Chuck vs. The Newcomer

Intro to Chuck 101

I have a question.

Which three episodes of Chuck would you recommend to a friend who had never seen the show? Which three are the best to bring a new viewer into the fold?

I was thinking about this the other day and discovered one thing. The episodes that might make a best introduction aren’t necessarily my favorites. That’s a whole different list!

So this is what I decided.

Probably the least controversial pick for this mission would be the pilot, Chuck vs. The Intersect. By virtue of necessity this is where everyone is introduced and everything is set in motion, including the romance between Chuck and Sarah. It’s hard to imagine a better way to bring someone into the Chuck universe.

But wouldn’t Chuck vs. The Alma Mater to the same thing – introduce the back story? And wouldn’t Chuck vs. The Marlin show precisely the relationship between Chuck and Sarah in a way that explains why it’s the very heart of the show? Maybe. And they might be good choices. But both of those episodes show the characters, particularly Chuck and Sarah, after they’ve strongly influenced each other already. Those episodes can’t quite show us where they came from in the same way as the pilot, and that’s the rationale upon which I made my decision.

Now the job gets tougher! If the goal was to have someone enjoy the show as much as I, it’s very tempting to shortcut the process by putting my favorite episodes (or at least, my favorite scenes) on a silver platter. But then, what would they have to look forward to? It’s better, I think, to show them how the characters mature and grow and become concerned with the bigger picture.

There are about 147 episodes in Season 2 alone that accomplish that. Chuck becomes a hero in Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer. Sarah becomes vulnerable in Chuck vs. The Best Friend. She becomes human in Chuck vs. the Delorean and committed to Chuck’s cause in Chuck vs. Santa Claus.

And of course, Chuck himself grows up in the course of the season. It takes a while, but there’s one point where he finally stops his futile pining after the unattainable Sarah Walker and decides that there’s something more important he must do. Unfortunately for my musings, that one spot covers four episodes.

I’m talking about Chuck’s discovery that Orion invented the Intersect, can get it out of his head, and that once it’s gone he’s “…gonna live the life that I want with the girl that I love. Because I’m not gonna let this thing rob me of that. I won’t.” (in Chuck vs. The Lethal Weapon), the subsequent discovery that his father is alive (in Chuck vs. The Broken Heart) and the discovery that his father is Orion (in Chuck vs. The Dream Job). Chuck vs. The Predator, on of my personal favorites, is in that group too. It is much more than an afterthought, but cements Chuck’s personal mission.

So which do I choose? Why, none of those, of course! I would introduce someone to the show by having them watch Chuck vs. The First Kill.

You remember. It’s a relatively light-weight episode. It’s the one where Chuck gets his college girlfriend, Jill, who left him for Bryce Larkin and broke his heart, out of a federal prison to help him find his father. It’s the episode where Chuck’s spy-craft is reduced to the ridiculous (and embarrassing) maneuver called “The Morgan” and an equally ridiculous fight scene in a Fulcrum lair.

So what’s to recommend it, then? One thing. I said above that Chuck has decided Sarah is unattainable, at least, for the moment. And perhaps she is to anyone who would spend his days orbiting her endlessly, making affectionate goo-goo eyes like a schoolboy. But from the moment Chuck gets perspective, from the moment his partner realizes that Chuck would sacrifice everything, including a relationship with her, to do the right thing, that’s the moment Sarah realizes she would do anything for him.

Sarah: Take off your watch.
Chuck: [Whispers] Why?
Sarah: [in his ear] Because it’s all a lie. Your dad is still out there. Beckman sent me to get you to bring you back to Castle. They’re gonna take you underground. We have to run.

As amazing it was, we don’t need to see the dingy motel in Barstow; what Barstow represents to us is inevitable. We don’t need to hear Sarah tell Chuck “It’s real,” because we know it is. We don’t need to see Chuck’s journey, because we are watching their journey now, together. After that last scene in Chuck vs. The First Kill, we can’t wait for Chuck and Sarah to get together, even if we have no idea how they will accomplish that feat. We just want to see it happen and any new viewer will want to also.

My final choice is the hardest yet. I’d love to show prospective Chuck fans the incredible release and fun that we all had with Chuck vs. The Honeymooners and the incredible bond between the two in Chuck vs. Phase Three. I’d want them to see their engagement in Chuck vs. The Push Mix and how Chuck and Sarah made it to the alter and planned their future in Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger.

But Phase Three is almost all about Sarah, and really, most of season three is about Chuck’s travails as he comes to grips with the bigger issues he faced in Season 2. Seeing them engaged and married almost removes the incentive to see everything else, and would lose all emotional impact for lack of the build-up.

For my last introductory choice, I pick another transitional episode at the end of Season 3. Sarah became totally committed to Chuck at the end of Season 2 when she realized that he would sacrifice his own happiness for his friends and family, even if it meant losing her. But at the end of Season 3, Chuck decides that the only thing that mattered was Sarah, and happiness has little to do with it. In Chuck vs. The Subway and in Chuck vs. The Ring Pt. 2, he will leave, return, fight the Intersect and die, all for Sarah. (So, I cheated. It was a two-parter!)

The best thing is, the story is not done when the Buy More explodes; there’s plenty more for the new view to see and enjoy, and the season finale leads you right to it. Indeed, although it was many months later, we only had to wait three more episodes to see Chuck on one knee, showing Sarah a ring. Fake out! “I didn’t think we were there yet!” Chuck says. But we did. So did Sarah.

Showing those three/four episodes, Chuck vs. The Intersect, Chuck vs. The First Kill and Chuck vs. The Subway/The Ring Pt. 2 gives the first time viewer much of the flavor of Chuck, puts the adventure and comedy in proper perspective to the romance and still leaves them wanting more. At least, I think it does! Certainly choosing only three episodes to introduce the show means that almost all my favorite episodes, scenes, moments, action sequences and music get left out. But the exercise did make me consider and appreciate many other episodes in a different light, and I’m sure there are important facets and threads important to the show that I’ve omitted. There are many incredible guest-star performances, Scott Bakula’s, Tim Dalton’s and Linda Hamilton’s especially, that get completely left out.

So what say you, fans? Let me know what choices you would make!

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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112 Responses to Chuck vs. The Newcomer

  1. I like this thread. I’d keep Chuck vs The Intersect, but then I’d go with Colonel and The Ring (pt. 1). Subway/Pt 2 give away some major spoilers, I think. Plus Colonel/Ring is just the best combination of all Chuck’s myriad factors meshing perfectly. They’re not my favorites, but I can’t think of any time where the heart, humor and action were all this good at the same time, except maybe Push Mix.

