It doesn’t deserve to be as entertaining or as charming as it is, but somehow it pulls it together each week with an hour of fun and whimsy. Chuck is the adventure spy romance series built for the whole family.

Currently about to enter its fourth season in the US, Chuck’s focus is on espionage and retail. The protagonist, Chuck Bartowski, is a mid-20s retail IT support staffer who works for a Dick Smith-type electronics store. Chuck, practically part of Tyler Durden’s America, is university-educated, but never bothered applying himself further. As a result he is drifting through life with his dead-end job.

All of this changes one day when an ex-friend from college implants a computer code in his head that provides Chuck with all the secrets of the ‘spy world’. The NSA and CIA become very interested in the situation and assign a handler each to work with Chuck to keep America safe.

While the show is certainly not as clever as its fan base will have you believe, the show generates a lot of goodwill by way of its cast. Zachary Levi is well cast as Chuck, with his nerd-friendly good looks serving as a strong wish fulfilment for its dedicated nerd audience. Yvonne Strahovski couldn’t be prettier, more lithe, or kick more arse as CIA Agent Sarah Walker. And then there’s Adam Baldwin delivering the comedy goods as the tough as nails Colonel John Casey.

Where the show excels is in its very clever, very nerd-orientated guest cast. Chevy Chase, Arrested Development‘s Tony Hale, Back To The Future‘s Christopher Lloyd, Quantum Leap‘s Scott Bakula, and Superman himself Brandon Routh all get a run on the show.

Chuck certainly won’t be a taxing viewing experience for you, but it’s a great distraction each week.

The details: Chuck airs on Go! Wednesday nights at 8:30pm.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey