Chuck vs. The Third Season

Fans who saved Chuck for another season are now wondering what lies ahead for the denizens of the Buy More. Tight-lipped producers are hinting at revealing some secrets at San Diego Comic-Con, but here's what we want to hear.

After the game-changing events of last season's finale, fans that campaigned so hard to save their beloved geek idol fear that the show is selling out to Subway, that Chuck's new superpowers will rob him of his everyman appeal, and worst of all that we may have seen the last of the Buy More and the Nerd Herd.


Listen up, Chuck; I may just be able to save you. Just stay in the car.

The zesty tang of corporate whoredom was all over last season. Fans who cried "sellout!" when they heard about the show's dirty dealings with Subway obviously were not paying attention for the past two seasons. Chuck has always been the television-show equivalent of a NASCAR driver's jacket, and we've loved the show all the more for it. iPhones and foot–long subs have always served to bring us into Chuck's reality, not out of it. In a culture as logo-laden as our own, product placement merely gives the impression that these could be our lives, and we too may one day be tapped to be super spies.

When we last left our hero, he had upgraded to Intersect 2.0, the scene itself rife with subliminal and not-so-subliminal advertising. Did anyone else feel like they were watching a giant Hulu ad? After the upgrade, Chuck is new and improved, and now comes with Kung Fu grip. What other goodies does Chuck's new cerebral software come with? The possibilities are endless. But with great power comes great responsibility; not just for Chuck, but for co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedek not to fall into the Heroes trap of giving human protagonists superpowers and thereby removing all traces of humanity. Hopefully, Chuck's new powers will serve to trip him up in more hilarious and endearing ways, while allowing him to still save the day.


With Chuck and Morgan's departure from the Buy More, it's questionable how much we'll be seeing of the motley crew of Green shirts in the third season. While the antics of Jeffster have lost some of their appeal, I fear for the show if it departs completely from the land of discount electronics and fast computer repair. The show's sweet and simple premise, namely Chuck's perilous tango between his real-world dead-end job and the fantastical world of espionage and intrigue, is what keeps us watching.


It'll take more than following these guidelines to save Bartowski. He'll need help. We saw last season that the ratings of the show took a quantum leap with the arrival of several guest stars, from Dominic Monaghan to Scott Bakula and Chevy Chase. I propose that the best way to make the most of Chuck's second chance is to give us even more star power to fuel the third season. Here are a few suggestions:

Kristen Bell
Bell's comic timing is perfect for this show. We're all a little tired of the Sarah & Chuck sub-plot, and no cliché is more satisfying than a third party coming between our ambivalent lovers. As a clumsy and perky Buy More employee, Kristen Bell would not only look great in a green polo shirt, but would also steal the show and hopefully Chuck's heart. Half-way through the season Bell would be revealed to be a CIA agent working undercover, and could flex her Veronica Mars spy-girl muscles while stealing secrets and doing improbable stunts.


Alec Baldwin
Both Bell and Baldwin have most recently been working for NBC, so they wouldn't have to go very far for to spend some quality time with the network's pet project. Alec Baldwin would be brilliant as Agent Casey's West Point / CIA mentor, who returns to head up a delicate case and makes Casey jealous when his mentor takes a shine to Chuck.


Neil Patrick Harris
We all love NPH. He could appear to ward off the dreaded mid-season slump, save the ratings and re-invigorate the show. NPH would play a computer-genius / entrepreneur who has designed the world's newest AI search engine. The CIA hires NPH to design a special Intersect search feature, so that Chuck can access all those Government secrets on command.

Jonathan Pryce
We saw last season with Chevy Chase's character that putting a face to FULCRUM and having an identifiable super villain made the show that much more enjoyable. This time around, we need a new big bad, and I propose Jonathan Pryce. Pryce proved himself a worthy adversary as the Bond villain in Tomorrow Never Dies, has endless desk-jockey geek-cred thanks to Brazil, and no one wears a condescending smirk quite the same way.


It's also time for new blood at the Buy More. I volunteer Napoleon Dynamite's Tina Majorino, Freaks&Geeks' Samm Levine, and Nick & Norah's Aaron Yoo to be some new scruffy Nerd Herders.

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