    Ultimately, though, I’d really just go Pilot-Helicopter-Tango. If it ain’t broke…

    • joe says:

      Hard to pick, ain’t it, Arthur? 😉

    • You know, Joe, the thing about Phase 3, Push Mix, Honeymooners, even The Ring 2… part of why those are so fun is because we went through all the tough times with the characters. When Sarah’s pouring her heart out in Phase 3, we know how big of a moment that is because we’ve seen her father, we’ve seen her weird unpacking habits, we’ve seen all the hangups and insecurities that make that moment so hard for her. When she says in Ring 2, “That’s what makes him great” we can empathize with it, because Chuck just spent a year preparing for the question of whether to kill Shaw in cold blood.

      I like Colonel/Ring because it doesn’t solve the Chuck/Sarah question, and it shows the potential of the new intersect. Really, “Guys, I know Kung Fu” is about the most memorable line of the series. Who wouldn’t want to watch that show?

      • joe says:

        Absofreakinlutely, Arthur.

        One of our longest running conversations here on Chuck This! has been the idea of the journey vs. the destination. I’ve been one of those who’s mostly claimed that the story’s fun is found in the traveling to the goal.

        I’m sure we’re going to get into that again, but this exercise was, for me, the first time I had to think in terms of plot points. I had to ask “what are the most important things to cover?” and “where are they covered most efficiently?”

        We’re going to see that people would have different things highlighted by their choices.

      • Well, your picks do a better job of summarizing the series, definitely. My thinking was more of providing a hook – wanting the person to be curious what’s happening without spoiling too much of the overall plot. After reading Ernie’s post, though, I might change it to First Date, then Colonel-Ring, because that would be less jarring of a transition.

    • anthropocene says:

      I’m with you, Arthur—why not just go with the first 3 episodes? I think those would leave the hypothetical friend hungry for the rest of S1 and beyond.

      One of my grad students was preparing for her qualifying exams this past summer: a four-month process involving intensive review of hundreds of research journal articles and then writing three original 40-page essays. I slipped her the Season 1 DVD. She said it helped her survive her quails. She passed and she’s up to Season 3 now. It’ll be interesting to learn what she thinks of THAT season….

    • Agree Pilot-Helicopter-Tango. If they’ll watch 4, skip to Alma Mater. I wouldn’t recommend any season two or three for a newcomer. They mean more because of season 1.

    • dkd says:

      I think if you really want to introduce a person to a show in the hopes that they will stick with it, you should pick three episodes from early in its run. I wouldn’t go into the second season. Episodes like Colonel have impact on us because of the journey the viewer went through leading up to it.

      There’s nothing wrong with the first three episodes. They’ve hooked plenty of newbies.

      • revdr says:

        I don’t know; I would probably need four: the Pilot, Nemesis, First Date, and Break Up. Those 4 tell a pretty good story.

      • atcDave says:

        First Date I’ve had excellent luck with. I’ve brought several new viewers to the fold with just that one!

  2. jam says:

    I’d go with the Pilot, Marlin, and one episode between them. S2 is awesome, but I’d prefer to keep the introduction to the early episodes. The later seasons have some great episodes too, but like Arthur said people will get more out of Phase 3 if they’re more invested in the characters.

  3. atcDave says:

    Excellent post Joe, funny, this is something I’ve actually spent pretty significant amounts of time thinking about. And I’ve done different things with different viewers, mostly successful.
    I start with the assumption every audience and circumstance is different. I had a couple of co-workers I knew would love the show, so one lunch time I put in the Pilot, and it worked perfectly. They loved it. One (who I later learned was a Nielsen viewer!), was immediately hooked, bought the S1 and S2 discs, and started watching. The other watched the entire series with me during subsequent breaks at work.
    Another time, I had a more mixed audience (three co-workers) and just put in Tango. One co-worker put it on her DVR at home, another watched only occasionally, mostly when I put on episodes at work, and the third wasn’t impressed and never watched again (so much for taste!).
    One of my friends, a middle aged woman but a real girly girl with a good sense of humor, I had watch Cougars. She also loved it and added it to her DVR.
    A guy I know, who is in a garage band, I showed Best Friend to first. He loved it and wanted more right then. Well I knew he also loved arcade games so I loaded up Tom Sawyer next. He was another partial success, he has asked to watch more episodes when we’re together, but as a busy family man without a DVR he never became a home viewer.
    Another couple started just on my verbal recommendation; but alas, Pink Slip was a rapid end to their viewing.
    I recently discovered my sister had never even heard of the show; but with my description and enthusiasm she suggested a mini-marathon when we see each other at Christmas. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about recently. Now as an extreme oddity; I already got her to read “Chuck vs The Sound of Music” (she loves the movie, but is generally more enthused about reading than watching, so I thought it would make a fun intro. I haven’t talked to her about it in detail yet though.). So what to do when I see her? time wise, I don’t want to bet on more than two episodes, with a third as a maybe. The Pilot is obviously a good choice. But I’m thinking I may start with First Date; it starts with a nice re-introduction, has a lot of the show themes on display, and includes dynamite stunt work. After that would have to be Baby; my sister has kids, loves kids, and I like how the episode is sort of an end game status quo episode ( or a snap shot of “normal” for the last year).
    What if there is time and interest in more? The two prime candidates I think are Tango or Phase Three. Obviously I love Tango, it shows how a lot of things got started, and says a lot about where everyone started. Phase Three is obviously another huge favorite, and I think it may be the single biggest episode in terms of transitioning from the old Sarah Walker to the later, more open and mature Sarah Walker. I’ve also considered a couple of arcs; First Kill/Colonel/Ring being a strong possibility, or maybe Aisle of Terror/First Fight? Shoot, depending on the mood, even Bullet Train to the end is a possibility. But honestly, I’d be stunned if we got past two episodes (just trying to contain the excitement!)

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Heh, looks like we were both working on our comments at the same time. Mark it on your calendars, Ernie and Dave are largely in agreement!

      • joe says:

        Calendar marked! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Although I’m a little more willing to use later stuff. But a big part of that, at least with my sister, is that she probably will not want to do a full series watch. The best I’m hoping for is that she’ll be willing to watch a few episodes on occasion we visit.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, I am looking at this through from the viewpoint of convincing someone that the entire series is worth it by showing early-ish episodes that highlight what the show was capable of.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Ernie that’s exactly the sort of circumstance difference I was thinking of. For someone who really likes watching a full series there’s no substitute for starting with the Pilot. I get more creative in dealing with more likely casual viewers.

    • joe says:

      You know, one thing Phase Three has going for it as an introductory episode is that it really shows us all of Sarah Walker in one shot. I think we’d all want to highlight the blonde CIA agent if we wanted to “sell” the show, but which episodes to choose?

      Obviously, we’d all pick from Cougars, Delorean, Phase Three and maybe Baby as the most Sarah-centric. But of all of those, Phase Three really does show the growth undergone in the four seasons.

