Complete Alternatives

We’ve already discussed different ways of twisting the Chuck story at about every specific point of the story.  But what about twists before we even get started?  There are both big and small things that could have been changed to make a completely different story.  And unlike many of the previous talks on this subject, this will never be about making things better.  This is variety for its own sake.  I’m sure many readers will recognize how many stories and myths come in a variety of forms.

After the jump, will look at some extreme variations on our basic Chuck story.

Many myths and stories come in multiple versions.  I find this an interesting topic all by itself.  Whether we’re talking about the Trojan War or James Bond; canon and fiction is sort of a fluid thing.  One self aware example of this springs to mind; those who are familiar with Homer’s Iliad will recall an entire chapter describing a new suit of armor Achilles had made after his previous suit was lost on the battlefield.  A much later story, Achilleid by Statius adds a famous detail that Achilles Mom Thetis tried to make him impervious by dipping him in the river Styx.  The movie Troy (2004) has Achilles questioned by a small boy about this story, which he dismisses with “if that were true, I wouldn’t need armor!”  Alternate realities collide, and I love it!

A more profound mashing of reality, tradition and fiction can be found in the stories of King Arthur.  To call the history, or reality of King Arthur sketchy is generous.  Many historians dismiss the character as myth outright.  I read enough on my own to call such skepticism hogwash, but only barely.  We know a warlord named Arthur lived in 5th century, post Roman Britain.  He won a three day battle at Badon Hill, and 20 years later, at the Battle of Camlin, Arthur and Mordred fell.  And that’s about it.  Some will point out Arthur is not called “King”, and it isn’t clear if Arthur and Mordred were on the same or opposing sides.  Everything else you think you know about Arthur is later invention.  But that invention and variety is the fun of it.  The earliest “novelization” of Arthur’s times is Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory published in 1485.  That’s a thousand years after Arthur would have lived.  What was written then was a combination of invention and folklore.  King Arthur has been written about, at length, by every generation since.  That includes such excellent movies as Camelot (musical-romance), Excalibur (fantasy) and King Arthur (quasi-historical).  Cheesy fun television like Merlin (high fantasy). And a staggering number of books, my favorite being Stephen R Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle (six books. historical fantasy.  It starts in Atlantis, and ends with Arthur reborn in 20th century England).

A more current example would be James Bond.  We’re now in the modern world of copyright and intellectual property laws, which may limit proliferation in some ways.  But even so, when Ian Fleming, a former Naval Intelligence officer, started a series of novels in 1952 he gave birth to something extraordinary.  He wrote Bond in only 12 novels and two short story collections, which has led to 23+ (depending on what we count) movies, comics video games.  And fan fiction.  The length of time, changing global political environment, and variety of stories has led to many differing continuities and realities.  Yet many of us enjoy Bond in a number of different incarnations.  We may argue the merits of Connery vs Brosnan, yet still enjoy The Living Daylights.  We never have to choose only one Bond to love, we can have them all (and somehow I think Bond would like that philosophy…).

Obviously this could continue at length. So many books, movies, television shows and songs have been redone in the same or a different format with many different canons.  We often accept this without much worry; if I mention Last of the Mohicans many listeners will automatically inquire if I mean James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, the Michael Mann film, or some other iteration.  If we say Battlestar Galactica, we ask original or recent?

And that is my long way of getting to Complete Alternatives in the Chuck universe.  The story that aired is what we call canon.  Many writers have explored roads not taken, or tried to improve on story details that sat wrong with them, finished the story, or just filled in aspects that seemed underdeveloped.  This post is about something a little different.  Now we’re getting to those brave souls who went further.  They took Chuck down to just the characters, maybe a few aspects of the story, and started from scratch, or put them in a wholly different time or setting.  So many of us loved the characters and performances so much it seems only fitting to imagine them in fun and different scenarios.  Or just variations on canon.

Unlike past “Alternatives” posts I can’t really discuss things I would have liked to see happen, or could have happened.  This is more wide open.  How many ways can the Chuck story be retold? (that’s a rhetorical question!).  Any writer with an idea can work our favorite characters into any setting, or other story we can think of.

