Basic premise: Chuck Bartowski's life is a mess. He got kicked out of Stanford, his girlfriend dumped him for his best friend, and for the last several years he's been living with his sister and working in the Nerd Herd at Buy More. Then he accidentally downloads a government database into his brain and he's the only copy. Sarah Walker and John Casey are assigned to be his handlers and Chuck is suddenly thrust into a world of spies, lies, and kung-fu.
Intrigued yet? Here are the 10 things I loved about Chuck. I tried REALLY hard to keep this spoiler free, but the fact that I'm talking about all 5 seasons may spoil some basic things (like who lives all the way to the end) so you decide if you want to read or go watch and then come back and tell me if you agreed or disagreed :)
- The Overarching Arc. One thing I really appreciated about the series as a whole was the way that they were never afraid to make things progress. The flow felt really well paced and brought the characters to the places they needed to be at the right times. Each season moves the characters into new territory and forced them to grow. There are few shows I've watched that have had as well a paced larger story as this one.
- The Characters in General. They are all well defined and I have to hand it to the writers, the actors, and the directors, because I watch a good amount of TV and I connected to these characters more strongly than I've connected to a tv show cast in a long time. The casting was well done and the secondary characters are just as memorable (and important) as the main characters.
- Casey. I could do a bullet point on every character, but John Casey was the character that made me tear up more often than any other. I was already a fan of Adam Baldwin (mainly from Firefly) and he has this fantastic way of saying so much with only a grunt (oh, Casey's grunts - more eloquent than other's flowery speeches) or a twitch of his eye or a subtle shift of his jaw. He's fiercely loyal and has an intense moral code that drives everything he does. Also, not to get political or anything, but I really loved the fact that he was a die-hard Reagan admirer and wasn't ashamed of his own political views and that he wasn't portrayed as some sort of corrupt or wimpy person because of being a *gasp* republican.
- Ellie. I'm talking myself out of doing a bullet point on every character. Really. But Chuck's sister is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the character arc they developed with her. She's a respected doctor who juggles her family, job, and love life with grace and a little insanity. She is completely real, loves her brother with every fiber of her being, and has her own life and interests that are both separate and intertwined with the main storyline. And this one leads me into my next point.
- Strong Female Characters. It's sad that this stands out to me. And even here the main character (and quite a few of the secondary characters) are white males. Anyway - that's another discussion. Although the show is called Chuck and he is the main character, the story is just as much about Sarah's journey as it is about Chuck's. Sarah is strong, intelligent, talented, fierce, feminine - her character arc is intriguing and she grows even more than Chuck (in my opinion) over the course of the series. And the ending of the series is certainly as much about her, if not more, than it is about Chuck. And I've already referenced Ellie above. There are a number of other strong female characters throughout the series as well including General Beckman and others I won't mention for fear of spoilers.
- Humor. Every episode brought laugh out loud moments. The one-liners and quips are peppered throughout without being overdone. And the running gags made me feel like I was sharing an inside joke with the characters.
- Serious Issues. This is one of those brilliant shows that manages to blend humor and serious, sometimes intense and intensely emotional, situations perfectly. Although I was laughing regularly, I was also moved on a regular basis. The characters go through real personal growth and they can't do that without facing some very challenging and stretching issues. Each character, no matter how minor, faces some sort of challenge that causes them to change in some way (some more than others), but I believe that this is one of the things that made this more than just a fun show for me.
- Morgan Grimes. I know, I know. Another character. I felt I couldn't pass him over though. I wasn't a big fan of the arc in the beginning of season 5, but I also think that there was good reason for the writers to take that path (I also think that they were just having some fun in their last season). He's a funny little guy who could so easily have been simply the comic relief (and he often was), but the writers didn't leave him there and I appreciated that.
- Bromance. I've seen some great/fun TV bromances - Chandler and Joey, J.D. and Turk, Damon and Alaric, Scott and Stiles (yes I am a giant nerd) but Morgan and Chuck's ranks really really high on the list. They are truly the best of friends. They fight like friends, they have dozens of inside jokes, they practically are walking memories of each other. They bring out the best in each other and always, always have each other's backs.
- Everything. I love the Buy More. I love Jeffster. I love all the Subway product placement. I love the videos on the screens that so often reflected things going on in the show. I love the fact that I can watch the whole series over again if I want because it's still streaming on Netflix!