      Excellent choice.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        This may be a bit off topic, but Joe raises an interesting point (and one that I feel reinforces my can’t have Phase 3 without FoD obsession). We see all of Sarah, who she was before Chuck, who she’s be without Chuck, but we something else in those marvelously intercut final scenes in the Belgian’s lair. We see how Chuck sees Sarah, in his mind, calm, cool, articulate and in control, interspersed with the real Sarah, emotional, panicked, a hot mess on the verge of losing it completely. It is that that gives context and depth to Chuck’s insecurity, and it was done so well it makes me ache to think that a show like Chuck may be a rarity.

      • joe says:

        Wow. I hadn’t picked up on that angle before, Ernie. But you hit it exactly right. Sarah-as-angel is something only Chuck sees, especially when, at that moment, we’re seeing Sarah as she would be deprived of Chuck. Graham’s wild-card enforcer were the words Casey used.

        What a range in that character, in that episode!

        Oh gee. Now I want to watch straight through in a marathon again.

  4. Ernie Davis says:

    Interesting post Joe. I’m gonna say that what three episodes would I use to introduce a new viewer to Chuck would depend on the viewer, but in virtually all cases I’d use mostly early episodes (season 1 & 2) for the introduction, assuming, as has been my experience, that once introduced, a full 5 season experience would follow, and noting that episodes like Honeymooners and FoD/Phase 3 (sorry, I can’t separate them) have far more impact with the whole history as context. If I wanted to introduce the show on the terms I’ve come to see it, an experience to be lived, then savored again and again (and again) I’d go with First Date, Predator and Ring. Yes, all season 2 episodes, but the elements of the show blend in those like in few others, and you buy in to the ride despite any problems. If I wanted to show them the Chuck’s journey, that might be tougher, but Tango, First Date and Dream Job would probably top the list. If I wanted to show them the love story, I think I’d have to go with Truth, Seduction, Best Friend. Yes, unresolved, but we’re making introductions here, not necessarily summarizing the series.

    I’m sure I’ll be reconsidering and revisiting, but an interesting topic, and one worth some discussion.

  5. Robert says:

    Well, I introduced my cousin to “Chuck” 2 years ago. She was visiting for the week-end, and during the afternoon, we were chatting, and I told her; “Cuz, I have a tv series to show you”; she said she wanted to see what show I had in mind. I put “Chuck vs. the Intersect”, and just as I was the first time I saw it, she was sucked in. She wanted to watch the second episode immediately, but I suggested to her to buy the series. When she went back home, she bought the Season 1-3 Dvd’s. And she enjoyed the show every week till the Finale.

    So, for my part, “Vs. The Intersect” was enough. And even if I had 3 choices to introduce someone to the show (though “First Date” is also a nice idea), I think I would just use 1.01, and let them enjoy the part of the show they prefer by themselves.

    But, all your suggestions are very good!

    • joe says:

      I must ask, Robert. Is your sister in the “desired” 19-39 demographic? You’ve got me wondering now which episodes are more effective for younger viewers vs. more mature audiences vs. old codgers like me. And for that matter, which return more for women than for men.

      It would be an interesting study!

      • Robert says:

        My cousin, Joe. Yep, she and I both are in the 19-39 demographic; near the end of it, in fact.

      • joe says:

        Oops. I read too fast. Sorry.
        Thanks for the info, Robert. I’ve always noticed how the different demographic groups react differently to Chuck. You’re approximately in Fedak’s and Schwartz’s demo, when the show was conceived, and I’ve been surprised over the years how much it’s resonated with an older group.

        I blame Scott Bakula, myself, if only because he’s my age, give or take.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      First Date is a special case. Due to the writer’s strike and a very long hiatus from season 1 to 2 TPTB apparently felt the need to do a re-introduction. If you want to introduce the show as it became, I say skipping the learning curve of season 1 is completely fine. Those early episodes may suffer slightly in comparison, but there is still enough there to make it worthwhile on a full re-watch. If you want to convince someone that the show is worth watching in full, to my mind you can’t go wrong highlighting the episodes where they were firing on all cylinders.

      • joe says:

        Great point. I had forgotten that First Date was indeed a re-introduction.

      • I never thought of just starting at First Date. That would be an interesting way to look at the show – starting from Season 2 and looking at season 1 as more of a prelude – I always felt like reading The Hobbit after LoTR made me appreciate the former more than I would have otherwise. Season 1 did make First Date a lot more cathartic, but I’d imagine that watching season 1 after watching 2-5 would be pretty cool. Especially if you saw the Pilot after watching Goodbye. It would blow your mind.

  6. 1) Pilot – sets the stage
    2) Tango – template of the standard episode accenting the fun, light hearted side
    3) Nemesis – same as 2 but highlights mythology, relationships, and action

    • joe says:

      I like the idea of Tango being a standard template, Lou. It even shows Yvonne’s comedic timing a bit – thinking of the scene in the car where Sarah recognizes Casey’s been pulling Chuck’s leg about the dancing.

      I very nearly decided on Nemesis too, precisely because of the importance of the Bryce mythology early on. I suspect that if Bomer hadn’t gone on to do White Collar but continued to appear in S3, Nemesis would be indispensable.

    • Robert says:

      Pilot and Tango, I agree. Nemesis? Not sure…care to explain (in an “intro” sense)?

      • joe says:

        Well, the way I see it, Nemesis is the point where the mythology comes to a head. Fulcrum is never so menacing as it is with Tommy playing the bad guy, and Sarah is forced to choose between Bryce and Chuck. Who she was then and who she is now.

        Her future is left undecided with the unanswered phone calls, which is a great way to get people interested in the longer story.

      • atcDave says:

        It does depend a lot on the viewer. Nemesis is a very strong episode in some ways, but it depends on if your target is more likely to be interested in the mythology, comedy or romance. Its not one I would choose for anyone who’s much like me, but I can think of a few friends I might try it on. It really the first episode that gets into the conspiracy part of the show.

  7. Off-topic, but I was just having a conversation with a friend about the order in which you should show Star Wars to a newcomer. He’s a purist (original 3, ignore the new 3). I was thinking 4-1-5-2-3-6. Introduce them to both Skywalkers, then the Darth Vader reveal, then Anakin’s fall, and then Luke’s triumph. Thoughts?

    • aerox says:

      I reckon you should just go for broke and 1-2-3-4-5-6

      Not only do you have the story right chronologically, but it only gets better and better, rather than good, less good, good, less good etc.

    • jam says:

      Either 1-2-3-4-5-6, or ignore the new 3 entirely.

    • atcDave says:

      I would say 4,5,6 and 4,5,6. For a really interested adult I might add 3 afterwards. For kids I might add 1 to the mix.

