Monday, September 29, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'Chuck' season two review

In today's column, I am very happy to see new and improved episodes of "Chuck":
What’s the opposite of the sophomore slump? The sophmore surge? Sophomore surprise? Whatever you want to call it, "Chuck" is experiencing it — big-time. An amusing enough diversion during a brief pre-strike run last fall, it’s found a higher gear at the start of season two. All the entertaining pieces that didn’t quite click with one another are now working in harmony, and there may not be a show on television that makes me happier right now.
To read the full thing, click here.

I know that the season premiere has been available for a week on Hulu, but I'm going to ask those of you who have already watched it to refrain from any kind of spoilers in the comments to this post. I'll have a separate episode review set to go at 9 o'clock, and we can talk specifics there.


Matt said...

My one worry is that they've added A LOT of new regulars in the opening credits this season (5 of them, by my count). While all of them were basically regulars last season, I'm hoping it doesn't throw off the balance of the show too much--the show has to balance the spy stuff, the family stuff, and the Buy More antics.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Matt, as you say they were all basically regulars last season, and their screen time isn't any bigger in any of the episodes I've seen than it was last year. This is just the show acknowledging what every viewer knew last year: that these people are just as much a part of the show as Morgan or Ellie.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting having Chuck and Heroes run back-to-back on NBC, because in some key ways, they're the same type of show. Both borrow the standards from well-mined genres (superhero comic books and spies.) Chuck uses that to its advantage-- taking the cliche genre elements and using them as the basis for humor or turning them around some way to become funnier. Heroes is also recycling basic genre ideas, but it takes itself super-seriously without even being able to laugh at itself.

And hopefully without spoiling anything, this episode has the best music cue I've heard in a while.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the ones who couldn't wait and downloaded the season premiere early. Anyone who hasn't seen it yet is in for a treat!

I really wish "Chuck" and "HIMYM" weren't on at the same time, they've become two of my favorite shows. I don't have a DVR so I usually watch "Chuck" the next day on the NBC website, but I can't help fantasizing about how cool Monday nights would be if "Heroes" and "Chuck" switched time slots.

Anonymous said...

Alan, this has nothing to do with Chuck, but I wasn't sure where to ask this... how are the Thurs night lineups being affected by the VP debate this week?

Apologies for getting off topic.

Alan Sepinwall said...

how are the Thurs night lineups being affected by the VP debate this week?

Office and Grey's are pre-empted. CSI's premiere was delayed until next week because CBS didn't want to air one episode, then take a week off for Biden v. Palin.

Anonymous said...


Wonderful column on "Chuck" - thank you. It's uplifting to see you so giddy about season 2, as I felt "Chuck" (along with "Journeyman") was the best freshman series.

While I STILL haven't watched the 2 hour premier of "Heroes", it's just sitting on my DVR, I am definitely tuning into "Chuck" tonight.

I have to agree that the 8 PM hour on Mondays is too overstuffed: Chuck, Terminator and Mother ALL at the same time. Frustrating. Luckily I have more than one DVR in the house because I am not a huge fan of the online viewing experience, unless absolutely necessary.

I completely agree with the sentiment of flipping Chuck with Heroes so I could just give up on Heroes officially and spread the wealth of the actual good Monday shows. (I really think if I haven't watched the Heroes premier by Sunday, I am erasing...I am so unexcited to watch it).

I am even stoked about the casting of Awesome's parents. Captain Awesome is well, awesome.

Anonymous said...

I think middleman was more fun than chuck, although chuck has the it majorly beat in terms of quality of gratuitous lingerie scenes. Damn, strahovsky be fine. I miss the wienerlicious uni, though.

No rachel bilson this season?

Anonymous said...

woo hoo -- so excited you like Chuck Season 2 so far -- all the more excited to see it now! And I really enjoyed it last year -- it's hilarious and still appropriate enough for my daughter to enjoy.