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Chuck - Season 2 [DVD] 
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The complete second season of the US comedy series starring Zachary Levi as Chuck, a computer geek who unwittingly downloads a database of government secrets into his brain. As a result, Chuck finds himself employed as a spy by veteran NSA Agent, John Casey (Adam Baldwin). Episodes comprise: 'Chuck Versus the First Date', 'Chuck Versus the Seduction', 'Chuck Versus the Break-Up', 'Chuck Versus the Cougars', 'Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer', 'Chuck Versus the Ex', 'Chuck Versus the Fat Lady', 'Chuck Versus the Gravitron', 'Chuck Versus the Sensei', 'Chuck Versus the Delorean', 'Chuck Versus Santa Claus', 'Chuck Versus the Third Dimension', 'Chuck Versus the Suburbs', 'Chuck Versus the Best Friend', 'Chuck Versus the Beefcake', 'Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon', 'Chuck Versus the Predator', 'Chuck Versus the Broken Heart', 'Chuck Versus the Dream Job', 'Chuck Versus the First Kill', 'Chuck Versus the Colonel' and 'Chuck Versus the Ring'.
Chuck Bartowski, ace computer geek at Buy More, is not in his right mind. That's a good thing. Ever since he unwittingly downloaded stolen government secrets into his brain, action, excitement and a cool secret agent girlfriend have entered his life. It's a bad thing, too. Because now Chuck is in danger 24/7. Executive producers Josh Schwartz (The OC) and McG (Charlie's Angels, We Are Marshall) merge techno-gadgetry, martial-arts smack-downs, narrow escapes and gorgeous spies in short shorts into this action comedy about a millennium Everyguy. Think James Bond in a sub-compact. Think Jason Bourne with a pocket protector. Season 2 continues with high action and top comedy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The second season of Chuck picks up after the events of the first season (truncated by the 2007-08 Writer's Guild of America strike) and, for a while, it's business as usual. The Chuck formula - Chuck solves a spy problem whilst dealing with a more mundane crisis at home or at the store - is intact and remains entertaining, but also risks becoming stale after a few episodes. Luckily, the writers have taken steps to minimise that problem by bringing in a sequential series of multi-episode storylines. In short order, Chuck has to deal with the reappearance of an old girlfriend, try to track down his missing father so he can give his sister away at her wedding, find the original scientists who created the Intersect, deal with a CIA investigation into Sarah's ability to be his handler (given their growing closeness) and deal with a head-on confrontation with FULCRUM, a shadowy and criminal intelligence organisation.
This structure allows the series to sustain 22 episodes without becoming too tedious or repetitive, helped by enjoyable writing and great performances from the regulars and guest stars (Scott Bakula! Tricia Helfer! Chevy Chase!) alike. The writers aren't afraid to give real character development and growth to their recurring actors, particularly Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski as Chuck and Sarah. Their will-they, won't-they relationship may be a long-running series cliche, but is given a few twists here (particularly the fact that Sarah is well aware of Chuck's feeling from the start) that makes it a bit more interesting. Particularly well-done is that it feeds Chuck's character growth, turning him from a listless nerd into a much more capable spy by the end of the season. Adam Baldwin also develops a bit more as action man John Casey over the course of the season, though surprisingly he doesn't have many episodes that focus on his character. Instead he is mainly used for macho comic relief, aside from some nice moments in the final episodes where he grudgingly admits to, if not liking, than at least finding Chuck mildly tolerable and useful.
As usual, the dramatic storylines are counterbalanced by a strong humour quotient. This usually manifests in storylines in the Buy More. Over the course of the season there are multiple changes in management, culminating in the power-crazed Emmett rising to dominance late in the season. We also encounter Lester and Jeff's synth-rock cover band (whose covers are...interesting, to say the least) and feel Morgan's pain as his mother embarks on a noisily passionate relationship with Big Mike. As with the first season, though it's not as prevalent this time around, there is the feeling that you could set a whole series in the Buy More with these characters and it would be just as much fun without the spy stuff.