There are couple of recurring themes I can mention.  One is what I call “macho Chuck” stories.  Obviously not every Chuck fan was a nerd, and many apparently wanted him to be more heroic or “take charge” in a traditional sort of way.  This doesn’t always bother me, although in some cases it does.  As a life long nerd I was thrilled to have a hero who was one of us.  And I loved the “fish out of water” aspect to the canon story. I also loved a hero who used brains and imagination to save the day.  I even enjoyed the role reversal with Sarah as the traditional heroic sort (Chuck will make the plan, Sarah will break the bones).  But in many cases I’ve enjoyed more macho Chuck characters.  I see this as a fairly common variation, but it is neither good nor bad in its own right.

Another is the teen version of the story.  This doesn’t work quite as well for me.  I get that many of the fan fiction writers are probably teens themselves, and I’ve read a fair number of these stories.  Some are pretty good.  But I’m well past my teen years, and I don’t really relate or connect easily to these.  Its a pity geriatric Chuck stories aren’t all the rage…

Mash-ups are another recurring sort of story.  This inserts the Chuck characters into a different movie or story. Obviously how much I like (or am familiar with) the donor story has a major bearing on how much fun such a story is.  A huge advantage to doing this is we are normally talking about an already well developed, well thought through story.  Its often fascinating to me how well this type of story works.  A number of these stories are absolute favorites.

The Stories

As I get into listing some recommendations a few introductory comments are in order.  You all know I shy away from darker themes and stories.  I’m not ever opposed to villains being villains, but a key part of what makes Chuck work for me is that I adore the characters of Chuck and Sarah.  So I do avoid stories that make either character look very bad for very long.  There are certain themes I’m unenthused or disinterested in.  That can mean some stories that are very will written, and have large followings, don’t quite work for me.  But there is still a staggering number of re-imaginings of Chuck that appeal to me.  Perhaps this isn’t really surprising, since the canon versions of Chuck and Sarah were pretty good heroes and role models, its only fitting that many writers would be drawn to that same presentation.

Since the series ended, I think this complete alternative type of story has gradually become the most popular type.  I have no numbers or statistics for that, it is only my perception.  As has been the norm on these sort of posts I will give a brief description of each story to mention what was different and why it hooked me.  These stories are all off my own favorites list.  This list is fairly complete, although several stories that were too incomplete to really go anywhere have been omitted.  Feel free to bring up any favorite of yours that got left off my list.  You all know my taste by now; any story I recommend will reflect well on Chuck and Sarah and end well for them.  I hope that doesn’t spoil any endings, but you all knew that already anyway (!).  This list goes from oldest to newest, by completion (or last update).

Charles vs His Destiny” by Arathorn73 starts with Chuck and Bryce running their own software company.  When a key piece of software is stolen, government agents are sent to investigate.  Guess who.  This story takes longer to develop than most on my list, but it is very well written.

Chuck vs The Time Warp” by CostasTT is a World War II adventure for the gang, that shamelessly borrows from a number of excellent movies.

Chuck vs The Twist of Fate” by CostasTT starts with a slightly more successful Chuck, who had not been kicked out of Stanford.  In some ways it follows canon closely, but Costas pointedly lowers the angst in places.  A fun story, with a large number of small changes.

Walker’s Eleven” by Moonlight Pilot (AKA Frea O’Scanlin) has Sarah Walker as a career con woman, who is betrayed by her team on what was to be her final scam.  Chuck is as we knew him in canon, yet Sarah will turn to him for help in building a new crew.

That Which is Greater” by Frea O’Scanlin starts with the small twist of Chuck being a single parent of a five year old daughter.  Violet Bartowski is one of the more entertaining original characters in the Chuckiverse.  The linked story is the central story, but I also linked the author’s page because there are eight additional short stories in this setting.

Collide” by brickroad16 is a collection of 50 (!) one-shots that each tell a different story of Chuck and Sarah coming together.  Okay, not quite.  Some of the stories continue on previous stories. And one story (two non-sequential chapters) is pointedly not ‘shipper friendly.  But the author’s notes clearly tell you which chapters to avoid.  Some of these stories would have made excellent longer AUs.

