Yeah or Nay: Spies, The Bad Guys

With my “Favorite Themes” post expanding I find myself with a surplus of new content, mostly polls and the parts of my post that are still being written (which could eventually equal Thinkling’s 5 parter).  So to keep things lively, and give me some time to write, here is another Yeah or Nay.  This one is about the villains of Chuck.  After the jump.

So, while you all know the drill, but I have to warn you, this is a long one.  As usual you can take the test here if the extremely long inline test isn’t playing well with your browser.  I’ve changed the format and broken it up by one page per season.  Enjoy.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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45 Responses to Yeah or Nay: Spies, The Bad Guys

  1. resaw says:

    I voted nay on a lot of the season 4 and 5 baddies. Often I felt the stakes were contrived or the villains poorly wrought. I even voted nay on Quinn because I can’t shake the feeling that he popped out of nowhere and didn’t emerge “organically” from within the overall arc of the series.

    • authorguy says:

      I was okay with Quinn as a villain, but I wished he’d been used better. I voted no on a lot of these guys mainly because I couldn’t remember who they were. Some of the ones I did remember were boring. I loved Tommy Delgado, not so much the Demetrios clan. Many of the villains from S3 were quite well done. S4 and S5 were more focused on the relationship issues, so the villains were pretty poor.

    • resaw

      I’m fixing that issue (Quinn) at this very moment…i think everyone will love what i have planned or at least i hope they will…next chapter will be finished soon!

    • anthropocene says:

      I agree about Quinn. As others have suggested, if he had been tied to the Decker/conspiracy arc, that would have worked fine.

  2. atcDave says:

    As I’ve said before, I think Chuck was never truly ABOUT the villains, so I mostly held them to a pretty low standard.
    Apart from a few who were sort of larger than life, I mostly just tied this to the overall episode. So those of S3 generally score poorly, the other four seasons score pretty well. As long as I remember an episode well, I’ll usually remember the villain well.

    • anthropocene says:

      That was how I voted as well.

    • thinkling says:

      Some were important and had to get a thumbs up. Some were one-shots and totally forgettable. Some were one-shots, pretty unimportant — but they were just quirky enough or cheesy enough or oddly endearing and therefore unforgettable. Long live Juan Diego Arnaldo and his nut cake and Von Hayes and his Lamborghini. Two of my favorites, absent from the list. Maybe Arnaldo doesn’t count since he was a reformed bad guy.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I agree exactly, and those are both great examples of the more endearing sorts of villains the show often did so well.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I don’t consider either to be bad guys. Juan Diego was turning himself in and Von Hayes didn’t realize who he was working for and immediately tried to make a deal with the good guys. You’ll get the chance to vote for both.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Two villains in the same episode (Kept Man) are a perfect example. Rocky Falcone, Utterly forgettable. St Germain gets a yeah for the circumstances of his demise alone. His banter with Casey is just icing on the cake.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with how you rate the villains, except I’d say that since I find the episode pretty weak, it leaves both villains pretty forgettable.
        By comparison, someone like the “Elfin Queen” is fairly unremarkable, except a strong episode leaves her as a lasting impression.

      • authorguy says:

        I had no idea who the Elfin Queen was.

  3. anthropocene says:

    I think the only first-team bad guy who was used to the fullest was Alexei Volkoff. I always wished that Zarnow, Roark, Tommy, and Vincent had lasted longer in the Chuckverse. Maybe Lazslo too. Having one or more of them return to plague Chuck, Sarah, and Casey in the finale arc would have been much more satisfying than bringing in Quinn (although I thought he was a reasonably good villain).

  4. duckman says:

    35 %. Tough quiz! I was surprised how many of these I have no recollection of at all. I thought the s1-2 villians were far better for the most part. Most of the later ones were just annoying to me. It seemed like their only motivation was to screw with chuck, that only works once or twice. Villians are out for profit and or world domination, not to hose one guy. I wish we’d seen more female villians, especially later in the show. I thought riley’s henchwoman was far more interesting than his one dimensional annoying ass. Viper could have been good but the whole storyline she was in just blew huge chunks for me. I would have liked someone like smooth lau with an actual evil plan for world domination instead of an ugly white guy looking to create artificial angst. It seems like as the show went on it became more like every other show and less like chuck.

    • I disagree. the best villains have a vendetta against the hero(s) but that doesn’t mean they won’t use money to coax organizations into dong it for them…thats the route i am taking with my story (no Shaw i promise) plus i HAD to clean up the conspiracy arc and Quinn.

      • atcDave says:

        I think a little of both is ideal. I most prefer when the villain has an agenda that initially does NOT relate to the protagonist. Well, normally. The occasional very personal foe is okay; but I do think its a weakness of the later seasons that everything became too personal.
        Now that said, that doesn’t actually impact my impression of any given villain. I evaluate each on their merits. I thought Volkoff was the loopy best villain of the series. But I also liked Tommy’s menace, and Quinn the psychopath.

        I think the world feels bigger, and the cases more important, when they start from our heroes doing their job to keep the world safe. Its great if a villain becomes personal in the course of the story. But I do count it as a weakness of Chuck that thing grew SO personal by the end.

