let me just say one more thing before I go and Twitter some more about the Subway thing and the season finale and just how beloved this show actually has become. I can tell you right now that the first two episodes were fun but didn’t inspire diehard loyalty from me. It wasn’t until the show’s mythology began to develop around the middle of season one I became hooked. What was a funny little spy show became deeper and more involved in “Chuck vs. the Alma Mater”, when you began to get a sense that the reason for Chuck to become the human intersect was bigger than originally thought. This is one show that has gotten better with each episode. Hurt by the ten month layoff the strike caused, being in the most competativetime slot ( Mondays at 8 ET- opposite House, Dancing With the Stars, The CBS comedies The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, and Gossip Girl on the CW), this show deserves so much better than NBC has given it. And the best thing I think NBC, after handing over five hours of prime time to a comedian ( even money from me Jay’s show fails), being in fourth place, and with little looking all that promising for them, is too reward a loyal, if small, audience.

Here’s hoping for season three of Chuck, with at least thirteen, preferably twenty two, episodes. There are worse things that could happen.

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Okay, sorry I slacked off the last two days, Chuck fans, I was simply so tired I couldn’t function all too well. To make it up to you all, some Chuck goodies.

I know we’ve all seen it, but here we are again: the promo for tomorrow’s episode, the season finale- Chuck vs. The Ring.

Next, a pic of the two men I adore, Zac Levi and Adam Baldwin. I love me some Chuck and Casey…

Maj. (now Col.) John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Chuck Bartowski ( Zachary Levi)

Maj. (now Col.) John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Chuck Bartowski ( Zachary Levi)

And now, the new hot Chuck viral video: JEFFSTER!

For good measure- cast photos:

Mark Christopher Lawrence, Joshua Gomez, Scott Krinsky, Julia Ling, Zachary Levi

Mark Christopher Lawrence, Joshua Gomez, Scott Krinsky, Julia Ling, Zachary Levi

Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin

Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin

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Chuck on the beach

Chuck on the beach

Another picture of the smoking hot Zac Levi as Chuck Bartowski. Remember to watch on Monday, April 27 at 8 PM ET on NBC ( City TV in Canada). Please remember to grab yourself some Subway $5 footlongs and drop off a comment card, ask for a recipt and mail it to Subway headquarters. Also add a note to NBC in Burbank.

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Chuck season finale promo. Ack!

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Are you excited? Have you ever wanted a Monday to come as quickly as you do right now? I know I can’t wait.

So, each night this week, I’ll link to a photo or video or something to remind you all to WATCH THE CHUCK SEASON TWO FINALE ( and pray to God it’s not the series finale) MONDAY NIGHT AT 8 ET ON NBC ( CITY TV IN CANADA).

Chuck and Casey- wet

Chuck and Casey- wet

Let’s start with our two sexy leading men- Zac Levi and Adam Baldwin. A little- damp…

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First off, Colonel is a funny word. Like Lieutenant in Canada, where it’s pronounced ” Lefftennant”. Just saying.

As season two of Chuck winds down, I have been thinking about a lot. Like how I am regretting not touting it as much as I should have. Not talking it up every week. I felt it would find an audience. Sadness suurounds me if next weeks season finale ends up being the series finale.

There is also the fact that I have been ignoring three of the best television performances. Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker has been enlightening. In the pilot she was a pretty blonde who could kick some convincing ass, but she has grown to be a woman with a deeply troubled past trying to escape through Government approved means, and one who is surprisingly caring and warm, two things one does not expect from a C.I.A. operative. Adam Baldwin, so good as Jayne Cobb and Animal Mother, got no glory as Maj. John Casey, N.S.A. super badass. Yes, Casey hasn’t been given much in extraordinary emotional range, but that’s the genius of it. Casey is always combat ready, so it makes those emotional moments strangely effecting. Then there is Zachary Levi’s Chuck Bartowski, the opposite of Casey in every way. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, unable to hide is love for Sarah even if he really needed to. He’s no spy in a classic sense, but has proved time and again he could be if he would just relax and remember that they have his back. He’s a genius with slacker tendencies, more at home with Call of Duty than his actual call of duty. Levi gives Chuck the perfect balance between sweet naivete and calculating brilliance.

This show has been one that has just improved with each passing episode. The pilot was amusing, buoyed by Levi’s excessive charm and comic stylings, and while the action was really good, it lacked a certain heart. I cared about Chuck, but not enough at the moment to be moved by the fact that his dead college roommate downloaded a computer into Chuck’s brain and ruin his life. The second episode really was just a bridge to the third, when the show began to find it’s footing. Chuck’s ability as the Intersect aids the missions, but his general good guy behavior keeps getting him into trouble. He has an inability to stay in the car. He feels the need to rescue Sarah at every moment, despite the fact he knows he proably will end up being saved by her in the end. He doesn’t know what to make of Casey, whether Casey was friend or foe. Poor Chuck, and then the show just kept getting better. Bryce Larkin wasn’t dead. Fulcrum appears. And the mythology the show builds itself on solidified and it got REALLY good REALLY fast.

Which makes last night’s episode really interesting. the few criticisms I have heard are all valid. It was packed full of the myth and the fandom. Sarah and Chuck almost go at it- to be stymied by the fact there is a Morgan Grimes ” IOU one Condom” note in Chuck’s wallet. Casey is promoted to Colonel and tries to be the cold badass, but is really just mad he wasn’t invited along for the ride. Sarah let’s all her emotion out, but at what cost in the end? Awesome stumbles into Casey’s life- and Chuck needs to tell the truth in order to ultimately protect Casey from impending stalker, assault, and attempted murder charges ( and Awesome from the unleashed Casey). Awesome comes through by being, well, awesome, and trying to calm a devastated Ellie when Chuck and her dad both appear M.I.A. Morgan decides to leave the Buy More to become a benihani chef… okay, some things are still ridiculous at the face of it.

The show has always used two things cleverly. The music ( last night, Bon Iver). A blend of 80s craptastical genius, indie brilliance, and an propulsive house score.  The music is too cool for words. The other thing is the pop culture references. For one thing, Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak seem to be much enamored of the 80s Chevy Chase classic Spies Like Us. And last night, between Big Mike’s Godfather impersonation, the slow clap, Morgan carrying Anna out of Buy More ( well, attempting to), The drive-in, the ” can you dig it?”, Scott Bakula being awesome, Chevy Chase being awesome, the strange desire to have a Pepsi, Emmett Milbarge- the show is in love with pop culture.

The fact is, Chuckhas become the most consistently funny, heart warming, thrilling show on television. The fact that it’s on the bubble disappoints me a great deal, seeing as it’s fresh and unique in this landscape. Why aren’t you watching it? I know I’m tuning in next week for the season finale to see if there is any clue where it will go if it does miraculously get a third season. I pray you all do the same.

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Simply the best TV show on TV. Watch. Watch. Watch. Watch.

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Chuck Mini Post of the Day

Just reminding everyone if they missed Monday’s episode, go to NBC.com or Hulu and watch there. They count those, you know.

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I spend waaaa-aaay to much time watching the TV. I admit it. But I’m an obsessive creature by nature, and I tend to latch on to shows. Fortunately, I also suffer form what is known as a short attention span, so I obsess over multiple shows at multiple times. But once as show has hooked me, i am generally hooked for the run. That being said, most of the time I can see a natural stopping point and don’t throw a gigantic fit when shows end or- shudder- are cancelled.

For instance, I admire a lot about Friday Night Lights, but I am not a regular viewer and would honestly not miss it if it were to go off the air. Friendshonestly ran about two seasons too long, but even a half assed season was pretty good. I’m still disappointed about how Gilmore Girlsended, but that had a lot to do with the Palladinos leaving and less about the show itself ( the last season was wildly uneven, but still seemed oddly appropriate). I pray for a How I Met Your Motherrenewal every spring ( it’s a safe bet this year- syndie money looks pretty lucrative for the show), but a lot of that is the show’s internal mythology is still being played out, and if it was ever truly in danger, I’d be out on it too.

Four of my five favorite TV shows all air at the exact same time on Monday nights. HIMYM and The Big Bang Theoryare on CBS, and both are safe ( TBBT picked up a two year gift from CBS earlier this year). Houseis on Fox, where it’s in season five, in no danger whatsoever ( it’s still a top rated drama), and after last weeks episode, still has the ability to stun regular viewers ( yes, I had my money on Taub offing himself). The other show is NBC’s hilarious spy dramedy, Chuck. This show is the only show I watch on TV right now that is seriously in trouble of cancellation.