Chuck vs the Accidental Spy Team” by CostasTT is that author’s contribution the teen spy genre.  Well almost.  Chuck, Sarah and their friends are all recent college graduates.  One funny thing for those who read much of Costas’ work, he likes little variations on his own previous stories too.  So certain details will become quite familiar over the course of several of his stories I’ll recommend.

Chuck vs The Sound of Music” by Quistie64 is one of my very, very favorites.  I am amazed at how perfectly Sarah becomes an alt-Maria.  And Quistie’s versions of the original songs are brilliant and twisted.  This story is sweet and fun.  It is also the very best example of how much fun Sarah can be with kids.  Even better, the story continues in “Chuck vs The Sound of Music II” which is a long, family spy adventure and tour of Europe.  I also linked the author’s page above for access to the three short stories attached to this AU.

Chuck vs The Sunken Treasure” by NinjaVanish is a modern adventure of pirates, marine salvage and ship wrecks.  A sequel is in progress.

Chuck vs The Frontier” by NinjaVanish is Victorian Sci-Fi.  Think Jules Verne or HG Wells.  Then think of the American west. This is a very fun story.  And if the core role reversal was notable for 21st century Chuck, imagine it in the late 19th century!

The Good Samaritan” by bvr2109 (AKA Aerox) has Chuck the innocent victim of a mugging, who Sarah decides to help out. Very appealing idea.

Chuck vs The Master Thief” by CostasTT has master spy Charles Carmichael in need of the services of a world class jewel thief named Sarah Walker.

Chuck vs Hollywood” by CostasTT stars Chuck as a successful game designer for Orion Computers, who manages to get his latest game turned into a movie.  He about flips when his favorite actress, Sarah Walker, is cast in the leading role.  Costas really likes doing complete alternates!

Chuck vs The Wildcat” by Dettiot is set in the old west.  Chuck gets caught up in a range war between the Walker and Shaw ranches.

Permutations” by Uplink2 is set at Stanford where Chuck is the late night DJ of the student run radio station.  Sarah is an interested listener.  The story is more fun than I just made it sound…

Chuck vs The Charade” by somedeepmystery is a mash up with the classic Carey Grant/Audrey Hepburn movie.  Except of course, Sarah is in Carey Grant’s role, and Chuck is Audrey Hepburn.  This works very well, in several ways.  See how many Sarah aliases you can recognize…

The Fairy Tale of Sarah Walker” by Dettiot is another mash-up, this time with the movie classic “Sabrina“.

Chuck vs The Long Island Debutante” by Jason75 (AKA Old Resorter) is a mash up with The Thin Man.  Sort of.  Jason has a unique style that fits this style of the classic detective story nicely.

It’s a Wonderful Cover Life” by Kate McK is a Christmas Story but not the one you think.  Chuck is a single parent working at Buy More, Sarah is the bored owner of the store.  When she decides its time to get rid of that property she arranges a sale that will require her to be a family woman.  Guess who gets the job.  This is a fun and entertaining story that may be stalled, we seem to only be getting one or two chapters each Christmas now.  Hopefully Kate will see this through!

A Good Man Goes to War” by ygbsm is an insane action comic version of the story.  And it takes “macho Chuck” to ridiculous extreme.  And that is why its fun.

Chuck vs The Biggest Looser” by ThereIsAnother introduces us to a version of Chuck who gained almost 300 lbs after being kicked out of Stanford.  Another story that may be stalled, but it went long enough to be a lot of fun and resolve most major issues.

Sarah vs The Farm” by Angus MacNab makes a crop duster pilot of Chuck when he receives the Intersect.  Angus is an excellent story teller, with an obvious love for flying.  The title is a double meaning with Sarah adjusting to a “cover” life at Chuck’s rural home, while being more aggressively at odds with the government than in canon.