      • duckman says:

        It strikes me that just on this board, there are a number of us holding polar opposite opinions of what constitutes a good time in entertainment. What Josh goes in for, (and one of the site principles too I think, I forget who), to me is vile, and in any other show would get turned off in less than a minute. Yet here we are, all of us, stuck on the same cancelled tv show, bitching about different “faults”, which the other considers a positive attribute. I think that’s part of the reason ratings weren’t what they should have been, they were constantly displeasing someone! They were proud of the “comedy-drama-romance” thing, but that’s a double edged sword, the drama crowd is checking their watch during the slapstick, and the romance people are getting irritated at the drama, especially if’ it’s a bit contrived. Throw in jeffster and someone is always pissed at the showrunners. They really did seem to have an impossible job trying to please such a diverse audience.

      • authorguy says:

        If season 3 had maintained the same feel as the previous two this would probably not have been the case. If S3 had been made along the lines of nine2five (which I wrote to be exactly that), they might not have felt so compelled to skimp on plot elements in S4. The main reason they went overboard with the Charah fluff in S4 was because they felt they had to appease the shippers after S3 got such a negative reaction. I like both plot and fluff, but only in the proper proportions.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree that’s a major issue duckman. Although I find it interesting that those splits are pretty minimal during the “set up” phase. The first two seasons that drew in such an unlikely assortment of viewers. It was then how things played out that seem to have caused severe faults.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        duckman, while I’d be reluctant to characterize what someone else likes as “vile” (there are other less inflammatory adjectives such as course, disagreeable or unpleasant) I have been saying something along these lines since the spring of 2010.

        IT is why so many shows reach for a pure procedural with absolutely minimal serialization.

      • duckman says:

        Ernie- I certainly mean no disrespect to you or anyone else. Your terms of discontent are probably more accurate anyway. The passion we all feel works both ways, when a fan digs something about the show the writers are heroes, when the opposite occurs, some of us can get carried away. I really wouldn’t blame fedak if he want’s nothing to do with us or the show ever again, and I suspect that may be the case. I think most of my frustration is with the unrealised potential. Chuck could have been a hall of fame show.

  5. Dave

    i think that stems from bad writing…. if you buy into the build up to a conspiracy then its climax needs to be well thought out…which is why this chapter is taking me so long…fixing bad writing is difficult but i welcome the challenge, otherwise i wouldn’t attempt it at all.

    • authorguy says:

      Fixing what is broken is always a pleasure for me. I never felt any desire to write wholly original fics in the Chuck ‘verse.

      • anthropocene says:

        I’d say yours are as original as anyone else’s fics, Marc.

      • authorguy says:

        Perhaps, but that was always in the service of improving canon, not making my own story to extend canon. At least it was for S3, which had a story to improve. I have to do a lot of original work for S4, which has a bit of a story, but it’s shot through with plot holes and poor development. I expect S5 will be the worst yet, since I plan to make the Decker conspiracy the whole season.
        At one point I had an idea for an original Chuck story, the first meeting of Carina and Sarah, but Arya’s Prayers has a wonderful scene in the recent chapters of Becoming that was so perfect I consider that story told already.
        After S5 I think the real development of Chuck is done. That’s the only benefit of Sarah’s memory loss, I guess, is what happens to them all as she recovers. That’s a good next season, but you and Angus and Josh and lots of others are telling that story already. I did my version of the memory fix, and I don’t go back over my own footprints (my S5 will definitely not have a memory issue).

      • authorguy says:

        I need to correct myself. I’m not doing a lot of original work for S4, which is why my version of S4 will be much shorter than canon. I’m snagging useful material from a lot of episodes, but not the fluff. I think I have three minor references to Wedding Planner, for example. Most of that episode will boil away, along with most of CZ, Coup D’Etat, and a lot of Seduction Impossible, and CAT Squad.

  6. duckman

    I don’t necessarily “go for that kind of angle” lol, i simply have ideas about things within the show that the writers messed up on and a conspiracy (ether domestic or international or both ) is one of them. but ultimately i hope the finish product has something that everyone likes and it helps not to be on a strict timetable

    PS anyone who frequents here is welcome to send me PM’s over at fan fiction.net to ask questions about my story (a link to which was included in a more recent post on this site; thanks for that Dave!:)}

    • authorguy says:

      “it helps not to be on a strict timetable.”
      That’s one of the reasons I don’t bash the scriptwriters much. They had to crank out their product at great speed, much faster than I do. My own chapters take quite a long time to create, and that’s with years to think about it, and the examples they’ve already created to draw on. I can’t imagine how long it would take me to work up something without that.

      • i could probably do a completely original story but i find it more fun to build on whats already there..i don’t know how much free time you have but i could use a beta reader…family is nice but they aren’t “inside the show ” like a lot of people are.and it wouldn’t be all the time (or anybody else?)

      • authorguy says:

        I’ve never been a beta reader. My writing consumes all my free time, even though it looks like my schedule has slowed down. That’s a function of the lack of coherence to S4. S3 had a much stronger story, so I was able to get those chapters done in half the time.

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