Chuck in Overview: The Complete Series, Part 2

So another re-watch is complete, and we’re all several years older.  How have perspectives changed?  How does the show still effect us?  Why do some of us still visit this site?!

After the jump let’s take a brief look at Chuck, a few years on…

It does seem strange to me that we’re still so busy here so long after the fact.  Don’t get me wrong, daily traffic has shrunk.  During the show we averaged over 1000 hits a day.  During our peak in Season Three we had over 5000 hits some days.  We’re now down to under 300 hits a day.  That’s still respectable.  A couple years ago I started my own scale modeling site (planedave.net) that has gradually built a following and now gets most of my attention.  But that averages under 100 hits a day and only exceeded ChuckThis once in its history (over 600 hits, and I honestly don’t know what happened that day!)  So even in its long denouement Chuck and ChuckThis remain a big part of my life.  I expect to one degree or another that will continue.

Why?  I mean seriously, it was just a dumb show.  Sometimes the emphasis really belonged on the “dumb” part too.  And yet so many of us aren’t ready to let it go.  I’ve always enjoyed television; not like those who leave it on all day long, but I enjoy an hour or two of television at the end of the day.  As such, I’ve watched a lot of shows, I’ve had a lot of favorites over the years.  I still do; Castle, Grimm, Madam Secretary and Limitless are my current favorites.  But Chuck still holds a special place.  On my previous Overview post I discussed a lot of the elements that helped Chuck work so very well for me.  I won’t go into quite so much detail this time.  I’ll stick with calling it a well balanced spy themed action/comedy; and mention the very likable main characters and terrific chemistry of the romantic leads as the major hooks.

Now, several years since the end my perspective has changed a little.  Not a LOT, but a little.  A big thing would be just to say the show itself seems a little less extraordinary in a way.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always have fond memories of the whole experience, and eagerly look forward to any excuse for a re-watch.  But that eager anticipation, and constant 24 hour pre-occupation is long gone!  Good thing, because life goes on.

The most enduring part of the experience is Chuck and Sarah.  But it’s funny how completely that’s come to mean fan fiction for me.  Several fan fiction universes are of far more importance to me than canon now.  That is likely to be true going forward.  Obviously fan fiction is now the only source of new material.  But it’s even bigger than that.  Canon is now permanently burdened by some serious missteps and story telling blunders.  I know not every reader will agree with me, but I will always regard the Season Three main arc as disastrously out of character and thoroughly unpleasant; the ending as rudely abrupt; and several other less important poor decisions along the way all diminished the characters and epicness of the story.  Several fan fiction writers have given us far more appealing stories for Chuck and Sarah.  The one particular point I’ll mention here is just that a great part of the show’s initial hook for me was two good people drawn to each other but with a hopeless conflict of interest that made it impossible for them to acknowledge it.  The story works best when they rise above that impossibility and figure out how to make a life together.  But canon was written like a television show (!) and by drawing the wt/wt period out beyond the natural, or external obstacles; it made the main characters look flakey in a way that reduced their nobility and the appeal of the show.  So many fan fiction writers have found better ways to tell this story in a way that doesn’t flush those first two inspiring season down the [drain].  And with almost four thousand Chuck titles published at fanfiction.net the huge variety of stories for these characters and setting is amazing.

I know, I’ve said all that before.  It’s just as true today as it was in 2010.  But now that is relevant largely for how it effects all my television watching.  I admit I am a big softy.  I love a good romance.  I mean, you know; I’m a guy, so I’m first drawn to things blowing up, tanks crushing cars, and irresistible hammers meeting immovable shields.  But an appealing romance keeps me coming back.  Unfortunately what I like isn’t how television writers think.  To be fair, as a viewer in his early 50s, the television writers likely don’t care what I think anymore. But for what it’s worth, I like seeing the featured couple triumph over long odds and face the world together.  And I want to see it, not just have it teased as a show’s end game. 

I’ve become pretty stubborn about not supporting the writers who screw that up.  Regulars here are no doubt aware how I recently practiced this with Castle; when season eight started in a way I couldn’t abide I quit watching.  Now I’ve liked Castle a lot over the years.  So when I heard things had sorted out somewhat I tuned back in.  But that means I missed eight episodes.  And what a shock, ratings are down this year.  So this could be the end for a long time favorite.  I think that’s just.  When a show fails its audience it looses its reason to exist (It’s only because of a long affection for the show that I gave it another chance).  And that may be one of the lasting lessons of the Chuck experience for me.  I’m no longer inclined to just go along for the ride.  Our viewership is the only meaningful feedback we have to offer.  I don’t mean to say we should never have patience to let writers tell a story, or that we shouldn’t allow for the occasional dud episode (seriously, have you ever seen a show that didn’t fail sometimes?). But when a show heads off in a direction I can’t stomach, I will shut it off.  My deepest hope is that in time we will train a new generation of writers.  I am beyond tired of some of these tropes we’ve been saddled with for 40 years.  We were fortunate with Chuck that the show did eventually take chances and go where few have gone before.  But I still want better.

I can apply this more broadly too. It is fairly common for many shows to get progessively darker as the story unfolds.  Obviously in some ways this works, but all too often we see the mood of show change dramatically over the course of many seasons.  Happily we avoided this on Chuck (with only a one season aberration), and many other readers and viewers will have different hot buttons than I do; but I think it’s a good idea with active watching to support those shows that deliver, and not support the ones that fail you.  It’s often easy to continue a show out of habit, but I won’t do that anymore.

