Coming up are some thoughts on the first episode of Heroes, and I thought that while I was at it, I may as well give a quick summary of NBC’s new show Chuck, which plays to the nerds at least as much as Heroes.
The previews actually had me pretty excited over this one, and I need a wingman for Heroes this season. (Studio 60 filled that role last year, first because of my undying love of Sportsnight, then out of macabre fascination.) For anyone who missed the tons of promos, Chuck Bartowski is essentially a Geek Squad guy who “downloads” some top-secret government info into his brain, making him the target of lots of people with guns.
Aside from the expected gaps in logic, the show was fast and fun and barely avoided overdoing the geek jokes. Yvonne Strzechowski, who plays the sexy agent saving Chuck, reminds me of Christine Taylor, the eventual Mrs. Ben Stiller. While not the greatest actress, she gave her character plenty of emotion when it could’ve been played far more straight. It’s just a shame the creative team felt it necessary to stick her in two gratuitous panty shots.
Zachary Levi, who plays Chuck, is the real attraction, though. He has the same dopey charismatic vibe of Jimmy Fallon, but far surpasses that grinning jackass. Levi can actually act, a useful skill in the pictures. The pilot effectively got across that this huge event threw a serious burden on Chuck, which felt believable thanks more to Levi than the writing.
I also liked the wrinkle of having Chuck’s old roommate being the one who pulls him into the spy game. The unanswered questions left by that — Why did he do it? Did he mean to do it? What was he stealing the files for? — and the emotional void left by the roommate’s death are what will keep me watching, at least for now.