One topic that we’ve discussed several times here at Chuck This is all the different attitudes and interests different fans have. Sometimes its like we can’t all be watching the same show. The things we see are very different, and the things we want to see are very different. I’m pretty interested in having fun with any show I watch, so I like Chuck best when its loaded with action, humor, and the warm and fuzzy brand of romance, family , and friendships. Some viewers like darker themes, deep mythology, and profound character depth.
Recently I’ve been reading a lot of the older Chuck entries at FanFiction.net, and I find it interesting how views have shifted in the three seasons the show has been on the air.
I know fan fiction writers are not exactly typical fans, just as none of us who write or regularly read a blog could be called typical fans. But fan fiction writers leave a enduring record of their ideas as viewers at a particular time in the show’s history (yes, I find it easier to re-read old stories than it is to re-read old blogs or forum entries).
There was certainly some darkness in the show from the very start. But most of the early fan fiction is clearly just for fun. We certainly see less of the relationship angst that came to dominate in S3; certainly few triangles, although I guess its fair to concede Sarah was always portrayed as conflicted and complex. Many fics based on S1 revolved around the theme of Sarah taking Chuck off the grid to escape a kill or bunker order. I’ve previously recommended Sarah vs. the Long Flight, so I’ll add to that “Sarah vs. Green Bay” by Moe32. In many ways its a similar story, except Chuck and Sarah actually spend more time together. Like all S1 fics, it contains many details contrary to later canon. But its a fun story in its own way, its rating equivalent is a PG-13, and only takes maybe 3 hours to read. The overall writing quality is pretty good, although the piece is purely a romance.
For something completely different I’d also recommend a three story arc by Mrs. Phineas Bogg, starting with “Chuck vs. the Ex-Wife.” That would be Casey’s ex not Chuck’s! Her writing is different on several levels. For starters, Casey is generally the main character; although Chuck and Sarah certainly still matter. I think the writer does an excellent job of capturing the fun, simpler mood of early S1. Which is fitting, since this is the earliest multi-part Chuck story on fanfiction.net. The later installments are “Chuck vs. the Florists” and “Chuck vs. the Deja Vu”; but only the last story is from S2, the earlier ones are from before Christmas in S1! I would rate all her stories as PG, and can each be read in about 2 hours.
Now jumping way forward, I need to mention another complete AU (Alternate Universe) just getting under way. It is called “All the Roads That Lead to You are Winding” by TakeItTo22. The first chapter was published less than a month ago, and it shows all the signs of the very high quality complete AUs we’ve been seeing recently. How is it different? oh boy! It seems Chuck and Sarah were childhood best friends. Sarah became a CIA agent with similar back story to the show otherwise; but Chuck finished school, has become massively wealthy as a software developer, and is waging a vigilante war against an international criminal organization with the help of the Intersect and several high tech toys from his dad, ex-CIA buddy Bryce Larkin, and ex-girlfriend ex-Fulcrum agent Jill Roberts. This is a complex and rich mythology, written with a good narrative style and plenty of action. So far I’d rate this as a PG-13; allow about an hour to read the first chapters, the pacing suggests this story may get quite long!
As for other in-progress works I’ve mentioned: Billatwork is updating quickly with his latest “Chuck vs. the Prodigal Daughter.” This is a 20 years later follow on to his previous “Dark Intersect.” So far it mainly follows Chuck and Sarah’s daughter Kate, but Bill assures me there will be lots of Chuck and Sarah later.
Frea O’Scanlin (“What Fates Impose”) and NinjaVanish (“Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves”) are both updating every week or so, and these stories continue to be excellent. NinjaVanish has also started an extreme AU called “Chuck vs. The Frontier”, which is Chuck set in the 1890s (should it be Chuck vs. the Wild Wild West? or maybe Chuck vs. Briscoe County? well, none of those characters have shown up yet but you get the idea!)
bdaddydl has started publishing “Chuck vs. His Heritage” which is fun, and so far more action filled than his first work.
I hope I’m not forgetting anyone! There is so much good stuff to read. One regular commentator on this site recently brought up the concern about smutty or nasty stuff on fanfiction.net (as in he didn’t want to see it). Rest assured, fanfiction.net is well layed out so you will not “accidently” stumble across something most of us would find offensive. There is smut there, but you have to actively select it. And the site has a rating system similar to that used in video games to help with guidance (I usually translate it into MPAA speak for my articles, its what I know better). All that’s on top of the introductions most writers use. You should have all the content information you need before starting any story.