    • I figure if they don’t like 4-5-6, they’ll quit. If they get past 1 and 2, they might as well get the full treatment. So….

      4-5-6-1-2-Clone Wars-highlights of Clone Wars series-3
      Then repeat 4-5-6-Thrawn trilogy-Hand of Thrawn duology

      If they like reading, maybe a few more books thrown in. Shadows of the Empire between the second viewing of 5 and 6. Truce at Bakura and Courtship of Princess Leia after the second 6. Survivor’s Quest after the Hand of Thrawn books.

    • Arthur,

      You just found yourself put onto Chuck and Morgan’s Christmas card list because of this post.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I say 1, 2 and somewhat reluctantly 3 (freakin’ Ewoks), because 2 is not a good ending point, then wait for Disney to make the next 3 because they likely have access to people who unlike Lucas care about things like plot, characters and a cohesive story. Oh, and by 1, 2 and 3 I mean the original trilogy of Star Wars, Empire and Return of the Jedi.

      • atcDave says:

        You had me really worried for a moment there Ernie, until you said Ewoks.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I refuse to call them 4, 5, and 6 because despite being the creator and writer Lucas doesn’t get to re-define reality after the fact. Or at least I feel no obligation to participate in his delusion that it was always thus. And Han shot first.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah but how the terms are defined affects us knowing what you’re talking about! And to be fair, 4 has been called 4 since long before the prequels were even being discussed. I remember watching one of its theatrical re-releases years ago (just after Empire or Jedi came out, I don’t remember which) and it was being called episode IV even then.

        As a military history buff, with a strong WWII orientation, it irks me to no end that the A-26 Invader was re tagged as the B-26 Invader in 1948 (we already had a B-26, it was the Marauder). Oh and don’t get me started on re tagging all of our fighters from “P” to “F” designations; but in order to communicate I do need to use the conventions correctly.

        I guess I’m mostly okay with Lucas’ tinkering, I certainly love the upgraded visual affects, and I’m just giddy that “close the blast doors” has been restored. But of course changing Han’s shoot out is taking tampering too far. I would guess, Disney will do less revising of what’s already in the can. But I hope you’re exactly right, that they will bring in a better writer for future installments. Gee, I won’t even mention a parallel I can think of with another creative writer who came up with a beautiful setting and characters and then often failed to deliver on all that promise…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I understand the convention, but it is wrong. The fact that the chronology was out of order does not mean that the first one produced was episode 4. Parts of The Godfather II were chronologically before all of The Godfather, but that doesn’t make The Godfather a sequel, it just means we get back-story later in the series. That combined with my strong aversion to the mess that is plot, story and characterization the prequel trilogy gives us means that I will happily defy convention and burden myself with the need to clarify my correct, yet apparently idiosyncratic need to recognize reality and deny the legitimacy of retroactive redefinitions of it. End of rant. 😉

        That said I was mostly OK with the prequels as pure entertainment. As you note, visually stunning and action packed, but utterly lacking in any compelling characters or narrative. So, pretty much standard fare for Hollywood.

        In addition I’d say that while others have a very visceral reaction to certain parts of Chuck’s narrative and TPTB’s choices I tend to see it as an entertaining TV show that went through a rough patch re-adjusting to a vastly re-vamped production environment before regaining their footing as opposed to a betrayal of their characters or story.

        Making The Force into something with a physical manifestation that is easily quantified and measured was just wrong, and while some may say that the intersect mythology was likewise bastardized in season 3 there was always a difference. Mastering and using The Force was central to Luke’s journey, but the intersect was from the very beginning a McGuffin to put Chuck into situations where his intelligence, bravery and heroic nature was revealed. In any event I give TV shows a lot more leeway on retcon based on it being baked into the production method of TV as opposed to movie-making.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all your comments on Star Wars Ernie, except again, I’m fine with using the “official” designations purely as a matter of facilitating discussion.
        On the Chuck issue, it’s never really been the Retcon or budget issues (although both played some role), it’s purely the entertainment issues (as in dark vs fun; and yes that mostly means Charah). But I see a strong Lucas/Fedak parallel in that both were interested in different aspects of their creations than I was. Lucas seemed to loose some of that sense of wonder and adventure, by an exploration of darker characters and ideas. It’s like he tried to substitute pure visual “gee wiz” factor for actual adventure. And rationalizing “The Force” is kind of symbolic of everything that went wrong with the prequel movies. Just as Shaw is symbolic of…. Oh never mind…..

      • Ernie Davis says:

        HA! I call Chuckwin’s law. I see your parallel, but to me Schwedak’s failure was under-preforming their previously established abilities in a radically different production environment, and I don’t think you can separate that from the execution of season 3. Lucas had all the time and money in the world, he just showed that once he got too successful to be told no that a lot of what he got credit for was really a group effort, and minus the input from those writers and producers who helped him achieve that success he was over-rated. He also made a conscious decision, even in the original trilogy, to turn away from his own canon, which is fine, but then to lie about it and expect us to buy into his obviously revised history. It is quite obvious from the original 2 that Luke and Leia were not conceptually created as brother and sister, that Vader was not initially Luke’s father, and that Han Solo was perfectly capable of, and did shoot first.

        I don’t mind Lucas revisiting and revising his own work, but I feel my intelligence is insulted by his continued insistence that what we plainly saw was a mistaken impression on our parts.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree Lucas not fessing up to the revisions being revisions is comically annoying. And of course he started doing it almost immediately, there’s simply no way Darth was intended to be Luke’s father or Leia his sister when The original Star Wars was filmed; and Lucas playing revisionist with it all is just silly. But it was all so much fun, and is such a huge part of my teen years I can’t bring my self to get too annoyed with it. The prequel movies are another matter; although here’s a question, how much of an impact does a single break out character like Han Solo have? There is NO ONE in the prequel movies who brings so much life and fun to the screen. I almost wonder, if there had been, would it be easier to overlook the flaws?
        Anyway, I do agree the loss of budget for Chuck S3 had some impact on the experience. But I think the unrelenting tension hanging until mid 3.13 was the bigger issue. In other seasons, even when there was massive angst, it was resolved in an episode or two. I think the second longest down streak to me is the S1 arc, and it’s only four episodes long. And given how the story was modified and dragged out longer than originally planned I have zero confidence they would have made better decisions with more time or budget. I’m actually glad they thought 3.13 was the end until it was too late to change it, because I fear if it hadn’t been they simply would have extended that arc to the end of the season.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I too can’t get too annoyed about monkeying with the first trilogy, but then I made sure to get the original theatrical releases on DVD when They were briefly available. I’m more than a little annoyed that Lucas essentially set about making his case that we were mistaken by ensuring nobody would ever be able to call him on it by simply playing the original versions.

        I’m hoping that Disney got all the original material and can remedy that so that when I get the Blu-Ray I can still get the versions I fell in love with.