Chuck vs The Masquerade” by CostasTT is a little different from Costas’ earlier tales.  More involved and complicated.  Chuck is recruited by his old buddy Bryce when its realized he looks exactly like Hans Lichtenstein, a nefarious criminal whose organization the CIA is eager to infiltrate.  Another on going story, its been updating weekly.

 

And I’ll leave it at that.  A lot of fun stories there, and a very different sort of list than what I’ve done here before.  None of these start where the show started, many have no mention of computers, Buy More or The Intersect.  These are all different sorts of adventures for Chuck, Sarah and the rest of the gang.  But they’re all a lot of fun and a good way to revisit our favorite characters.

~ Dave

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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54 Responses to Complete Alternatives

  1. Pingback: Chuck in Overview: The Complete Series | Chuck This

  2. aalleess says:

    Of the stories on your list I’ve read Chuck vs the Hollywood, Permutations and everything by ninjavanish. I especially love Chuck vs the Sunken Treasure and its sequel in progress. I hope the author won’t give up on it.

    • atcDave says:

      He sure has slowed down a lot. And he has one of those dreaded job things now, which can cause problems with one’s hobbies!

      • authorguy says:

        There’s a fix for that, just have no life other than the job and writing fanfics. I’m trying Twist of Fate now, but I’m finding the close duplication of canon tedious. Hopefully he’ll stop basically quoting episodes and do more original stuff as the story goes on.

      • atcDave says:

        He definitely goes back and forth between closely following the show and heading off on more original material. I believe he made it to a fourth (?) story in the series when he ran out of steam. Too bad, it was a fascinating idea and I was really wondering how he was going to resolve some major issues. Like how the whole situation ever started!

  3. resaw says:

    I always appreciate these posts, Dave, because you give us more stories that wind up being must-reads. I’ve read several that you have described above. I’ll mention one more story that I just began reading earlier this month, although the chapters began rolling out in June last year: Steampunk.Chuckster’s Chuck Versus the Steampunk Chronicles, set in a fantastical version of the 19th C. Steampunk Universe. If you’ve read The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling you will be familiar with the genre.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m always glad to provide “must reads!”
      Steampunk.Chuckster is certainly a good writer, and I like a lot of what she has to offer. But I would say that version of Sarah is a bit darker than I prefer. Its also a very angst filled story. I would maybe be more enthused with it if some of that tension would let up, and it was more just goofy fun. But it doesn’t look likely to go that way.

  4. authorguy says:

    I’m not so interested i these types of stories, although I’ve read a few of them. If the Charah relationship is what drives your interest in the show, then it transplants easily to other contexts. I do love the Charah but I also feel strongly about the plot of Chuck, so my preference is for stories that stay as close to the plot as possible, or fit into places where the plot doesn’t say anything. I will have to read some of these, as I don’t recognize some of the titles.

  5. thinkling says:

    I often really enjoy the AU stories. It’s quite fun to consider how different events and circumstances might have changed Chuck and Sarah and their story … and how they would react, being basically the same people, in altered circumstances – or completely different universes. Even within the AU genre, there are levels of AU-ness.

    I guess the one thing that I don’t care for so much in AU stories is a heavy-handed use of Canon as a template for the story, especially the the CS aspect and the pacing of their relationship. Obviously Chuck and Sarah have to be Chuck and Sarah, but if they are in different circumstances, I like to see some of those differences played out in the path and pacing of the story, as well as in nuances in the characters themselves and how they relate to each other.

    I’ve read and love many of the stories on your list, and (as usual) you’ve given me more to try. Yay, more to read!!!

    Another one (in progress) I have been enjoying, that’s not on your list, is The Detective and the Tech Guy by the Charleses (Dettiot and Steampunk.Chuckster). Sarah is a Pinkerton detective assigned solve a murder at a tech company and protect it’s CEO (the presumed real target) Chuck Bartowski. It’s at a bit of a low point right now, which I hope the next chapter will fix.

