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Disappointing End to the Best Teen Action Comedy,
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This review is from: Chuck - Season 5 [DVD]  (DVD)
My whole family - esp. my sons - were really excited about seeing the final series of Chuck. We really loved the first 4 series and Season 4 had ended at a good point with plenty of potential for hilarity and action - for Morgan, for Chuck & Sarah, for Jeff & Lester. We put in the disks for Season 5 with high hopes of more of the incredible entertainment we had enjoyed is Seasons 1-4. But I'm sorry to say - we were disappointed.
Sadly it's only Jeff & Lester's story which shines in Season 5 - the rest of the series is strangely flat and it took me a long time to work out why.....
It's not the guest stars - actors of the calibre of Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Bo Derek (10) could not be improved upon. None of the re-appearing guest stars from previous series lets the side down either. And it's not the acting of the regular cast - Levi and company all deliver the best performances that the material allows. But that's the crux of the matter - the writers seem to be unsettled by seeing the end coming and the whole season - particularly towards the end - feels tired and wistful to the point of being maudlin.
Where the Chuck/Sarah relationship goes is especially disappointing. Daniel Radcliffe became famous for saying in interviews that each Harry Potter film was "much darker than the last one" - and perhaps the success of Harry Potter and recent Batmans has convinced writers everywhere that going darker is always better. In my opinion, it's not. I believe that character development can be both interesting and funny without being dark (look at Red Dwarf for an example). And - OK, we expect a certain amount of problems in relationships on TV because we know that, in TV programmes, problems create drama - and that solving those problems brings happy resolutions. However, with Chuck & Sarah the problem the writers construct feels a little formulaic and lazy, whilst the solution they offer is not thorough enough for the happy resolution that we all want. And, in the real world, that may be what life is sometimes like - but I wasn't aware that hard social realism was the core value of this show.
And, while the darkness is dialled up, the comedy is dialled down. In the early seasons of Chuck the comedy was a huge part of the show's success - the Buy More, in particular, often seemed to generate hilarious moments. In Season 5 it doesn't feel like there's so much Buy More and, while there are still laughs (esp. with Jeff and Lester and the ever-dependable Chuck) they are fewer and farther between. I wanted to tell the writers not to forget that Chuck is action comedy. I was left feeling that, in Season 5, the writers were getting a little short of ideas and, perhaps because of this, just started to take it all a bit too seriously......
When we'd finished the whole season, one of my sons reflected, "I didn't really like that so much. I wish they'd finished it with Series 4."
Sadly, I couldn't really disagree.