I hope that didn’t come across as too much of a negative. I am more engaged in my viewing decisions.  But if it did sound too negative, one part of the Chuck experience could never be seen that way.  That is, broadly, the Internet aspect of it.  First of all that means I’ve become more an Internet user in general, and far more as a participant.  My experience here provided the initiative for starting my own website.  A couple years ago I was thinking about what interested me most about all the models I’ve built and if there was something I could do to archive them.  Four years (at that point) of working on Chuck This provided my answer, and I feel like I have a whole new way of exploring both my love of history and modeling.

In a more immediate way, and probably of more interest to readers here (!), this site has created a community and an outlet that has been deeply satisfying.  I mentioned earlier that I do like television, and favorite shows have long been a casual part of conversation with friends, acquaintances and family.  I particularly remember long discussions about Star Trek and Babylon 5.  But I quickly found in Chuck a show where my appetite for discussion exceeded anyone else around me.  So fan sites and the Internet filled a gap early on.  When this site got going it quickly developed into a specialized community all its own.  No doubt the discussion and effort fed a cycle of further Chuck obsession.  But it was so much fun!  And I’ve enjoyed the discussions, the arguments (mostly), the anticipation (I miss that!).
At this point the community is the hardest part to let go of, and it pleases me that so many still visit and comment here.  The relationship among the principals has been particularly strong, and apart from Faith (who lives on the wrong coast!) I’ve met and much enjoyed the company of the whole crew.  It’s worked out particularly well that my wife and I have had a few visits with Thinkling and her husband and we really count them as friends.
Most of our Chuck This relationships are more “one issue” in nature, but with the passion shown by many visitors here that one issue runs surprisingly deep.

And this sort of leads to the big questions of what’s next for this site.  Out of six principals I’m the only one still routinely active here, but the others may still pop in with their own ideas and plans at some point.  For myself I think things will slow down some.  I expect to do the occasional fan fiction post, and long time visitor here, garnetflint, recently suggested a “fan fiction Hall of Fame” series.  That could be fun.  Maybe something for not only my favorites but other readers’ favorites too. I will think on this some more and maybe over the summer play around with it.
I also expect we’ll do something for Chuck‘s 10 Year Anniversary in September of 2017.  Can you believe that’s already coming up so soon?  But I expect a few posts and a new “Episode of the Week” sort of thing at that point.

I actually do have an announcement/plea along those lines I hope will get some interest.  One long time reader, Anthropocene, offered to do a guest post.  This could be fun!  And I know more of you would love to have your own post, so I’d love to hear from you!  The best thing is to contact me by PM at fanfiction.net or E-mail me here.  You could even use the “Contact Us” tab at the top of this page, but you know, then you’ll go through Joe instead of me (let’s see if Joe responds to that!).
This is your big chance.  Just for once to put your thoughts in the article and reduce atcDave to comments!  We have done this sort of thing before, several readers have had their own guest posts.  But I would love to see a few more now.  Especially since I need a break.  Okay, really that means I’m out of ideas, I’ve said all I have to say.  Until one of you provokes me into a 1000 word comment (!).

I would also say don’t be shy about commenting on any old article already up.  Well, some have had comments shut off due to spam issues.  But most are there waiting for any pertinent remark.  And I always look forward to hearing from the Chuck community.

~ 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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84 Responses to Chuck in Overview: The Complete Series, Part 2

  1. Justin says:

    Chuck hitting the big 10. Wow.

    I like this part of your post “…for what it’s worth, I like seeing the featured couple triumph over long odds and face the world together. And I want to see it, not just have it teased as a show’s end game.” I feel the same way about a lot of romantic relationships on television. Some teasing is alright as long as it comes to a timely payoff and the show can grow beyond that.

    Though I would love to do a Chuck guest post, I don’t quite have the energy at the moment for that sort of thing with school and my writing.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m not surprised we agree on this Justin!

      It’s no problem about the writing. It’s an offer for anyone with time and an idea.

      • Justin says:

        Have you heard of the series Outlander? They paid off the romantic tension between the central characters within the first several episodes. After that, the series became about their complicated marriage and external struggles.

      • atcDave says:

        That does sound appealing.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Dave, I’d warn you off of Outlander (unfortunately). There is a lot of violence, blood and nudity. It is a very well done show, but it is very adult in nature.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for the heads up Ernie!

      • Justin says:

        Yes, it’s true that it is an adult series and there are some moments that are hard to watch but the chemistry between the star-crossed lovers Jamie and Claire is to die for. Rarely, have I seen such a sizzling romantic connection on television.

  2. Since we’re veering off into alternatives to Chuck, has anyone seen iZombie? It’s become a favourite of mine. It’s on The CW network in the US. The two-hour finale is tonight between 8 – 10 pm (the digital cable service here in London, ON pulls it from a station in Buffalo, NY). There are some Chuck elements, if I do say so. The main character, Liv, has become a zombie, which has made her rather pale and turned her hair white, but she manages to stay relatively normal by consuming the brains of the corpses brought in to the morgue where she works as a medical examiner. The twist is that the brains serve as sort of intersect for her in that she takes on the personality of the person whose brain she consumes. As she investigates the crime that caused the deceased’s death, in the company of a Seattle PD detective, various things trigger a memory from the brain that contribute to the resolution of the case. It’s usually quite a lot of fun to see how the brain of the week influences Liv’s personality, and there is a larger arc each season (end of season 2 tonight) that ties together the weekly episodes. There are definite comedic elements to the show as well as some serious drama, and Liv even has a bearded friend, although he is tall, not little, and his ethnicity is Indian by way of the United Kingdom, rather than Hispanic. I would also add that there are complications in Liv’s love life, just as there were in Chuck and Sarah’s, but instead of espionage protocols there’s that little matter of her being “undead.”