    • atcDave says:

      I’ve been reading “The Detective and the Tech Guy”. There are parts of it I enjoy a lot, but its another one that is taking too long to deal with the angst for my taste. That is a funny thing, obviously I think canon also took too long to deal with it. And I think once canon did deal with it, it had some impact on how I read fan fiction. I remember once, in a discussion here, Frea commenting she was worried the romantic progress in canon would lead to pressure from her readers to move things faster than she intended. I think, at least for me, that’s exactly true. Although there are plenty of legitimate sources of tension between the characters, as a reader, I just don’t have the patience with them that I might have back in 2009/2010. Writers who take a lighter touch with it, like Quistie or Costas are more likely be favorites of mine than when a writer pounds it into the ground. Not to say the tension and angst don’t belong, they absolutely do. But progress and resolution are required too.
      I’m not so enthused about stories that seem to exist just to put the couple together in the last chapter; I’m more interested in the things they can do together as a couple than the journey just to get there. So a couple of pretty high profile stories out there; and I mean high profile because they’re interesting and well written, don’t work so well for me just because they feel like they’re moving too slowly for my taste.

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean about the “canon as a template” comment. If you just mean stories that stick close to canon with only small changes, I can understand that. Although I’ve enjoyed several of that sort, they often have less re-read value just because they’re already covering a lot of ground I’m very familiar with.
      But if you’re thinking more the prolonged sort of ups and downs we saw on the show, well I won’t even read most of those. I think I’m allergic to love triangles…

      You aren’t kidding about “levels of AU-ness!” The range is just amazing to me. The characters, mainly Chuck and Sarah, are what drive my passion for the setting. There’s a number of stories out there that don’t interest me so much because of focusing on a different character, or even an OC. Although when I started writing this post I was a little surprised that I couldn’t think of any ancient or medieval versions Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        Canon template: 1) like you said, a story that follows canon with very little changes; or 2) a story that’s different, but labors under the tedious compulsion to put CS through identical relationship pacing of canon.

        Like you, I want to get them together sooner than canon and see what they do together. I have less patience for a long story that goes through all the ups and downs of canon, only to unite them at the end. Been there, done that in canon. I’ve enjoyed some stories that get them together at the end, especially if there’s a compelling plot and steady relationship progression, but in general, the rom-com/fairytale model has limited appeal with me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree exactly with that Thinling. Some of it may be an age thing, I’m at a point where I’m maybe less patient with the uncertainties of youth. And some of it is the impact of canon. Its part of the price ff writers pay for playing with “pre-made” characters. They get the benefit of an already invested audience; but inherit the baggage of canon too. We may be tired of certain story types before the writer even uses them once.

  6. uplink2 says:

    Thanks again fro the mention Dave. I do appreciate being included with so many great stories. I’ve just completed a re-read of Ninja’s trilogy and Sunken Treasure. He replied to a review that he does plan to finish U-Boat but yes is working on writing quite a bit of stuff for that dreaded real life.
    There are so many great stories in this fandom that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes and interests. Some really great authors are just appearing as well as the fanbase gets expanded because of NetFlix. I’ve really enjoyed some recent reviews with new fans reading my stuff that only came to the fandom recently. It shows that we will be around for quite a while.

    For those that have wondered I am still writing and will have some updates soon as real life and some serious writers block hit me hard for a while. Don’t want to commit to any dates but both of my unfinished stories should be updated over the next few weeks. I just hope folks remember them.

    • atcDave says:

      Its great to hear you’re still at it!

      And I sure do hope the fan fiction community keeps these characters alive for many years to come.

    • aalleess says:

      May I ask you, since you write fanfiction, how you feel about the comments? I feel silly making a comment like “Good chapter.” but often don’t know what else to say.

      • authorguy says:

        I don’t intend to speak for Uplink or any other authors here, but I love all comments, especially comments that allow for a reply other than ‘thanks’. I have relatively few commenters on my stories but they are great for feedback. I don’t want to put people on the spot to be witty or incisive, though, so I don’t ask.

      • anthropocene says:

        I concur with Marc here. Some reviewers like to ask questions or discuss nuances of a story, and I am always happy to do that. And I also welcome constructive criticism, which I sometimes receive. But I am always appreciative when a reader checks in with any kind of comment, of any length. What I most like is to know that the reader is enjoying the story and wants to read more of it!