        As for season 3 it’s obvious we see it different. You see the entire choice of the story to be a fundamental flaw where I will give them the story, even if it seems a bit conventional TV-trope filled, but will fault them with problematic execution, mostly associated with one character, but with spillage that affected a lot more.

        In parting I’ll just say this, we have reached the limit of Chuckwin’s law when even a discussion of the Star Wars franchise turns into a discussion of Chuck’s problematic season 3.

        I blame Sh@w. 😉

      • joe says:

        Ernie, even you must admit now that we can no longer blame Sh@w’s predecessor.

        Yes, there’s a political joke buried in there somewhere! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I imagine if I’m ever given an ink blot test that will turn into an S3 discussion too…
        Not that I’m obsessed or anything!

        For the record, there’s quite a number of shows where I felt they made pretty fundamental story telling (entertainment) errors at some point in the show run. I don’t mean to single out anything on Chuck as uniquely bad, except that my investment was uniquely high, so the fallout was far greater (I agree exactly that they recycled a lot of tired television tropes that season). But I disliked one season of Burn Notice (S4 I think), one season of Castle, a particular regular character on NCIS…
        I guess my point is, I know I can be demanding and hard to please. I don’t expect or require any show to be perfect for me to “like” it. I can (and often do) say “I loved that show except for…”
        I have some pretty good ideas about what I didn’t like and why too; I would never say I know the only way to fix it, but I can say pretty specifically what I don’t like. So I guess I’m pretty quick to jump in and opine when someone offers a “fix” that I know wouldn’t fix it for me. There may be lot’s of gradations of dislike too; we’re coming up on our re-watch of Ex which is clearly no favorite of mine. But it does no real harm either, I can laugh in places, and I will watch it whenever I’m doing a full series thing. Misery arc is just so flawed as entertainment to me I cannot sit through it again.

      • Robert says:

        No; no no no! Not ANOTHER Season 3 discussion! Can’t we not keep it for when we’ll be at the 3.01 discussion?

        I mean, I dislike the first part of Season 3 too, but I do no wish to discuss it ad nauseam in every single topic.

        We were talking about introductory episodes of Chuck, with a tangeant to Star Wars episodes. Can we just stick to that, please?

      • atcDave says:

        Not to be difficult, but really, we “always” bring up S2 and S5 too. S3 is only different because of the controversy. There were only five seasons, it is inevitable that any Chuck discussion will be about one or more of those five seasons. I won’t deny S3 is probably over-represented statistically, but I bet not by nearly as much as some think. In fact, THIS thread is about recommendations for new viewers; as such, it’s been about pretty much everything except S3, except for a couple comments by Ernie and I.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Sorry Robert, couldn’t help myself. I get that others are more interested in just the story or the entertainment value, but one thing Chuck did was to get me interested in the mechanics and structure of storytelling. And any good engineer can tell you that you can sometimes learn a lot about how to build something better by examining one that failed. Not that I consider season 3 a failure, just that I think there are a lot of examples of lessons learned. To me Star Wars was showing problems by RotJ when Lucas decided that he wanted to write for 6 and 7 year-old fans at the expense of teens and adults. It only got worse. Chuck recovered.

      • Robert says:

        Ernie, Dave, I understand.

        I meant no disrespect. It’s just these days many topics get hijacked by another season 3.0 discussion that it’s starting to annoy me at times, in the sense that we have so much positive things to discuss about Chuck episodes, especially now in Season 2, and then Season 3.5, 4, and 5 in a near future, that I don’t wanna be bothered by Season 3 discussions yet.

        As for Star Wars, I would use the Original Trilogy at first (except with kids), then the Prequel Trilogy; though now I loath Episode 2; can’t watch it anymore. The pacing is horrible, and some scenes are simply boring. Structurally speaking, I even prefer Episode 1 to Episode 2.

      • Robert says:

        As for mr Lucas and Return of the Jedi, that’s when Mr Kurtz and Ms Katz, Lucas’ co-producers and instrumental in the first two movies successes( and reigning in Lucas’s bad ideas) got pushed aside. They were apparently strongly disagreeing with the return of the Death Star as a MacGuffin and the infantilization of the movie with the Ewoks. They were pushed aside, so they left, and Lucas, surrounded only by yes men, did what he wanted.

        And that’s exactly the problem with the Prequels; not that basic ideas in them are bad per se (some scenes in it are great, like the Duel jedi vs sith, or the space battle over Coruscant) but Lucas had no one “powerful” enough to tell him something like “No, this is not a good idea, George; you should do that instead”.

        Sometimes I wonder if “Chuck”, as great as it is, wouldn’t have been even better if someone with enough “power” would’ve told Fedak “Yes, this is a good idea”, or “No, that’s no so great”? Schwartz perhaps? But he was so busy with Gossip Girl that he kind of semi-abandoned “Chuck”, and it may have suffered a little because of it.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Robert – “The force is strong in this one” 😉

        But I’ll make a confession, a secret only Faith has known until now. though I think she outed me on twitter at one point. I was interested enough in the Chuck creative team that I actually watched The OC. You know what, it is good, even brilliant at times, if you accept it for what it is. I see a lot of things Chuck did presented in an embryonic state in The OC. But I can say this without hesitation, if there was a part of the Chuck team wanting to draw out the WT/WT, it was Joss Schwartz,it is in his DNA based on what I saw, and season 3 was his last contractually obligated season as a producer of Chuck.

        And they were told season 3 would be the end.

        Season 4 and 5 is more Chris Fedak, unfiltered, in my opinion. Judge accordingly.

        I get caught up in this on occasion, but you need to look at the writing team. Season 2 was the most stable, season 3 shed a lot, season 4 was a new team that carried on into season 5, but both season 3 and 4 had shed experienced writers for enthusiastic yet less experienced writers. The only constant in 4 and 5 from the original series from the writing team, was Chris Fedak.

        Take it for what you will.

      • Robert says:

        Great post, Ernie,

        So, if I understand correctly, we owe the Season 3 WT/WT continuation to Josh Schwartz? It would fit, especially since 3.13 was originally supposed to be the last “Chuck” episode ever; so, angst till the very end of the season, right?

        And if I follow you well, perhaps the reason why the Wt/Wt arcs during season 2 never lasted long was that Fedak was balancing Schwartz, isn’t it?

        So we owe season 3.5, 4 and 5 to Fedak; in that case, I’m glad he took the helm, because I don’t think I would have endured another round of Wt/Wt between Chuck and Sarah.

        I find interesting that, at San Diego Comic-Con 2010, it was Fedak who said that the Wt/Wt lasted long enough, and they were more interested to write about Chuck and Sarah’s relationship; and that it was Schwartz who remarked that they’d learned not to put anything else between Chuck and Sarah. Methinks they were giving their own personal opinions (and visions?), and not simply as TPTB.