Overall, the second season of Chuck (****½) is relentlessly entertaining. There are a couple of episodes that don't work quite as well as the others, but otherwise this is a terrific season of television which rarely flags or lets up the pace. The only problem is that by its end if feels like the series is pretty much over, and the addition of a few moments at the end of the finale establishing the direction of the third season feels a little incongruous: the series was very nearly cancelled after Season 2 and renewed at the last minute, explaining why the end of the season wraps everything up and then rather abruptly opens up again. The series is available now in the UK (DVD) and USA (DVD, Blu-Ray).
The main cast has grown on me. Zachary Levy as Chuck the underachieving nerd with potential is simply perfect in his part as he manages to be convincingly nerdy while developing into an action lead. Yvonne Strahovski, as Sarah his still-unrequited love interest, is a lot more subtle an actress than I initially gave her credit for. Bonus point for being Australian totally convincing as American, plus another for actually needing a stunt double less than anyone else in the cast. Looking as gorgeous as she does doesn't hurt either.
There's a lot more going on than was revealed in the first season where Chuck got the superduperramalamadingdong computer The Intersect downloaded into his brain making him a national resource at risk from enemy action. Now we gradually find out that almost everyone in his past life is involved with it and that by the end it was pretty much only Chuck who could actually contain it in the first place. There really is a whole load, a mountain's worth even, of skulduggery involved as Chuck learns the secrets of his past.
I've become rather fond of Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), Chuck's sister's husband to be, nicknamed after his favourite word. My first impression was of a stupid jock but while McPartlin partly plays him like that, the actor does far more with what could have been a nothing of a role. Awesome is a truly good person, genuinely kind and considerate albeit not the most perceptive person in the world. Originally just a throwaway character for the first season, the writers and producers saw what I've just described and he's now an important part of the cast.
The list of guest stars is to die for. Well, if you're into cult TV or movies that is. Guesting in four episodes is the lovely Jordana Brewster who lives in my memory as the lesbian criminal mastermind who falls in love with her good spy counterpart in the 12-rated spy/comedy/action/lesbian romcom D.E.B.S. (an Ian 5* recommended movie). Here she is the girl who broke his heart and now re-enters Chuck's life only for him to discover (spoiler warning but I'll be surprised if you're surprised)she works for the bad guys and always has. British actor Jonathan Cake is great as a tough MI6 agent who strikes sparks with Sarah much to Chuck's displeasure.
In the buildup to the season's climax, we finally meet Chuck's long missing father and he's played by the always-likeable Scott Bakula! (Quantum Leap!) And when he gets to say his catchphrase "Whoo boy", my face broke into a grin of sheer geek delight. I'm not going to tell you his precise role in Chuck and his sister Dr Ellie's lives but suffice to say, it's a doozy.
Other names of note include Chevy Chase as a billionaire computer baddie, Arnold 'The Mummy' Vosloo as a (and how did you guess) baddie, Michael Rooker (who should need no introduction), Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5) as Ellie's future father-in-law, Morgan Fairchild as Ellie's future...etc, etc, Dominic Monaghan (LOTR) as a British rock star, Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica -the Cylon in the Red Dress!) as a CIA agent with plans to replace Sarah (booo!), and lots of other people I've vaguely or not heard of, and Nicole Richie (famous for being the adopted daughter of Lionel and ex-BFF of Paris Hilton) as Sarah's high school nemesis.
The scripts are sheer delight with wonderfully witty dialogue and some hilarious scenes. Point worth noting, as Levi says in a DVD extra, in his real life Chuck is the straight man and in his spy life he's the comic relief. Even the idiots Chuck works with in Buy More are more amusing than in the first series, though the Chinese girl doesn't get enough to do. (I like quirky women. My favourite character in Holby City is the ascerbic Ukrainian goth Dr Petrenko.)
And just in case you think I've forgotten, the show wouldn't be nearly as good without the contributions of the actor playing Agent Casey, the true American patriot with menace and a sense of humour that you can cut your fingers to bleeding ribbons on, the one and only, the amazing Adam Baldwin.
Perfect light entertainment.
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