      • uplink2 says:

        Ditto for me too. The comments/reviews are the only way we get to see how we are connecting with the readers. I appreciate the fact that anyone would take time out of their day to read my ramblings and then take the time to thank me for doing it. They really are the only “compensation” we get and I will always remember the excitement I felt when I got my first one and that goes for every one since. I know I’m not a great writer and I’m ok with that. I think I’ve gotten better over time and some of those comments have really helped me there. But if I can connect on some level than I’m happy and I seem to have done that on occasion. So any reply from a reader is like manna from heaven.

      • atcDave says:

        aalleess if you’re concerned with airing a comment publicly you can also PM the author directly. Then its just between the two of you.

      • thinkling says:

        Like all ff authors I loved reviews. They encouraged me to keep going. To me that’s the main objective of reviews — to encourage the author. We’re not pros. It’s not the NY Times. My personal ff review : If I don’t like the story, I don’t leave a negative review; I just quit reading. I use the public review page to encourage the author with a something positive. If I have a criticism (hopefully constructive), disagreement, or correction (of a story I like enough to keep reading) I do it in a PM.

  7. joe says:

    Another great list of “must-reads”, Dave. But tell me; when are YOU going to try your hand at this? Hum?

    Its a pity geriatric Chuck stories aren’t all the rage…

    I’ll say. Talk about personal relavence. I mean, one time, when I was talking to Homer about what he said in the Iliad – oh, wait…

    • duckman says:

      Thanks for this dave. I tend to enjoy the au stories more myself. I wanted to add something about a couple of the fics above, and I’m sure applys to other fics as well. The show itself almost always excelled in its use of music and for me permutations and in particular sound of music 2 did just as well if not better. The requests Chuck played for Sarah in permutations are now in my cd collection, that’s just not the kind of music I’m exposed to normally and after checking the songs out on amazon, I was impressed enough to buy the cd’s. Anyone who reads som 2 will know the scene where they dance to Caro Emerald. If I could ask for one thing from a Chuck movie, the inclusion of that scene would be it. I almost immediatly became a huge Caro fan and owe it to a Chuck fanfic.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s awesome you’ve found new music through ff Duckman. No surprise that Chuck ff writers would love music, it was a huge part of canon too!

      • uplink2 says:

        duckman, you have just given me the best possible result from writing Permutations. Thank you so much for posting that. I spent a lot of time choosing those songs both because they were some of my favorites and because they fit the mood I was trying to set. The fact that you chose to listen to them and then added them to your collection is the best thank you I could be given. I take that as very high praise.
        That story was very personal for me in that I spent a number of years as a jazz dj back in college. Getting to share some of those songs with my Chuck family was something I really enjoyed adding to that story. Thanks again.

      • duckman says:

        uplink- your welcome. I’m one of those who really doesn’t know what to say in a review thus I wind up rarely leaving them. It struck me right away how perfectly those songs fit. I’m slowly putting together my own Chuck soundtrack and am including a number of fanfic songs on it, these included.
        I’m a pretty soft hearted old nerd anyway, but the end of permutations really got to me, in a way I wish the show would have.

      • uplink2 says:

        Thanks. The baby monitor was always planned from the very beginning when I got the initial plot bunny. As a matter of fact it was the only thing that was planned besides the basic concept and that callback. The fairytale just sort of happened on its own the night I wrote that scene. Like I was simply typing what someone was dictating to me. It connected with a lot of people and many times those moments that write themselves come out the best. Thanks again.

    • anthropocene says:

      It would be fun to do a story about a 70ish Chuck and Sarah getting into some adventurous trouble together and having to pull out some old skills…of course, that would be in the 2050s, so it would require some serious sci-fi prognostication. But I do already have a title ready: “Chuck Versus the Walker (And I Don’t Mean Sarah)!”

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt Joe, I was thinking personal relevance for many of us!

  8. I personally think the original story is awesome enough! that said I have enjoyed Sarah Versus The Farm quite a bit! There’s a reason I decided to set my fan-fic after the finale though, its being written strictly off the top of my head (no pre planning involved) and seeing as this is my first attempt at fiction I decided to build off the already existing cannon, its coming along nicely though!

