Monday, October 24, 2011

The Return of Chuck

Chuck, returns Friday for its fifth and final season. Virtually the only show from the post-Lost boom of science fiction and fantasy television on the Big Four networks to make it this far, it barely managed the feat, and is a reminder about the long odds facing science fiction shows on those channels. Indeed, its relocation from Monday nights to a Friday night "death slot" (which is predictably crowded with a great deal of other science fiction, including FOX's Fringe, WB's Supernatural, and even the other McG-produced "spy-fi" drama on TV, Nikita, running head-to-head against Chuck in the 8 PM time slot on the WB, and presumably competing for a common audience) is a reflection of its standing with the Suits, whose decision to keep it around for an extra thirteen episodes is likely driven by the hopes of giving an extra bump to its prospects for a post-cancellation afterlife in reruns more than anything else.

Still, given the low expectations, it would seem that Chuck will be secure in that slot for the brief remainder of its run, which promises fans more of what they look for from the show – its unique combination of espionage-themed action-comedy, Buymore hijinks and '80s geek nostalgia. The show struck me as less adroit in this respect during its past season (Chuck and Sarah's dealing with being in a confirmed relationship, the endless Bartowski family drama, equally insubstantial stuff but not nearly as much fun, got a lot of attention), but I'm still hoping the last episodes will be memorable.

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