So I have joined in the World Wide Web’s Save Chuck! manifesto. I have written a couple of pieces on Chuck in the last week, I have dedicated my television to Chuck, watched Chuck on Hulu and NBC.com, written to Ben Silverman, and I will be taking part in April 27th’s Finale Blowout ( go to Subway, buy the $5 foot long sub, take a comment card, write that you are doing this only because of Chuck, drop it into the comments box. They really do pay attention to that at corporate level, guys). And this is me writing to cyberworld out there asking for you to do the same. Watch it live if possible, let NBC know you are doing so, comment on every Chuck story you can find on major sites ( and even some minor ones- My own hits have been going up in the last week, thanks to some comments on more popular sites), but the sandwich. I never get involved in Save the show campaigns usually because I accept the cyclical nature of TV. But I admit that NBC’s programming strategy is currently enraging me, and letting the best show on TV go because of Jay Leno- that’s just idiotic.

P.S.- Chcuk fans, celebrate in the fact this week has Jordana Brewster’s Jill back, Scott Bakula is still here playing Stephen Bartowski (I think I’ve mentioned the genius of that casting, right?), and next week Sarah and Chuck go rogue and Casey is on their tail.

Who would WANT to cancel such perfection?

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I spent all this past long weekend hunkered down with every episode of my favorite spy show ever in marathon session ( only breaking to watch Conan O’Brien on ITAS, but that’s a different obsession thread). So I decided to come up with a list of my ten favorite episodes.

10. Chuck vs. the Imported Hard Salami

The kiss. The kiss. The kiss…

9. Chuck vs. Santa Claus

This very important to the mythology episode gave us an insight into Fulcrum- they are catching onto the fact they keep losing agents at the Buy More pretty quick ( it’s actually mentioned in a later episode), so they try to suss out who the CIA is so interested in. Turns out, it’s Chuck, and Sarah’s job description won’t let even an unarmed Fulcrum agent get away.

8. Chuck vs. The Third Dimension

The 3D episode that aired after Superbowl Sunday was a good stand alone episode, not completely drenched in show mythology ( although enough of it to keep regulars interested). Dominic Monaghan’s rock star is one of the most hilarious characters in Chuckiverse. He really seems to like Casey’s tranqs…

7. Chuck vs. The Cougars.

Nicole Richie doesn’t totally suck. Really. And we get some genuine Sarah back story.

6. Chuck vs. The Predator

One of the heaviest episodes in both tone and mythology, the search for Orion and the impact of Chuck’s choices nearly costs everyone. The Buy More subplot was really funny as well. Emmett with a bat, people!

5.Chuck vs. the Alma Mater

The Stanford Episode. This is where the mythology really begins to start up, and we get a lot of Bryce Larkin-Chuck answers we needed.

4. Chuck vs. The DeLorean

You have to love a show so into Nerdvana that the famed Back To The Future car plays a key role in the Morgan world and the Chuck world. The thing makes a terrible getaway car, as it dies if you go over twenty two miles per hour.

3. Chuck vs. The Marlin

The season one finale involves a four foot stuffed Marlin, an engagement ring, the CIA robbing Buy More, mammary cam, Chuck’s cover being blown, and Casey actually being conflicted about his new assignment.

2. Chuck vs. The Suburbs

This excellent episode gives Charah shippers some bliss, but also gives us intrigue, the Intersect, Fulcrum, and some answers and new questions. Plus some of the best music uses in the series. 

1. Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer

The math that forms the basis of video games and music comes into play in this episode, which Missile Command saves the world from WWIII ( and Chuck playing it- Chuck does save the world often with geek stuff). Funny, myth growing ( Fulcrum story was beginning to pick up steam), with awesome music and yes- JEFF has fans.

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Today’s Chuck Mini Post

Shhh, at work, supposed to be filing crap, but…
SouthLAnd debuts tonight. this is the show that Chuck fans have been super worried about.
I hope we aren’t going to have a pineapple situation.
Pineapple. Heh. Love that word. Great on pizza.

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The recent cancellation of ABC’s great remake of BBC’s ” Life On Mars” annoyed me a great deal. Good shows aren’t given chances anymore ( Seinfeld would be cancelled now if it got the type of ratings the first season got). Bad shows aren’t given chances, either, but beggars, choosers, never the twain shall meet. The following five shows are currently on the air and are on the bubble. Four are shows I enjoy a great deal but could survive without if need be. The fifth is a show I would possibly go postal over if it was cancelled.