  9. aerox says:

    Heh, thanks for the mention. GS still gets quite the attention/rereads from the ff crowd, so it does make me happy to see something I’ve created stick around for so long. I’ve actually been re-reading a lot of nV’s stuff and damn that guy writes a compelling story. I should probably wave the angry-beta stick around again, see if I can get him to forsake real life and give us more words.

    • atcDave says:

      A lot of readers sure would be pleased to see U-Boat finished! But I completely sympathize how life, and work, can make it tough to make time for hobbies.

  10. Angus MacNab says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Farm, Dave. And thanks to an unsung hero here for pre-reading the last chapter and offering a lot of valuable input.

    I can really sympathize with nV about real life throwing a wrench into things. Maintaining creative momentum has also been difficult because of it. I thought for sure I’d have another chapter of Farm out by now. However, I started rethinking a lot of the plot after publishing the last chapter and the next three have found themselves cut up into pieces all over the figurative editing room floor. Rethinking and rewriting have become the operative words of the day of late, and It’s led to a lot of second guessing and slowed the creative process to a crawl.

    • atcDave says:

      I know how frustrating it gets just trying to stay on schedule here, and most of our posts are far simpler things than a well crafted piece of fan fiction like you, and many others, have agonized over.
      But we sure do appreciate how much excellent material we’ve all been able to read! I look forward to more of “The Farm”, but no rush. Make sure you’re good and pleased with what you’ve done.

  11. oldresorter says:

    My summer viewing project is called The Murdoch Mysteries, 7 seasons worth, and still going (I think). It is set in a Toronto Police Station approx 1900. Character wise, a detective more Bartowski than Chuck in many ways, his older boss, more Casey than Beckman, and one of the leading roles. His assistant, who is Morgan like, except not best friends, an awesome character. The LI for the Morgan character took the coroner’s job early in the show, not many doc’s around the turn of the century. And then a real wt/wt LI for Murdoch, who darts around the show, and is just ‘off’ enough that the angst is probably OK, but is ‘on’ enough that I root for her / them, but they do not consume the story, not at all. She is probably the #2 character, and I think she’d make a nice TV lead character (or actress). So they have Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, Alex and Casey as the regulars, more or less, which is a nice base to work with.

    Story wise, the fun thing is each week they either invent something now common place, or they meet someone like Henry Ford or Marconi or Voltaire or Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle, or something like hot dogs or hamgurgers or pizza is introduced, and the characters reaction is priceless. The mysteries are decent, not awe inspiring, not terrible, kind of like Castle. A bigger back story is sometimes in play, but does not over power, again, maybe like Castle.

    In tone, its maybe a bit more serious than Castle, maybe a bit like Chuck, where the show is funny, then goes off and gets pretty serious.

    Has anyone tried it? Give it try, see what you think, if you are looking for a Chuck-like replacement.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks OR. I’ll try to check that out!

    • thinkling says:

      I watched 3 seasons. I enjoyed it, found it intriguing, like you. But they pull the rug out from under the romance at the end of s3. Reading ahead, things were only going to go from bad to worse (with the romance), so I bailed. It is a good show. Just don’t over-invest in the romance.

      Now, after not watching for more than a year, I might join back in, but with more of a ‘meh’ attitude, since part of what drew me is gone. Sorry, to be spoiler-y, but if I had known not to invest in the romance, I might still be watching. Of course, we all know how much I love wt/wt.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for the heads up, that may be a deal breaker.

      • oldresorter says:

        I quit too. I almost always read ahead to see if the romance gets stupid, just like you did. But, I gave it another try, and once you know its coming, it isn’t nearly so bad. One thing about angst, it’s easier to write in the 19th century, especially when the star is a devout Roman Catholic and his love interest is a liberated woman before woman even had the right to vote. I know of two more contriviances coming used to keep them apart, both are decent devices, building up both characters integrity and showing their love, even as they stay apart due to circumstance. One is what I thought Chuck’s writers might use in season 5 actually, although my other guess was amnesia. I think they dialed back the love interest story from season one too, taking the doctor off of the crime team really, really, really helps. She makes a statement later in show, when she comes in to help, we really should work together more often. Of course, moments after that, another contrivance pops up.

