Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Chuck" vs the recession: We win, 'cause it's back!

First off today, I'd like to issue a personal thank you to everyone out there who managed to just say no to "Angels & Demons" in its opening weekend. Though $48 million is, I suppose, not a total failure, it also can't be called anything close to what was expected. It's just a shame that - at $43 million - "Star Trek" didn't manage to keep it out of the top slot.

And if I can bury the lead just a bit more, this can't really be called as good TV news as the return of "Chuck," but it's still pretty close in my book.

In 2005, Ricky Gervais and his often at least as funny writing partner Stephen Merchant started doing a series of podcasts, and thankfully introduced to the world the truly eccentric character of Karl Pilkington. The podcasts, which actually began before that as a London radio show, will now be turned into a 13-episode run (so far) of animated episodes on HBO.

And who in the world is Karl Pilkington? Well, he's a radio producer and just an endearingly odd fellow who managed to eventually become the real star of the podcasts. As Gervais and Merchant themselves put it best: "Karl is a man who believes that a sea lion is a cross between a fish and a dog. Hopefully, Karl will enter the pantheon of animated greats."

That all sounds great to me, but I suppose today of all days I should have just gotten to the real news straightaway, because it's true: NBC has - at least in some form - renewed "Chuck"!

From all I've read this morning, the fate of "Chuck" wasn't just a matter of finding time for it as Jay Leno gobbles up most of the prime-time schedule (though, believe it: He is pure evil incarnate, and must be stopped by any means necessary.) It seems instead that "Chuck" had to go through some serious budget cuts, meaning fewer writers and - much more importantly - smaller roles for the supporting cast. We'll have to see how that all plays out, but I fear it could mean a lot less Buy More (I've reposted my own Buy More badge to show my support for our beleaguered bit players.)

As far as when or on what night "Chuck" will return, details so far are scant, but I do know one thing for sure: The next run of "Chuck" will be 13 episodes rather than 22. Personally, that doesn't really bother me, since I've really adapted to the cable run of 13 anyway (I was just rewatching the final episodes of "Sons of Anarchy" season one, for example, and would like to retract anything I said about that show being "good" - by the end it was nothing short of great and nearly flawless television, and I can't wait for season two.)

But back to "Chuck": When will we find out more? Details may trickle out today, or else there will probably be a formal announcement sometime tomorrow. Either way, count this a rare victory for smart, sexy and, yes, fun TV, and to that I can only say huzzah! In closing and celebration, here's a NBC clip of Lester and Anna giving the Nerd Herd review of the new Avril Lavigne album. Not surprisingly, very funny. Peace out.


Cullen said...

Great news about Chuck, but sad about the supporting characters. I think they kind of set the stage for this with their season finale though. I look forward to a lot of green-screen exotic locales in the next season - not that that's a bad thing.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you may be right there ... Since Chuck's gonna be some kind of superspy, it will be fun to see him all around the world, but if they were indeed setting up the end of the Buy More, I'll be extremely sad to see it go .. and they'd damn well better not get rid of Morgan!

Bob said...


Boo and might I say...yah. I second that about Morgan. And there must be more Jeffster and Big Mike.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have a feeling they know the wrath they would incur if we never got any more Jeffster ... Maybe they'll have the Buy More back at only the beginning, but I'm hoping it will live on, if only in a reduced role