        Fedak also said that they were diverging over the Finale; I wouldn’t be surprised if Fedak thought that Sarah recovered her memories, and all was well, and Schwartz thought she had not. Perhaps it even kind of explain why Fedak was stressing so much the fact that Sarah was recovering, and that Chuck and Sarah’s couple was ok…after all, he wrote the episode.

        As for the other writers, it’s true that the impact of the loss of all the veteran writers of Season 1-3 wasn’t negligible, especially since they knew the characters inside out from the start. But perhaps that was the point, having new writers for the new situation (Chuck and Sarah together) was the thing to do. Otherwise how can you explain why all the veterans left?.

        Though I think that, under the circumstances, the new ones did a great job!

      • atcDave says:

        Some of the veteran writers left because they got their own shows, and at least one later came back. There was also some overlap period. I’d always suspected exactly the Schwartz/Fedak dynamic that Ernie just described. Many interviews we’ve seen with cast and crew credit Fedak with planning out the big action sequences, but I remember an interview with him that ran the night Ring aired, where he basically deflected all Charah questions by saying “This is Josh Schwartz’ show, and I can’t speak to that.” So Josh was clearly the senior writer through S3. But as Ernie mentioned, Schwartz stepped back for a variety of reasons (contractual changes, and other commitments) and S4 on was more Chris Fedak’s doing.

      • Robert says:


        Of course, the veterans left for all sorts of reasons, but the fact is they all left. And coincidentally or not, it was at the same time Schwartz left the show in Fedak’s hands.

        And you know what? If Schwartz (as it seems) was the main Wt/Wt writer of the show, then I’m glad he left. Fedak wrote (or at least designed) Season 4 and 5, and they are my favorites of the show. No more angsty, artifical separation of Chuck and Sarah, progress made on every front (Charah, Casey,Morgan and Alex, the Awesomes), even the Buy Morons had more to do. That was (and still is) my favourite show. I’m glad “Chuck” didn’t turn into “The OC” or “Gossip Girl” with spies.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, absolutely Robert. And I’m not trying to trash on Schwartz, I think he’s responsible for a lot of how the show established itself in those first two seasons. But I wish he’d left a season sooner; although I also have some issues with Fedak, I think the show was generally more to my liking in those last two seasons.

      • Robert says:

        Dave, I didn’t want to sound like I was trashing Schwartz either. I really liked what he did with Seasons 1 and 2! But not three.

        Fedak isn’t blameless either; there are some of the things he did that I didn’t like, but overall, I really like what he did with the last 2 seasons (and YS did too)! I think it’s the direction the show had to take.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think both Schwartz and Fedak have a lot of strengths and a few weaknesses, but I also think they make a darn good team. My point was only that wt/wt, on again off again angsty romances seems one of Schwartz’s trademarks based on what I’ve seen and heard of his other work.

        Schwartz’s stepping aside was likely the plan from the beginning. He has a lot of other stuff going on, but Fedak had never run a TV show, so WB probably insisted on Schwartz’s involvement, at least initially. Once Fedak knew the ropes Schwartz could move on to other projects. Most of the Chuck team signed 6 year contracts when the show started (pretty standard Hollywood procedure from what I understand). Schwartz, while he retained his interest via ownership, etc, only signed a three year contract from what I understand.

        As for the writing staff the biggest problem was that NBC would never tell the Chuck team if they’d be renewed in time to let the writers know they didn’t have to take another offer. They couldn’t very well try to keep a writer with another offer on the table when they couldn’t promise they’d have a job if they turned it down.

      • Ok, I get that any Chuck conversation can turn into season 3 at any moment… but damn, y’all did it with Star Wars? That’s actually moderately impressive.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey Arthur, it’s a gift!

      • You know Ernie, I’m actually glad the show was constantly under threat of cancellation. It produced some incredible faux-finales, and I remember a Fedak interview in Chuck vs the Podcast where he said that if he’d known that it would last 91 episodes, he’d have kept Chuck and Sarah apart longer. Granted, it produced some awkwardness when they had to write themselves back into the show (Vivian), but the positives were greater than the negatives.

      • atcDave says:

        That I agree with that entirely Arthur. And for exactly the reason you mention, I’m glad that threat of cancellation was always there. I only wish there had been another reprieve, or twelve…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Chuck’s curses were often blessings. Chuck was cursed with a death-slot on NBC against brutal competition leading to perpetual bubble ratings, but blessed to be on NBC where everything else was crashing and burning faster than Chuck. Chuck never would have survived for 5 seasons on any other network.

      • joe says:

        Ohhhh – I hope I found the top of the right thread here!

        I pretty much agree with you about that, Ernie. I’m pretty sure I said so a few times in posts.

        But I’m wondering if the show would have lasted even longer if it had been on the USA network. I’ll forever be thankful that they gave Babylon 5 a chance to finish up, even if the last season of that show wasn’t near the genius of the first four.

        I blamed that situation on the network machinations that more or less forced Straczynski to compress his 5 season arc into 4 seasons. It sort of left him with nothing as interesting to say at the end.

        But like Chuck, the compression sure made for great television.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve long suspected that Chuck would have done very well on USA. But as Ernie and Arthur mentioned, I think we may have been better off with the threatened status. There may be a whole other post in that topic…

        Joe I believe it was TNT that saved Babylon 5; and they’ve gone a different direction now, and I don’t believe they would be such a good fit for Chuck.

      • joe says:

        Ah, you’re quite right, Dave. It was TNT. I always tend to confuse the two (and yes, it is one of the first signs, you know… 😉 ). USA would be a better fit today.

        I do agree that the threat of cancellation was pretty powerful motivation for them to do the great writing/story telling we saw for nearly every faux-finale (great word coinage, Arthur). They sure took their gambles, and that’s a good thing. I still love that “To Be Continued” exit that we had at the end of S2.

      • atcDave says:

        I also think USA would have meant a smaller budget from the start. But we also might be watching S6 right now….

      • Ernie Davis says:

        How many episodes per season do USA shows get? While Chuck was pretty uneven season to season we did get a 24 episode season 4 and 91 total episodes that covered a lot of ground (I could have gone for 9 more and a few bottle and standalone episodes in that breakneck paced season 5). I think it’s pretty clear that being on NBC was a mixed bag, we got 5 seasons, but a lot of uncertainty for TPTB to deal with, both budget and story wise.

      • atcDave says:

        I think USA series are pretty rigid at 16 episodes. So yeah, after five seasons that’s only 80 episodes. But S6 would have given us 96…

        But I agree exactly Ernie, NBC was a mixed bag. Bigger budget for the first two seasons and constant “bubble” pressure that resulted in season/series finales every year.