        Not to spoil too much, but Crabtee, like Morgan, really ramps it up as the show goes on. In many ways, he is the show’s #2 character, and he and his LI are my two fav characters on the show. In season 1, his LI wasn’t there, and he was kind of in the background, so for me, the show got better.

        One more word about angst, it sort of is the nature of these dramedy type shows. The key is how the writing team treats the characters while keeping them apart, and how well the other LI’s are placed in the story, as characters themselves, as percieved fits for the show’s stars, as people, as well as do they fit the flow of the show, or disrupt it. Murdoch is doing OK with that. If you get that far, tell me how you think they did?

      • thinkling says:

        I may start back with s4 and see how far I get. How far along are you, OR?

      • oldresorter says:

        Think, I’m almost done, middle of season 7. I watched season one about a year ago and quit, when it was obvious to me that the wt/wt was in play, I read wiki and confirmed the two leads were not pairing up any time soon. Then started up again this spring, when alternatives didn’t interest me. I’ll rewatch it this summer in greater detail once I finish up, which I very seldom do. Like I’d never watch Bones again.

        Dave, if you were to watch one ep, watch this one: It shows how complicated the show gets using history, and in this case while making fun of itself. This ep is very representative of how the characters are, and how they interact with each other.

        Murdoch Mysteries, Sea 7, ep 3 – The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch

      • atcDave says:

        Okay I’ll give it a try.

      • oldresorter says:

        Think, if memory serves me, s4 of Murdoch, is the equiv of s3 of Chuck, where the show really loses its way. The re-invention first takes place in s5 with Dr Grace’s arrival, and with Crabtree becoming more of an important character. s7 is the best season, by far, IMO. Should it have, could it have happened quicker? Yep. But all these shows more or less follow a formula don’t they?

        If you are interested, here are a bunch of 2-3 sentence reviews about the latest 24 ep, Kate Morgan is mentioned positively in quite a few. Fingers crossed this helps her career!

        http://www.24spoilers.com/2014/06/02/review-roundup-24-live-another-day-episode-6/

  12. thinkling says:

    Well, like I said, if I had been warned, I might still be watching. Now that I’m over the let down and I’ve lowered my expectations, I may try it again … to fill the hiatus.

    • oldresorter says:

      Think, I have one more thing, then I’ll quit Murdoch’ing you. Turns out Murdoch and Chuck have another thing in common, I read that Murdoch Mysteries were told sea 5 was their last 13 eps, as ratings were not very good and the show was not affiliated with a very good network. The show ended, then got rescued by a bigger network for a 6th season. So the end of s5 was a series ender of sorts. sea 6 got 13 eps, sea 7 18, and now s8 is going to air next year. I read that ratings improved. I liked s6 and s7 much better. OK, sales pitch over, you’re on your own (Thank goodness – eh?)

      • thinkling says:

        It’s on my list. That’s interesting about the network rescue and better ratings b/c of it. We’ve often discussed here, as you know, how Chuck might have been better served by another network.

  13. CubsKing says:

    One that I can’t believe you didn’t mention:

    Young Bartowski by Doc in Oz.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7358557/1/Young-Bartowski

    From the title, I’m sure you can guess it’s a parody of Young Frankenstein. As with most of Doc in Oz’s work, it’s predictably hilarious and well worth the read.

    • atcDave says:

      Doc in Oz is definitely one of my favorite writers. Although I’ve liked other stories of his better, Young Bartowski is fun, and has some great moments.

  14. atcDave says:

    For all of you who read and enjoyed “Chuck vs Hollywood” by CostasTT, I posted a (vaguely) related post at “Plane Dave” today. Its the story that clearly inspired the movie “Steel Furies” staring Sarah Walker!

  15. aerox says:

    A very pleasant surprise in my inbox yesterday. Available for your eyeballs right now. Enjoy.

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