    This got a little long…apologies.

    • atcDave says:

      Although I’m tempted to just say it doesn’t sound that appealing to me (!), who would have guessed I’d become such a big fan of Grimm. There’s virtually no way to describe it and do justice. It’s just insane loopey fun.
      So I guess there’s no telling what might work.

      • Justin says:

        I’ve watched Grimm and I know what you mean. The show has its moments. What do you think of the Nick/Adalind situation? I think they rushed the relationship a bit. It would have been better if it was more gradually paced.

      • Justin says:

        BTW have you ever gotten around to seeing Parks and Recreation yet?

      • atcDave says:

        Well I really like Nick and Adalind a lot. I agree they could have built it up better, but there is so much else going on its hard to squeeze in. But they are such an unlikely couple (far worse than nerd and spy!) and I think Adalind is one of the more entertaining characters I’ve seen. We’ve seen her grow from being willing to do anything to get her powers back, to being a devoted mother. oh and being a deadly rival to Nick at first to saying she loves him now. Quite interesting.
        It is also amusing to me that her screen chemistry is better with Nick than Julette’s was (since the actors are a real couple, it’s funny they just didn’t work on screen)

        We also just heard Grimm was renewed for anther season, so yay!

        No I haven’t seen Parks and Recreation. I’ve heard good things, but never got around to it.

      • Justin says:

        Grimm being renewed for a sixth season gives me mixed feelings because this show had the feeling of a final season with everything that’s been going on with Nick/Adalind and the Black Claw conspiracy. Since that isn’t the case, I worry where the show will go after this season.

    • oldresorter says:

      I’ve never watched a second of Grimm. I might have to give it a try, maybe this summer in some sort of power watch.

      Hulu’s 11.22.63 finished itself up, since it’s based on a book, that will be it, no sequels or anything, an 8 episode mini series, a little less than 8 total hours. I really enjoyed it, and I don’t like King’s stuff at all, so I was surprised I liked it. I do like the what if history was changed sci/fi trope. But, I also read a review, that said the story was first and foremost a love story, which I agree.

      The 11.22.63 ending was different, but I really enjoyed it, once I took a deep breathe. And I kind of could see the type of ending coming. I suppose that’s how many of you felt with chuck. For me, unlike 11.22.63 which ended perfectly for the story told, I thought Chuck had a bad ending for the 5 year story. I suppose tthe right ending took place so often in the 5 yrs, I can kind of see why the bittersweet beach scene took place.

      Kind of interesting that two love interests bit the bullet this past week, one in Arrow, one in Sleepy Hollow. I don’t think Sleepy Hollow is long for this world either though.

      I don’t think I’ll watch many more eps of Legends of Tommorrow. I’ve watched a few, my #1 comment, I don’t know if I ever watched a show where I liked the characters less. By far my fav character is Ray Palmer, Routh is great in the show. But that’s about it. I’m 100% confident, that a slightly toned down Shaw, played for comedy rather than angst, even with a bit of stupid PLI’s, would have killed it in chuck after watching Routh in Arrow and Legends.

      Finally, Scorpion’s Walter is so unlikeable, that I’m now ‘shipping’ the newly introduced PLI with the female lead. The rest of scorpion is really fun, seems to have many of the elements of Chuck, except 100% of the show is on point, no 33% lost to the Buy Morons.

  3. garnetflint says:

    Bah! I wrote a lengthy note about why I thought Chuck had meant so much to my family and I went to post it and it crashed…
    In any event maybe a short note is better.
    Clearly no TV show has ever grabbed my full attention and involvement like Chuck did. I think in my heart of hearts the “sometimes the nerd gets the girl” is what really caught our attention. Yes lots of shows have played with the WTWTtheme, but I can’t recall any that took a hopelessly outclassed nerd and giave him a shot at romance at the same time taking a beautiful and mysterious, but somewhat broken, woman and showing us that she could fall for this guy. The first two seasons, Season 3.5 and some of season 4 gave us a great view of this development. The first rule of TV (taken from the first rule of realestate)….Chemistry Chemistry Chemistry. Perhaps what I am most upset about is how they squandered this “Epic” romance in season 3 and then tweaked our noses (intentionally or not) with the final two episodes of the series.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree with all of that GF. I’d add that not only did the nerd get the girl, but they made it believable with that amazing chemistry!

    • “somewhat broken woman”: Although the show was called Chuck, I’m not the first person to find Sarah the more compelling character and the arc of her personal development through the series the more engaging. That, of course, made her memory loss all the more brutal to watch. Equal to “the nerd gets the girl,” was “the girl gets a guy who helped make her whole” (I know, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…) for me. I know the show was called Chuck, but surely Sarah’s development wasn’t just at the service of Chuck’s development and had meaning in its own right, didn’t it?

      As a complete aside, am I right to think that garnetflint is a nom de plume? Are you in the abrasives or filtration business? Or do you just have a thing for gravel?

