'Chuck: The Complete Second Season'
(Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: This season, Chuck is in luck. Intersect II is ready for espionage service. And that means the old Intersect (Chuck) can go back to his old life. But if Chuck goes, he’s gone: Casey has orders to off him. In the series called "TV’s funniest comedy" by EW.com, Chuck survives to unravel mysteries of the past, become a hero in the present, and – in a stunner of a season finale – chop-and-drop himself into an even more perilous future!
DVD Verdict: To recap, Chuck is your run of the mill computer geek who works at the fictional Buy More (think Best Buy) as a computer technician in the Nerd Herd (read: Geek Squad, except more competent). Life is normal, albeit a bit boring, until one day when he has the entire contents of the CIA and NSA's mainframes downloaded into his brain. Chuck is now a walking, talking human crime fighting supercomputer.
In the blink of an eye, he is catapulted into the world of danger, terrorism and espionage, completely unprepared. Indeed what does a screwdriver wielding, Halo playing geek know about disarming nuclear bombs, and neutralizing biological toxins? To help him survive, and thus keeping the only copy of the CIA and NSA's shared mainframe safe, are two undercover agents--Sarah Walker, played by the gorgeous Aussie actress Yvonne Strahovski, and John Casey, played by the brilliantly versatile Adam Baldwin.
Their job is to help maintain Chuck's cover as your average geek, and to protect "The Asset" at all costs. And thus begins Chuck's double life. By day, Chuck works at the Buy More with Agent Casey as a fellow employee, and the Agent Walker as his cover (fake) girlfriend. By night, Chuck is dragged, sometimes unwillingly, on CIA sanctioned missions so that he could provide the necessary intelligence.
But to say this is just another spy action drama would be a mistake. All of the spy drama and action is just a backdrop to the romance, comedy and heart that makes the show one of a kind. Chuck, as the unlikely hero, is instantly relatable to geeks and non-geeks alike. He is hardly your stereotypical superspy. While agents Casey and Walker get their injuries from dodging bullets and surviving torture, Chuck gets his by tripping and falling on his face while climbing through a window.
Yet, despite his endearing incompetence as a spy, his decision to constantly risk his life for his family, friends, and the innocent people around him has earned him the grudging respect of the hardnosed Agent Casey, the genuine love of his fake girlfriend, Agent Sarah Walker, and the admiration and loyalty of television viewers around the world.
Chuck's star crossed relationship with Sarah is tortuously good to watch. At first blush, it may seem entirely too farfetched that the beautiful, glamorous, and yet deadly super spy Sarah Walker could ever fall in love with Chuck, the geek next door. And yet Zack Levi and Yvonne Strahovski have managed to pull it off with aplomb. It seems entirely plausible that Chuck, through his naivety and the selfless acts of heroism, is able to win Sarah's affection.
Their relationship is further complicated by the fact that to be an effective protector, Sarah is bound by her duty to not fall for Chuck. And as if the fates weren't cruel enough, they must maintain their cover and pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend.
Just as entertaining as the romance and spy drama, are the antics Chuck and his bunch of cohorts get into away from the CIA. The entire supporting cast is just wonderful. First up is the versatile Adam Baldwin, who is able to play a merciless NSA agent in one scene, and then turn around and become a comedic foil for Chuck at the Buy More in the next. Imagine a battle hardened veteran who has survived in the battlefields of Iraq and endured two years of torture as a prisoner, being forced to wear a polo and sell electronics with a bunch of bumbling buffoons. Hilarity ensues!
Then of course there are Chuck's best friend and fellow nerd Morgan Grimes (played by Joshua Gomez), and Chuck's sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) who really grounds Chuck's character and make him believable and gives him the genuine humanity that saves the character from becoming a two dimensional caricature.
All of these elements come together and find a balance that makes the show at once thrilling, comedic, and heartwarming. It faintly echos the best parts of Alias, another spy drama that has earned a special place on this reviewer's DVD shelf. This is undoubtedly one of the best shows NBC has produced in years. [XL] This is a Widescreen presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Truth, Spies and Regular Guys: Exploring the Mythology of Chuck
Dude in Distress: explore some of this season's best action sequences
Chuck Versus the Webisodes: web originated minifeaturettes
Chuck: A Real Life Captain Awesome's Tips for Being Awesome
John Casey Presents: So You Want to be a Deadly Spy?