      • Robert says:

        Arthur, it’s when I read comments like Fedak’s “Had we known it would’ve lasted this long, we would’ve waited longer to put Chuck and Sarah together!” that I feel very happy they always were on the bubble. It forced them to dispense with every pleasantries and forced schemes to keep them apart.

        At the same time, it pisses me off to read that, because it kind of shows that TPTB weren’t necessarily that attuned with their fans; what fan wanted to see Chuck and Sarah still apart in Season 4? It already took too long as it happened! And honestly, it makes me a bit nervous about what could possibly happen in an eventual “Chuck” movie…

        And what would’ve happened? Chuck and Sarah still dancing around their much needed “talk” for much of Season 4? And instead of their wedding, we would’ve had the DYLM scene as the Season 4 Finale? Sheesh! I’m glad we got Chuck and Sarah together for the rest of the show. And I hope it’ll stay that way in an eventual reunion.

        Though I must give some credit to Fedak; in the Season 4 extras, he kind of implies that NBC wanted them to split Chuck and Sarah during season 4 (to intensify the “drama”), but TPTB refused. And Fedak looked very determined when he mentioned it wasn’t an option.

  8. ref51907 says:

    What I loved about the show was that the characters were definitely not static or stale. Everyone ended up in a very different place then where they started. That being said, I would probably pick one from each of the numbers to show. 1’s being almost intrustrumental as an introduction, 2’s being in a transitional state and 3’s being closs to where the end up at.
    1)Pilot, Sandworm, First Date
    2)Santa Claus, Best Friend, Ring, Beard,Role Models,
    3)Phase Three, Seduction Impossible, First Bank of Evil, Hack Off, Baby , and Kept Man

    Then again maybe as Chuck himself says, Maybe we should follow our hearts b/c sometimes our brains just screw everything up.


    • joe says:

      Heh! Cheating, Erik! It’s so tempting to create a complete box DVD of just the episodes you’d choose to introduce somebody to the show.

      Give it up! Just give ’em all 5 seasons! 😉

      • ref51907 says:

        Maybe I didn’t make my post clear. One episode form the 1) block, then one episode from the 2) block, then one episode from the 3) block.
        For example someone that loves frienship/bromance would be Sandworm,, Best Friend then I would probably do Beard actually as that highlights Chuck and Morgan
        For someone that likes romance First Date, Santa Claus or Role Models, then Seduction Impossible or Phase Three.

        Maybe that was just a complicated way of saying ditto to Dave’s reply earlier above somewhere.


      • joe says:

        OIC! I thought you intended all of those to be in the list! Apologies.

        Sheesh. I really need to read more carefully. It’s one of the first signs, you know!

    • atcDave says:

      A couple things here I hadn’t really thought of Erik. Santa Claus is worth considering, especially as I bet many of us are seeing family at Christmas, it’s a fitting and seasonal intro. Of course the ending is pretty brutal for holiday fair, I think I would want to follow it up immediately with Best Friend or even Santa Suit.
      Several of your group three episodes are good choices I think. And I like the idea of giving newbies enough of a taste of the “destination” for them to get through rough parts of the “journey”. Seduction Impossible could be particularly good for that.

      • ref51907 says:

        To show off there cultural reference is why I added First Bank of Evil, (Matrix like bank scene) Hack Off, (The Piranha and Swordfish reference). Let’s not forget this show as all about those too.


  9. Wilf says:

    My three episodes would be:
    1) First Date – as it sets the scene in retrospect but shows so much more than Intersect
    2) (Maybe) Alma Mater – to define Chuck’s back story
    3) Push mix – to show how far it will eventually go for Chuck and Sarah – and no harm showing that person what there is to aim for in watching the entire show

  10. Love the posts guys,and well done Joe for raising this topic.
    There are 2 different ways I would approach this,particularly as I agree one needs to get the flavour of the show before appreciating some of my favourite episodes later in the series.
    Firstly I would concentrate on Season 1 with Pilot,then Wookie,solely for the final scene which suggested to me an additional depth to the show with Sarah’s final remarks.Then finally Marlin for reasons already given.
    Secondly,and as an alternative,I would go straight to the recap and wonderful episode that is First Date,followed by Seduction and Break-Up.If those 3 consecutive episodes fail to spark your interest,nothing will!!In truth I would like to say the first 5 episodes of season 2!!This would be on the basis that I did not discover Chuck until midway through season 2,but I stiill loved the earlier episodes when I bought the DVDs.

    • atcDave says:

      One thing you bring up Graham I would add a massive “know your audience” cautionary to; among my friends Wookiee is pretty universally disliked. Even if its funny, well acted, and ultimately important. Carina is very much an acquired taste. I would not recommend that episode for any new viewer who will dislike her brand of humor and innuendo.

  11. 1 – Pilot – Because it shows where it all began and it was the most cinematic.

    2 – Marlin – It establishes that Chuck’s her guy and how deeply committed Sarah is to him. “Chuck. Save you later?” What a great line.

    3 – Role Models – They’re starting explore their own role as a spy couple and think about their future together. Also one of the best B plots with Casey and Morgan. Plus who can resist an episode with a Bengal Tiger as an antagonist?

    • atcDave says:

      Intriguing choices. I like throwing in Role Models; its a funny episode of no particular importance, but it does provide a bit of a tease for the team dynamic of the last two seasons.

  12. garnet says:

    I have to agree that although First Date is a good recap, the Pilot is a much higher budget episode and I would usually start with it for almost anyone. I wonder if they may actually complement each other by showing just how far things have come in one brief season.

    • Yeah, I think you’re right – Just because it lays out the premise and purpose of the show so beautifully. I think people undersell how effective a pilot it was sometimes… it might not be the most entertaining episode, but it just hits the tone square on the nose.

      • atcDave says:

        I think though a big part of the issue is what type of viewer you expect to recruit. It’s a fairly specific, and small group of viewers who will actually watch an entire series all the way through. When you know you have such a candidate, starting with the Pilot, which of course was an outstanding episode in Its own right, is the only way to go.
        But for so many friends and family, it’s just an issue of finding something to sit down and laugh along with together a couple times a year when you all get together. For all those friends who I know will NEVER buy a full season of a TV show, I’m just looking to get a favorable enough reaction that they will watch the occasional episode with me when it’s convenient.

  13. Roxcella says:

    The first Chuck I was a rerun of …vs Santa Claus. The absurdity of the Buy Morons hooked me. It was enough to go search out the pilot. I became addicted. So my list would start with Santa Claus and then Pilot

    • joe says:

      Hi, Roxcella. I don’t recall seeing your handle before, so welcome!

      That’s a pretty good choice. It certainly brings people into the Chuck-Sarah romance in a powerful way, while demonstrating that some pretty big things are still preventing them from getting together.