      • atcDave says:

        I think the end was harder for those of us who found Sarah the more compelling character, for exactly as you put it Russ. And when I’m feeling cynical/grumpy about the whole thing is when I say exactly as you suggest, the writers never really cared much about her character, she was just the prize.

    • anthropocene says:

      I have to chime in here, both to agree with Russ’s assessment of Sarah’s trajectory, and also to bristle mildly at any characterization of Chuck as “hopeless” simply because he’s a nerd. At the start of the series he’s certainly underachieving (which can be blamed on the blows he took at Stanford), but nowhere near hopeless. He’s not physically unattractive, and right from the start he’s portrayed as intelligent, funny, personable, kind, and a natural leader. Sarah picks up on all of that the first time they meet, and later admits to have fallen for him immediately. Sure, Chuck is a total newbie to the spy world and has a considerable learning curve, but he typically gets into his early-season fixes by acting on his conscience—not because he’s inept—and he ends up saving the day anyway. And yes, Sarah is beautiful and bright and deadly and worldly, but at the start she was also emotionally damaged, interpersonally deficient, and culturally narrow—in her own way, just as much a nerd as Chuck. Sarah understood better than anyone that she was never ever “out of Chuck’s league,” and she never tried to make Chuck think that she was, even while having to hold him at arm’s length for far too long out of a sense of duty!

      I hold that this series, whether intentionally or not, was more about two gifted but damaged people bonding and healing each other than about “the nerd getting the girl” (a 1950s-vintage trope). Real nerds are more Chuck Bartowski than Sheldon Cooper, and Sarah Walkers can and do fall for them for good reason.

      • Justin says:

        “I hold that this series, whether intentionally or not, was more about two gifted but damaged people bonding and healing each other than about ‘the nerd getting the girl’ (a 1950s-vintage trope)”

        Well said, anthropocene, and a beautiful way of perceiving the show.

      • thinkling says:
        I hold that this series, whether intentionally or not, was more about two gifted but damaged people bonding and healing each other than about “the nerd getting the girl” (a 1950s-vintage trope)

        Whole-heartedly agree, Anthro. I love the scene that goes with the line. It’s one of my favorite episodes and one of my favorite scenes. Even as Chuck tells Mark Ratner, “Sometimes the Nerd gets the girl,” in that moment Chuck realizes that it’s true for him. He finally sees that Sarah loves him. Of course it’s all over her face as she slow-mos into the gym. Then moments later in her fight with Heather, she confirms that she has indeed fallen for the Nerd. To me that line is more of an epiphany for Chuck than the theme of the show.

        Perhaps some lines that highlight your theme for the show would be Chuck’s gas-enhanced confession in Three Words and Sarah’s fear-induced confession in Phase 3 … and her wedding vows. I’m sure there are others, but those leap to mind.

      • Indeed, well said, Anthro.

      • atcDave says:

        I would have to say, as a self identified nerd, I never saw “nerd gets the girl” as in any way a negative on Chuck. And I would definitely say he is one of the best nerd characters ever on television.
        In fact, I’ll take it a step further and say I think we too often exaggerate how damaged our two leads were at the start. They both had some growing to do, but they were also both appealing characters from the very beginning. As such, I can find plenty to agree with in both slightly different takes on Chuck and Sarah from both GF and Anthro. These things don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Chuck was a nerd, but not in a bad sense (!); both characters were damaged, but not grossly so….

      • anthropocene says:

        I’m mostly with you on this, Dave. I too am a nerd, and mostly what I object to is the perception that it’s unlikely that someone like Chuck could end up with someone like Sarah. In fact, I don’t think anyone other than Chuck could possibly have “handled” Sarah (bada bum!). I do agree with your point about overplaying their personal baggage, which is why I put “gifted” first. First and foremost they were two appealing characters who deserved and got each other, but I think the darker side of their story defined the “dramedy” and gave Chuck and Sarah authenticity—rendering them more than just a 21st-century Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. They arrived with trouble-filled backstories, and in five seasons went through more trauma that could have messed them up even worse, but which was blunted by their mutual love and support. My favorite parts of the show were the dark times that ended up making them stronger.

      • atcDave says:

        It is funny about the nerd getting the great girl, I’ve known several such cases. I usually say for myself I married a cute nerd girl, so I married a perfect fit; but then I often hear “you married above yourself”, so go figure…. (Maybe nobody expects nerds to marry at all?)

        I do agree much of the darkness nicely brought out their devotion and love. Of course I always have to qualify that by excluding the misery arc where they mostly gave up on each other. But I absolutely loved that ferocious determination to look out for each other, especially in those first two seasons when they were not technically “together”. It was particularly satisfying to see Sarah demonstrate her love long before she was able to say it.

  4. thinkling says:

    At one point, the principals discussed doing a series of post along the theme of “These Are a Few of My Favorite Themes.” I’m sure that would be good for a number of post, when and if anyone found the inspiration and energy to pursue it. There are so many intangible elements or timeless themes that weave throughout CHUCK, and these are the aspects that make many of us love the show as much as we do.

    My Intersect series was the first of my posts from a Favorite Themes series. The post traversed the entire series and consumed far more time and energy than I originally imagined. And thus it became my last post.

    Ernie also started a “Favorite Theme” post, and if I’m not mistaken, ran into the same reality that themes span the series and thus consume much time and energy.