5. Mad Men ( AMC)

I am unaware of where the movie channel falls in the realm of American cable channels. But on my Canadian cable service, it’s included in the third tier standard cable pack and in the lower fifty channels. We watch the network a lot in my house ( hey, I got a thing for eighties schlock horror and bad war movies and constant Godfather marathons). But in this sadly lacking movies movie network is a surprisingly smart man who has taken up the mantle of what HBO used to. Bless the exec who grabbed Matthew Weiner’s  sixties era ad drama when HBO turned it away.

The series is pitch perfect in tone- it kinda feels like a sixties era drama in some way. It is deliberately paced, with impossibly beautiful people populating dark smoky rooms in expensive looking clothes. But it is also darkly subversive, hinting at the socio-political changes about to explode while still reacting to the strait-laced ideals of the fifties. It’s not an easy series to watch- it cuts straight to the heart of it’s characters. In fact, it’s not just a historical piece, it’s a pretty affecting psychological drama.

4. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

I know, it’s been on for four year, and with syndication money coming up, it seems unlikely that the show will be cancelled ( not to mention there is talk of an eight year plan? Really?) But this and it’s preceding program, the much buzzed about “The Big Bang Theory”, are two really great sitcoms that bend the parameters of the classic multi-camera. Of the two, HIMYM is actually more genre bending. Yes, there is a laugh track, but I hardly noticed it for three seasons. They play with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and memory flaws. There are hints, red herrings, and the show has it’s own separate language. Damn it, this show brought the word “awesome” back to awesomeness. Even when the story telling becomes to goofy, to out there, there is something about this show that is surprisingly heart warming and gentle. 

3.  Flashpoint (CTV/CBS)

It’s not just national pride here. Do I like seeing a show about Canada, sounding like Canada, on TV? Of course. But the Canadiana is limited. It’s about the cops, their job, the impact.

The fact is, Flashpoint is a very different kind of cop show. Snipers have always been the cavalry that comes in in SWAT jackets and rifles and save the day. The life and emotions of these people have never really been dealt with on television. It’s a thrilling show to watch- it is a well produced cop show. But the strength actually lies within it’s cast- particularly Hugh Dillon, who has the ability to break hearts without saying a word. A strongly ACTED cop show is a rarity.

2. 30 Rock (NBC)

NBC has been getting a lot of flack. A LOT of flack. A lot of it from me. The former network series champion has suffered from a drastic turn of events the last five years to be fourth place. A lot of this comes from Fox having American Idol, 24, and House, three shows that dominated for a few years. Some of it has to do with CBS being able to re-brand itself with crime dramas and solid comedies. ABC has managed to stay a float with popular reality shows. NBC has been stuck. It hasn’t had a huge hit that doesn’t involve Howie Mandel and a suitcase in FIVE YEARS. Even when they get lucky ( the first season of Heroes), they manage to screw it up somehow. It’s flagship shows, the Law and Order triad, have gotten stale, old, and floundered ( the mothership has gained some strength in the last season due to recasting efforts, but it still comes off as comfort food viewing, and the ratings are way down from the glory years of the mid to late 90s). They even moved Criminal Intent to cable ( where, surprisingly, it thrived. Go figure.)

NBC has tried to keep up with what made it so fabulous in the 80s and 90s- Thursday night comedy. And the comedies are good. The three really good ones are all in the Scrubs vein- single camera oddball shows that have their own language and style. Earl and the Office both had a great hook when they started-  Earl had a new and interesting premise, the Office had a pedigree.

30 Rock has Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, two of the greatest things to happen to American comedy in the last ten years- and so few people are watching it. It boggles my mind. The show has always been hit or miss, but man- when it hits, it really hits. The show is never going to be joke- punchline. It’s smart comedy, subversive, shocking, fearless comedy.

Never mind, I think I just answered my question.

1.Chuck (NBC)

So I believe that NBC should rethink it’s programming  strategy- take the place of Fox as the network unafraid of being the place where shows can be experimental, fearless, and yes, even low rated. Be the new cult show network. Don’t be scared. Yes, ad revenue will be down. But cult TV fans are loyal and spend according to the cult they follow.

