Where to start, and when to end, a question that must vex show runners and producers to no end on Network TV. If you have a hit, you want to keep it on the air and a hit for as long as possible. Then again around about season’s 7 and 8 a lot of hits have lost their creative juices and are going through the motions. One doesn’t want to over stay one’s welcome, and I know I’ve dropped out of more than one hit show (Friends, ER, Cheers, Hill Street Blues) once they passed a certain point where they seemed to be treading water.
Chuck was both blessed and cursed to never suffer that fate. Chuck was forced to tell their story and leave nothing on the table every season, because they never knew if they’d be back. And then when they were back and wrapped everything up in a nice tidy 13 episode package came the inevitable backorder. I firmly believe that if Chuck had done that 1.4 in demo the finale did all this season we’d be looking forward to the backorder to start in late February. But Chuck’s many endings, and many new beginnings gave us a lot more Chuck and a constantly re-imagined Chuck. In some ways we got Chuck TOS (seasons 1 & 2), Chuck Rebooted in season 3, Chuck, Mr & Mrs Smith Edition in season 4, and, well I’m not sure what to call season 5 yet. Other than Awesome of course.
So dear readers, this gives us an opportunity,to praise and celebrate Chuck for what it gave us rather than bemoan its ending and what it didn’t. Because like Sarah’s memories, something is never really gone if there are people around to remember and celebrate it. Join me for some polls and a celebration of some wonderful Chuck moments, after the jump.
I have a confession. This wasn’t my idea. Well it was and wasn’t. This is of course poll time, so that part, yeah, but one of our regular posters, MyNameIsJeffNImLost e-mailed me with an idea to find some of the best story arcs Chuck has ever done. The ideas for arcs were extensive, but I can’t recall if we discussed beginnings and endings, or who brought it up. In any case, my thanks to Jeff for the exchange and sparking, or coming up with the idea for these polls. Unless you hate them, then it was all me.
I’ve taken a few liberties in these polls and added a few bonus rounds. There are the obvious ones where you wind up the front 13 and kick off the backorder, but I put in a season 2 version of that with the original production order, later changed to get Third Dimension on after a big Super Bowl promotion. The original front 13 ending arc was Santa Claus, Best Friend, and Third Dimension. There obviously would have been a few tweaks in the episodes. The back order (which they were assured of very early on) kicked off with Suburbs, Beefcake and Lethal Weapon. In season 1, with the writer’s strike looming, and then arriving, they never finished the season order, so it’s closing arc is at a slight disadvantage. I added in another that I think was intentional as a season ending cliffhanger had the writer’s strike struck earlier, so you get to weigh in on how Truth, Hard Salami, Nemesis would have worked as a cliffhanger at the end of the season like most shows do. I’ve also added, for those expressing the opinion, the option of ending season 5 with the epilogue at the end of Chuck Versus The Baby.
So now for the polls. First where to start, with your top three opening arcs.
And now How to end, with your top three season or series finale arcs.