    But I still like the idea of thematic posts highlighting some of these themes, like the one Anthro just sited. Just food for thought for anyone who might find the time and energy to inspire us with a reminder of some of Chuck’s lofty ideals.

    • atcDave says:

      I’d be happy to put up any such post!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Yeah that one broke me. As I wrote I realized how much more I had to say and a planned three part post went to 5, with the last one 2500 words with probably just as many to go based on what I outlined (having already written 12,000 words on the subject). I still tell myself I’ll finish some day. Maybe for the 10th anniversary of the show…

  5. joe says:

    Hi, guys & gals. It’s been a while, and it’s been too long since I’ve added to the discussion.

    First, let me say I agree almost completely with Dave’s sentiments. I too have had a tremendous amount of fun here, not just writing posts but reading the (many, many) comments over the years. Mostly, the fun has been in the people – Dave, Ernie, Amy, Jem, Thinkling and all the regular commenters who became friends even if they didn’t realize it. Dave, you’re right. The Chuck Community has always been the most interesting and amazing thing around, especially those days we were all fighting and lobbying for the show to be renewed. Remember Chucktoberfest?

    And I also agree that I just had to write about it. I just had to say what I was thinking about the show and the NBC boards started me on that road leading to here. Honestly, I didn’t expect so many others to have that same need, and boy, am I grateful for that.

    Like Dave, I don’t think about Chuck itself 24/7 like I once did, but man, it’s still an enjoyable watch. Even S3 becomes tolerable when you know what’s coming, right? 😉 But some things just remain constant. My 5 mile runs (oh, was I young then!) have become 5 mile walks, but I still listen to all the music I collected from each episode. That little exercise really introduced me to the music being made today, which is something I hadn’t done since the ’70s ended.

    Also, I look for different things in television shows now. Castle, Person of Interest, Grimm and even new shows like Limitless (is that Chuck-like or Chuck-lite? I haven’t decided!) have all caught my interest because of the way characters interact, adjust to each others’ idiosyncrasies and then evolve. (BTW, Dave, Castle seems back-on-track, and much more like S1 and S2. I also think they got very clever with some subtle “Easter Eggs” that were planted when you weren’t watching, but you’re very right. Took ’em too long to get here where it’s enjoyable again.) And of course, thanks to Casey and Alex, I still love Downton Abbey.

    I’ll be checking in every so often. ‘Till then, thank you all, very much.

    • atcDave says:

      And thanks Joe for founding this site!

      Castle does have a lot of its early sort of fun right now. I don’t think I’ll ever worry about those episodes I missed, but I’m happy with where it’s now at.
      Funny comment on Limitless. I think it’s both “like” and “lite”! Brian is a likable protagonist, but not nearly as admirable as Chuck was. And I’m still uncertain if we’ll see such a romance. Chuck and Sarah seemed soul mates from pretty early on. Brian and Beckah seem best friends. I like it, but it’s not connecting at the deepest levels… Yet…

    • anthropocene says:

      Joe, I have you to thank for inspiring the theme of my pending guest post…muah hah hah.

    • DKD says:

      The news has come out and that Stana Katic is leaving Castle. A lot of “behind the scenes” revelations are coming out about tension between her and Fillion. One article said it was the reason for the way the season went.

  6. atcDave says:

    One thing I do want to mention, and left it out of the main post because it’s a little too self serving, but I do want to mention; I really am proud of this site and what all we’ve written here.
    There’s times when I wasn’t pleased with some of the arguing or nitpicking. But I still love going back and re-reading old posts and comments sometimes. That was my favorite (and most time consuming!) part of the recent “Episode of the Week” posts. So many interesting discussions, some good analysis, and REALLY passionate reactions. I clearly spend more time with this site than I ever did with the show itself.
    It’s particularly fun to see how opinions and analysis grew or shifted over the years. I have found a few things I wish I’d done differently. Especially a few fights I wish I’d stepped away from sooner; and I would have been much, much harder on the writers at the start if I’d really known what they were going to do with S3. But that extreme malfunction may be part of what keeps this all so pointed for me; this one show was both brilliant and idiotic during its run. It’s a lot like reading about many military campaigns (!).
    And I’ve loved writing about it.

  7. Ernie Davis says:

    Well it seems appropriate that we each weigh in with what this site meant to us, gave to us and did for us. In the summer of 2009 I followed the suggestion in my Netflix that since I liked Firefly and Veronica Mars I might like Chuck. I was aware of the show since I was Watching Heroes. I’d caught a snippet once of Chuck Sarah and Casey talking in the Home Theater Room with Sarah in her Weinerlicious uniform and Casey in his BuyMore green. Chuck didn’t have his pocket protector in so I didn’t get the Nerd Herd thing. I just wondered why a lady spy was dressed in a Dirndl. Anyway, I put it in the queue and when it arrived I put in the first disk. The next day on the way home from work I stopped by the Buy More Best Buy and bought season 1 ’cause I couldn’t wait for Amazon shipping or the next Netflix disk to arrive.

    I was already a goner but didn’t know it. Something odd happened to me when I reached the end of season 2 in iTunes. I started re-watching episodes immediately. I wanted more time with these people. I went online and found the NBC board, started writing some epic length posts and to my surprise people actually liked what I had to say (and actually read the whole posts). Amy’s tagline on the NBC board led me to this site where again, people actually not only read, but seemed to like my comments.