      I think my biggest concern would be that the very next episode, 3-D, was pretty much my least favorite. Not because it was bad, mind you. But because it was a bit “gimmicky.” Besides the fact that it aired late, 3-D did nothing to move us forward, I think, and then proceeded to leave us hanging with the big issue left over from Santa Claus – Mauser. So much good stuff could have happened!

      But that shouldn’t take away from Santa Claus. Follow it up with the right episode and it’s clear you’re right. It could easily bring in a newcomer. I know it’s one of my favorites!

      • Robert says:

        3D had funny bits, but there’s not a lot of progress in it, regarding the characters. Would’ve fitted more in Season 1, I guess, as a mission-of-the-week episode.

        Santa Claus, however; THAT is one of the best episodes of Season 2 (and the series, for that matter). And I always find interesting that the episode always figure in the “Charah” flashbacks (the bracelet scene), such as the ones in 4.24, and 5.13.

        An excellent episode overall, and an interesting “intro” choice!

  14. I read this article and the lone episode that pops into my head (I can’t pick 3) as weird as it might sound is , the very end (last scene) of Chuck versus Sarah and then Chuck versus the Goodbye. This would give a newcomer an entirely different perspective on Chucks journey and the Charah relationship. Just an interesting suggestion I thought of..

    • atcDave says:

      It is intriguing to think of starting someone at the end. Maybe even the last three episodes as the first three they watch? They play virtually like a movie anyway, could be fun.

    • mr2686 says:

      I really don’t think you can pick just 3 and really give anyone an accurate picture of Chuck. I just tell anyone that asks to start with Season 1 and give it 8 episodes. If they don’t like Chuck by Truth, they probably aren’t going to like it. By the way, they always like it. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve known too many people who will just never watch the whole series (or any whole series, many people just don’t really “do” TV). It’s not even remotely possible to say “start at the beginning”, because the only way they’d ever watch is if we’re doing it together.

        And that can work out quite nicely too. I know a lot of viewers who happy to sit down and watch an hour or two of something together, and then never give it another thought. Unless you bring it up again a year or two later. Then I get an “oh sure, that was fun”.

        Or as I mentioned above, we often put different things in the DVR at work at lunchtime. I can think of three different co-workers who will happily watch Chuck with me, but never at home.

        In such cases I’d rather cherry pick. Go ahead and jump all around the series with different favorites. It will never matter much to them anyway, but it’s still an excuse to laugh and fun with something together.

      • revdr says:

        I known many people who have gotten interested in a series, only to have it canceled just as they got interested. These days people are a little wary because of that. Or a favorite character is killed, or leaves, or the direction of the show changes. It’s easy to just randomly watch some shows, but because many networks (especially these days) pull the plug just as some stories are starting to take shape. Continuing storylines are the more difficult to invest in.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree entirely rev. And I just know so many folks who will never invest themselves beyond occasional, casual viewer.

      • mr2686 says:

        The only time I don’t start at the beginning of a series is if I’m coming to the show late. If I catch a show or two, say in season 3 and like it, I’ll stop and order the season 1 dvds. Even if the first few episodes aren’t as good as the season 3 episode I saw, I know the characters will get developed to the point I like so it gives me a chance to see the history of the characters and story. Jumping around, even to see the best of a series, never has done it for me.
        Off topic, I’m starting to really hate you guys. I was planning on not watching Chuck till the end of the year, wanting to keep the episodes fresh and fun, but the more we talk about Chuck the more I want to watch it. Now I’m midway through Season 2 of a full rewatch…again! LOL

      • atcDave says:

        MR I would also always watch a series from the beginning. But we’re not necessarily typical! So many people watch much more casually. So the trick is to find what will entertain them most.

        Sorry about the unexpected re-watch. But it is an addiction of mine too.

  15. Duckman says:

    I turned my best friend on to chuck by showing him neminis when he stopped by one night simply because I thought the pinapple gag was funny. He was a bigger fan than me, stuck it out to the end.
    On the subject of viewers being gun shy about investing in a show, here’s my little twist. I’ve been big on tv dvd sets pretty much since the started selling them. As such I’d been burned several times when after buying season after season of a show they would either stop in the middle and leave me hanging or come out with some special edition at the end. When I bought the first season set It was a show I liked, by the time I’d binged on the dvds it was the greatest thing since west wing and I was mentally commited to buying the whole series be it 2 seasons or 10. But since I’d been screwed in the past I refused to buy any more sets until the show was cancelled and the special edition set was available. I knew I would eventially have the discs so watching the show live became more of a sneek peek type deal and less of a priority. As a result I missed so many episodes that I never fully appreciated the greatness of the show. I finaly got sick of trying to keep up and quit after subway. I think the half ass scheduling cost them more devoted fans than they think.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think the scheduling was always a problem. I was especially surprised at several long time fans I knew who never even knew the show switched to Fridays for the last season, they thought S4 was the end!

      • That is 100% pure stupidity on the part of NBC tho! they always delayed renewal/scheduling/back order decisions until the last possible moments, How were CF/JS to write streamlined Charah plots with so many constant ?s, that’s why I cut them some slack, NBC never “left the 20th century” so to speak, the networks average ratings hit a plateau at the end of the 05-06 season and they were blind to it! Chuck is one of the shows that suffered because of that, their comes a time when you’ve got to accept your just not going to get the ratings you used to and NBC didn’t and (still) hasn’t .

      • atcDave says:

        Extra dumb for S5, they didn’t allow any redistribution (no iTunes, Hulu, Amazon or on-line streaming) until four months after the season ended! Just utterly stupid.

  16. 2 of my friends have seen thru episode 1-9, they’re naturally less busy in the summer and don’t have Netflix, so when they had to leave the last time they were a little peeved at me because it was right after they’d seen the bomb kiss/Bryce is alive cliffhanger, lol and because of collage/work they haven’t had time to come back over yet, it’s fun watching it with people who haven’t seen it before they love the show tho and find the tension between Chuck and Sarah enjoyable.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah, the tension was very well managed in the first two seasons. It is so much fun watching with first timers. I watched the entire series with a co-worker on our lunch breaks, that was fun! And I did an S3 marathon with another couple in one long day; even better, we spent another two hours talking about it afterwards!

  17. I finished Cliffhanger like 2hrs ago, that’s an amazing episode:) My favorite bit of dialogue:

    “Casey how am I supposed to make it past the CIA and all the way to Russia, they took the intersect. “Shut up!! Ur Chuck Bartowski, your the 2nd best spy I’ve ever worked with, now your gonna go save the best!

    That and Yvonne’s small bit of dialogue at the hospital, she doesn’t say much but it’s incredibly well done and something Zach was able too feed off of, just another example of why chemistry between actors is so incredibly important!

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