Space Ramblings

What’s Wrong With Chuck

Chuck is back for a third season, a surprising renewal after weak second season ratings, but these days NBC has to hang on to what it’s got. And watching the first two episodes of season three, it’s all too obvious why a show that should be appealing on the surface never really took off.

1. Chuck is too mild mannered. And I mean the series, rather than just the title character. That doesn’t mean Chuck needs to spill buckets of blood, but the show is completely devoid of tension or suspense. A few high kicks and telegraphed punches don’t define action. And Chuck isn’t alone in this. The failed reboots of Knight Rider and Bionic Woman, also show that the one hour action drama that used to define prime time television in the 80’s has all but vanished, with the exception of FOX’s 24.

2. Chuck is a sitcom. The show is basically a sitcom without a laugh track or enough jokes. It’s impossible to take it seriously as a drama or even a dramedy. It’s not Buffy or even Alias. It’s not really anything at all, and that’s the problem. Chuck is so busy trying to be likable, that it never really becomes anything at all. It never takes itself seriously enough to be a drama, so much so that the death of Chuck’s brother in law leaves you scratching your head. But it’s not funny enough to laugh at.

3. Too many sideline characters. The second episode kills off one of them, but it’s not nearly enough. Too many characters that aren’t used for much of anything are okay on a soap or a sitcom, but on Chuck they mainly hang around. When really the show only needs the three team members, and no one else.

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