    In December of 2009, while I was home for Christmas, I got an invitation to join the blog as an author. It felt like getting invited to the cool kids table. Or the nerd version of that. The rest is history. Writing for this site taught me how much I love writing. It helped me polish my style and find my voice. It taught me how to watch TV and get the most out of it. It gave me a great many eFriends and lead me to twitter, instagram, and the new (at that time) world of social media and online fandom. So some plusses and minus’ (JK. sort of).

    I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life through this site, and some BTS with the other authors on this blog. I too love to re-visit them from time to time, and will continue to do so. And maybe I’ll even finish that last post some day.

  8. Ernie Davis says:

    Oh, just a FYI that goes back to an earlier conversation on current shows we watch. On the latest Blindspot Jaimie Alexander wears a turtleneck for the bulk of the episode.

  9. noblz says:

    atcDave et al, you guys done good. I was late to the show (Oct 2009 via DVD) and to this blog (sometime after the end, during the first re-watch and I joined up with you guys during the Mask on that re-watch) and through it all I’ve enjoyed this and will continue to participate.

    Now for the show. I have been obsessed with shows before (Numb3rs, House, NCIS) but none ever held me for the entire show and beyond…Chuck did. I know we dump a lot of grief on TPTB for botching S3 and shortening the show (Guilty here) but there was another error, IMO, after the writer’s strike they made the decision (Schwartz I heard) not to make any more content for S1. Chuck never reached the numbers they had in S1 so that decision and S3.0 shortened my favorite show.

    Everyone knows I have a top 10 (29) of episodes I could watch an infinite number of times and still enjoy. If I picked 2 from each Season from my list to be the best illustrations of the essence of the show, here they are S1- Wookiee and Undercover Lover (Best Casey Episode IMO); S2-Cougars and Colonel (this was tough S2 was that good); S3- Honeymooners and Subway/Ring2 (always count as one); S4- Phase 3 and Wedding Planner (also very tough I liked S4 best…probably); S5- Hack Off and Baby.

    I have followed the three main actors since. Zach’s best was probably Heroes reborn (terrible show for my tastes, but Zach was great). Yvonne’s best was probably Dexter S7, but she was also very good in 24: LAD. Adam’s best has to be Last Ship. Hope Yvonne can finally get a good movie to go with her TV chops (Manhattan Night doesn’t look to be it).

    As to moving on, there have been many that didn’t survive the first Season (Intelligence, Finder, Forever and Terra Nova), it seems as soon as someone hears I like it, the show gets cancelled. I am currently only following 3 shows (Scorpion, Limitless and Hawaii 5-0) but none have grabbed me like Chuck did.
    You guys keep it up and I’ll keep playing. Here’s to hoping for a rebirth of the show or for the actors to appear in something else together we can enjoy as much as we did Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      It’s always great to hear from happy readers!
      Most shows shut down early that 2007-2008 television season, the strike was long enough it threw schedules all out of whack. I think it worked for the best Chuck did so; Marlin was a pretty good rest for a long break, and they made some significant changes with that longer break that I think led to S2 being as strong as it was (making Morgan slightly more sympathetic, and leaving Devon exactly as he seemed). Basically, the original vision seems to have been slightly darker and I’m pleased for the changes they made.

      Very interesting idea about choosing defining episodes, I like it, I’ll play. Just to be clear, these are defining, not necessarily “best”.
      S1: Pilot, Tango
      S2: Tom Sawyer, Best Friend
      S3: Honeymooners, Role Models
      S4: Phase Three, Wedding Planner
      S5: Business Trip, Baby
      I would say S2 and S4 are sort of the key seasons, and there are a number of additional episodes I could have chosen for both. Obviously I agree exactly S3 was very damaging to the show’s longevity and my esteem for it.
      Of course I’m guilty of often making too much of that. The bottom line is, the show runners, staff and cast created my favorite television characters ever, a setting I thoroughly enjoyed, and story that (mostly) worked well. Of course I can imagine things being better to my liking, but we still have a final product I like quite a lot.

      I’m glad to hear you’ll still be around Noblz! You’ve long been a big part of discussion around here. I expect things may slow down a bit without a “regular” posting schedule for a while. But we will have a new post up tomorrow! And I hope for a number of others in the months ahead

  10. Justin says:

    atcDave, did you heard about Beckett being kicked off of Castle next season? This is such crap and another reason why the show should have just ended after Season 7.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely. Ideally they’ll just end it now.

      • atcDave says:

        One thing I would add, having just done a little bit of browsing around, it looks like the several of the problems (story, and Stana wanting out last year) are related to clashes between Nathan and Stana. I don’t really care about any finger pointing, that’s none of my concern; but this is EXACTLY why I always say I’m pleased the Zac and Yvonne seem to be at least tolerably good friends. I don’t care about details and gossip, I just hope they’re in a good place when talk about more Chuck becomes serious.

    • This is me being cynical but…kill her off and have a short final season centered around solving her murder, maybe she joins the CIA and dies in service…why can’t they suck it up and last 13 more episodes…

      • atcDave says:

        That’s exactly the end I would hate. It would be the writers having a snit and taking out frustrations with Stana on Kate.

      • oldresorter says:

        I still am a Castle fan. There is no doubt to my eye, this season is very different, even post break up. It seems Kate / Stana gets the B plot with her two Moron Detective Boys, while Rick gets the A plot with his two new Muses – Hayley and Alexis. I like it, as the Kate / Rick or Stanic / Nate dynamic simply is gone.