Which explains my strong desire, as a Chuck fan, for I Phones, Nerd Herd shirts, and $5 foot longs from Subway. I also want an Intersect. But I digress.

Chuck is probably one of the top three shows on the air right now. It is probably the greatest action comedy show in the history of television ( i am that bold). It’s another fiercely subversive show, a show in which technology, geeks, and science rule the world. Our everyman Chuck is a genius supercomputer with absolutely no implants or anything in his brain. He is just that smart. The show takes swipes at commercial culture as well ( the employees at Buy More are the laziest SOBs in the world). But mostly, it’s a cool show to watch. Zachary Levi is a charming, funny guy who deserves the success this show should bring him. Adam Baldwin is on this show, people, and Browncoats should be there to see his John Casey as one of the greatest creations right now on television 9 what does it tell you that the man has to be shot three times with a tranq gun to bring him down- and that little smile on his face and the little noise he makes when he falls over stoned? Priceless). The show also speaks volume about family and loyalty, which is really rare these days. It’s not a typical family- Chuck lives with his sister, sure, but both their parents took off when they were young, they raised themselves. They are close without coming off as needy and creepy. The family has extended to include Morgan and Devon, Sarah and yes, even John Casey. This is the family of geek culture, my friends.

Plus, how can you not love a spy comedy? The explosions, the gadgets, the constant Star Wars references ( ” Chuck, you’re my only hope” has popped up a few times with precise cadence without being cloying). The fact our hero has a super computer inside his head. The fact he has to live these two very different lives. The fact Devon’s nickname is Captain Awesome ( this is not even a cynical, sarcastic nickname- he really is that awesome). Everything is right about this show. Why aren’t you watching, people?

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Truth: I love TV, but I often don’t get involved in ” Save the Show” campaigns because most TV I don’t love and tear my hair out over or even believe needs the time to tell the story. The only reason I even got upset about the who NBC-Scrubs fiasco last year was because the strike put Bill Lawrence’s story in jeopardy.

Not this time, no.

I am a huge, marathon watching ” Chuck” fan. I mean hardcore. It never gets mentioned here because- in all truthfulness- Zachary Levi has replaced my long time love Jason Segel as future husband number one (in the alternative universe in which I am beautiful and working in film as opposed to being a snark queen in an office). I have seen every episode multiple times and i am perfectly content to watch this show every day for the rest of my life.

NBC is “Chuck” ‘s network down U.S.A. way, and they have yet to announce whether or not the show has been picked up for season three.  I’m going to give them five reasons to save it right now.

  1. You are the morons that screwed it up

NBC did not bring back anything after the writer’s strike was resolved, limiting the Nerd Herd a very thrilling but abrupt thirteen episodes ( and frankly, those thirteen episodes worked better than most as a series, but my ideas on how to fix network television will wait for another day). NBC should have brought their shows back up and gotten another four to five episodes. It could have been done.

             2. Move it.

Chuck’s constant fourth place finishes comes down to one thing. Scheduling. It’s pulling 5.5 shares in the same hour as Big bang and HIMYM on CBS, Dancing with the Geriatrics on ABC 9 sorry), House on Fox, Gossip Girl on CW. Is there nowhere else on the sked to put it? Even with Leno coming at ten?

            3. Frankly, there isn’t a whole lot else to save.

NBC’s in fourth because of two things- poor counter scheduling and bad shows. The whole L&O franchise is fading, remaining on air on the strength of Dick Wolf’s desire to break some records.  SVU got another pick up, but seriously, I think it’s time to pack all three of those shows in. Heroes crashed and burned after a fantastic first season. The Office has hit syndie numbers, which means it’s on the way down and out. Don’t cancel a good show when you have soooooo many shitty ones.

                    4. Precedent

Okay, this is what I’m going to say about this. 30 Rock. Yes, Chuck isn’t an awards magnet ( it should be, but it’s not), but it’s situation is comparable to my other favorite NBC show. A low rated critical fave that has rabid cult/Internet following who are sounding mighty pissed off about the fact spoilers leaked sound like an series finale.

                 5. Zachary Levi is cute.

And funny, charming, a fantastic actor- come on, here.

Okay, I didn’t say they were reasonable reasons. Or logical.

And Bonus reason- Adam Baldwin is fantastic. He’s so believable, I’m thinking about hiring John Casey to track down those who are leaving me so tortured at night.

              

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