Show 101: Chuck

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SHOW: Chuck

PREMIERES: Season 4 premieres Thursday, October 14 at 10pm on Living

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: James Bond is too serious and Austin Powers is too goofy—where’s the in-between? Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) is the perfect everyman spy: He’s suave (kind of), accomplished (most of the time), and nerdy (pretty much always). If you like a solid blend of action and comedy—with some romance sprinkled in for good measure—you should be watching Chuck. Oh, and between the Chuck himself, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), and Devon/Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), there’s plenty of eye candy for all.

WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: You hate fun. OK, that’s a bit harsh. But maybe you want to watch a spy who doesn’t fumble, an agent who doesn’t let his feelings get in the way. (That’s tough: even Nikita has a heart.) Chuck is a genre-bending show, and that can certainly be a downside for those who prefer something a bit more clean-cut.

THE PREMISE: Chuck was just your average computer genius, until his old pal/frenemy Bryce Larkin (Matt Bomer) sent him the Intersect, a program that installed a whole lot of top-secret government information into his brain. Since then, he’s received an upgrade that also makes him quite accomplished at hand-to-hand combat. He uses his skills to foil enemy plots, along with spy girlfriend Sarah and spy platonic friend Casey (Adam Baldwin)—and sometimes his sister Ellie, bro-in-law Devon, and BFF Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Let’s get this cliché out of the way first—last season ended with a bang, literally. In the big showdown between the good guys and the evil Agent Shaw (Brandon Routh), the Buy More blew up. Bizarro employees (and musicians!) Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay) believed themselves to be responsible and went on the run. Our heroes toasted to the memory of Chuck and Ellie’s dad, gunned down by Shaw, and prepared to move on with their lives. Casey was even reunited with long-lost daughter Alex. Chuck swore to Ellie that he’d give up spying—though we’re guessing that won’t last, as the last scene showed Chuck discovering his father’s secret lair. It was all designed to keep mysterious Mama Bartowski safe. The last shot revealed the back of Chuck’s mom’s head. Since then, we’ve learned that she’s Sarah Connor—or, um, Linda Hamilton.

That's the storyline stuff out of the way. Now to something else, equally important, of note: Chuck will no longer be aired on freeview channel Virgin1 (now better known as Channel One). If you want to watch this season you'll have to be a subscriber to Living. Having acquired Virgin Media, and its subsequent channels, Sky has seen the worth in Chuck and shuffled its schedule accordingly. It'll air right after new spy show, Nikita, so you can get a whole two-hour dose of action-packed US spy time.

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