        I’d be fine with Kate going missing, be unhappy, but still on board with Kate dead. I’d hope that the show tries to get by with no PLI / LI between Rick and Hayley, so far there has been zero of that, from either direction. hayley works as more an older sister type to Alexis and daughter to RIck, the comedy bounces well off of him when coming from that direction.

        I more wonder if Kate is gone, who / how the Buy More like police station gets carried by, ideally Captain Gates would come back, as really, that is more or less all Kate is doing this season anyhow.

        PS: I now fully understand, thru my Castle interest vs many others who are really upset with the show / showrunners / the world in general how some pretty much liked Chuck, no matter what got written. Cause that pretty much is me toward the castle show / showrunners. I envy those who felt that way about Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah it s funny how our levels of engagement vary from show to show. I suppose from a show runner’s perspective a very high level of investment becomes less helpful.
        There’s no doubt I’m less engaged where Castle is concerned, but even so I’d be pretty unhappy with an ugly outcome for Caskett. I think the best option is to just end it on a good note here. This is the first time I’ve felt that way about this show, but it’s obvious the problems are now serious.
        I could imagine a reboot centered around the detective agency, with Alexis and Haley as the new main characters. Maybe Castle is on fairly regularly too and Kate is mentioned but never seen. It could work. But for now I’m fairly unenthused.

  11. Martin Traynor says:

    I used to crave Mondays for Castle (I had a standing Monday appt. that prevented me from even discovering Chuck until well after it was over – which I’m actually grateful for. How you all lived through it real-time I’ll never know – it would have driven me nuts!) before and up to when Rick and Kate got together.

    I had such hope/faith in the production team that they could and would write them together so much better than they have. I hear a lot about the “Moonlighting Curse,” but I think the real problem, or curse, there was the real-life, behind-the-scenes drama between the stars, not the any issues with the writers.

    With Castle…it seems, at least up to now, to be a writing/production issue. Too bad, too, because I’m at the point where I almost wish they would kill off Beckett. I can stand her character less and less as the show wears on ( and I love the actress, esp. in the third Librarian movie she did with Noah Wyle).

    I may be one of the few people who really enjoy the Rick/Haley/Alexis dynamic, and would like to see more of it. I would also love for there to be more Caskett time, if done like the ep. where they honeymooned at the Old West attraction, ie., they were fun.

    I do enjoy Ryan and Esposito, but Beckett as Captain just isn’t working the way they’re playing it. I made note to my wife that it was interesting in the last ep. that Beckett and the boys celebrated by themselves, and Rick and the girls went their own way. Guess maybe we know why now…

    • atcDave says:

      I think watching in real time was more good than bad; although no doubt, sometimes the bad was pretty bad! It was a lot of fun discussing episodes one at a time and speculating over what comes next. The anticipation of waiting was half the fun! Obviously in the front part of S3 that all sort of came off the rails. From the end of Ring in April of 2009 until Other Guy in April 2010 was a whole year with only 13 episodes and virtually nothing good. So yeah, THAT part of real time was pretty awful. But then the rest of that year and the next was just all good. I truly loved the real time experience and miss the anticipation and excitement.

      For Castle, well, I fear anything other than a happy end of the series in a couple weeks will basically ruin the show for me. I’m mildly annoyed I even picked it back up a couple weeks ago. Last season ended in a good place, that’s how would like to remember it. I’m very sad to learn about the tension now.
      I can still imagine a retool of the series that would work, but maybe not very well. A never seen but “present” Beckett could be played for laughs. Let Haley and Alexis be the main characters, or main supporting cast. Get rid of the whole police department cast.
      But I bet ABC will just cancel. I would. Too much of a reboot for a fading show is a risky decision. Time to drop it.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave -they shot two different endings – at least I read that somewhere, one if the show gets cancelled, the other if not. I’d guess one ending is happy, and the other propels the show forward, without Kate.

        Dave – IMO the reboot will still include Rick.

        Martin I agree, IMO Alexis, Hayley and RIck are fantastic together for me too. But if they ever went the PLI route, even a hint of flirting between RIck and Hayley, I wouldn’t like them. What makes those three tick is the lack of romantic tension …

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, I would expect it to include Rick.
        But now more than ever I just hope they cancel.

  12. noblz says:

    For the purposes of this post I will use the terms reboot and remake. I will probably get this wrong but reboot will be the same actors as the same characters in the same show (see “24: LAD” and “Heroes Reborn”) and remake will be a total update of a series (see “Hawaii Five-0”). I hope we will get a Chuck reboot but I would want a limited event TV series (see “24:LAD” and “Astronaut Wives Club”) not a movie, we’d get more show that way.

    Now I think the onscreen chemistry of the three leads, especially Zach and Yvonne, was great and I’d like to see them work again. As I was watching an episode of Hawaii Five-0, it occurred to me that we could see the three in a remake of something from the 80’s or 90’s. My leading remakes to employ our favorite leads would be 1) “Hart to Hart”, 2) “Scarecrow and Mrs King”, 3) “Remington Steele” or even a total retooling of “Magnum, PI”. Who says you can’t have Joanna Higgins (Yvonne), after all look what they did to Kono on Hawaii Five-0 (from heavyset Hawaiian dude to thin Korean woman) and have a romance instead of bromance.

    I think any of these would be fantastic. I would totally watch any of these.

    • atcDave says:

      I think the remake/reboot definitions are even more fluid than you indicate, but no doubt my strong preference would be to see the original cast in a new Chuck series… But I’ll take whatever we can get.

      I do think Zach and Yvonne could translate their chemistry into a number of other projects, but Hollywood doesn’t work that way anymore… All sorts of silly talk about being limiting or whatever…. I would love to see them work together again.

      • noblz says:

        It’s a shame really. Why can’t we have on screen pairings like the old days. You know Bogey and Bacall or John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. As you say, not much of that anymore, but Zach and Yvonne could totally be an onscreen pairing.

      • thinkling says:

        Or Hepburn and Tracy

      • atcDave says:

        Absolutely!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I once laid out my concept for a cast re-union here.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know I’m a big Thin Man fan. That would be a perfect non-Chuck, Chuck reunion!

      • anthropocene says:

        Could the dog from “Chuck Versus the Suburbs” be brought back to play Asta?

      • atcDave says:

        A special cameo!

      • oldresorter says:

        If they can recast the Kono character the way they did, why not have Morgan recast in the Asta role, faithful man servant and constant companion to Nick and occasional off beat helping Nora get in mischief by getting in Nick’s way when the two of them are supposed to ‘stay in the car’? If Baldwin were willing, he’d be so good as the disgruntled police commissioner, Jeff and Lester make great cops, with Big Mike as the inept ‘Sarg’.

        Yep, those two (or more) in thin man would be uber special.

        Lots of tv seasons starting to come to a close, some doing it pretty well, some not so well. I would guess this boards favorite current ship is FitzSimmons, I wonder if the writing ogre’s have something bad planned for them? Things going too well for them right now would be my fan fear, certainly that can’t stand in modern TV?

      • atcDave says:

        …and staring Morgan as Asta! I love it.

        I’m not a huge FitzSimmons ‘shipper, bot no doubt I fear for them. To much time left to really mess things up.

      • Justin says:

        One of the things you count on with Joss Whedon is bringing doom to a romantic relationship sooner or later.

  13. atcDave says:

    It’s official Castle has been cancelled. I’ll call that a win.

    • oldresorter says:

      I’ll probably miss it more than most of the few regulars left here, but I sort of a agree. Not only castle, but most shows seem to really struggle keeping the ‘ship’ on a great course thru the seasons, be it the staff, the cast, the writing, the fans, the budget, so many disasters waiting to happen. Castle saw more than it’s share of drama by the end, and it probably was time to mercifully put it down.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll miss it a lot, but it’s obvious it needs to end.
        There’s a lot of reasons why it can be hard to keep any show going, and entertaining for very long. The single thing with Castle was just that the leads were not getting along. But that’s just one of the many things that can break down over a long run.

  14. Martin traynor says:

    “The single thing with Castle was just that the leads were not getting along.”- ATCDave

    I believe that was also the “true” Moonlighting curse that everyone keeps referencing for why main characters don’t spark/work after coupling.

    The only curse is lack of imagination or taking a new direction.

    • atcDave says:

      It certainly was true for Moonlighting itself!

      • DKD says:

        People often forget what actually happened on Moonlighting. Maddie and David consummated their relationship at the end of a season. In between seasons, Cybill Shepherd got pregnant with twins in real life. They had to work around the fact that she couldn’t work much. That’s why they had little screen time together the season following.

      • atcDave says:

        Yes, watched through it in real time.

  15. Martin Traynor says:

    The moonlighting curse isn’t that the characters got together…it’s that the actors fell apart. The pregnancy was the biggest factor, but I believe the leads couldn’t stand each other. The writers actually did a pretty decent job, considering what they had and didn’t have to work with.

    I say bring the leafs together and change them s bit to be more fun. Chuck and Sarah were fun together. Rick and Kate had flashes of fun, but could have been so much more.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with most of that, except ultimately I do blame the writing. The pregnancy could have been worked with so much better. In particular, the had the two leads apart and Maddie actually married someone else. I’m old school enough that that essential kills any other romance. Because I can’t like or trust a character who cheats, if they marry someone, I can no longer root for another pairing. For Moonlighting it was the end.

      Obviously two leads who dislike each other is a complicating factor. On Castle we heard that Stana returned this season on the condition she would only work with Nathan three days a week (?!). I have no idea if that is TRUE; but I will say, when problems reach that point it’s time to end the show.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Dave,

        I forgot all about them having Maddie marry some else, and I wholly agree with you.

        But the curse isn’t because the characters got together, it was a combination of leads not liking each other / not wanting to work together and a big failure on the part of the writers.

        If you have romantic leads that aren’t professional enough to be able to share more than 2 minutes of screen time together in 40+ minutes, there isn’t much you can do with that. And I’d wager, given those circumstances, that none of TPTB cared enough at that point to try and make the romance work.

        Whether laziness, lack of imagination or a desire to do something “edgier,” they went in a totally crappy direction. Cadtle did the same thing. Seems the single biggest factor may be having the leads work well together, with a very close second being writers with skill and imagination. It still doesn’t help with Chuck season 3.0, but at least they got it back on track. Can’t say that Castle ever really did. Nor did Moonlighting.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with all of that. I completely don’t buy the Curse, I pointedly DO want to see the featured romantic couple enjoy their time together as a couple, after the wt/wt game is over. I actually look forward to that particular change of direction for any show.
        Chuck did ultimately handle it quite well in spite of the misstep of the misery arc. Castle has also mostly handled it well until this season when the leads have spent too much time apart.

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