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Warner Home Video presents
Chuck: The Complete First Season (2007-2008)

“Something goes wrong, you blame me. After all these years, where’s the trust?”
- Morgan (Joshua Gomez)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: September 15, 2008

Stars: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez
Other Stars: Sarah Lancaster, Adam Baldwin, Ryan McPartlin, Matthew Borner, Rachel Bilson, Julia Ling, Ivana Milicevic
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, violence)
Run Time: 09h:16m:00s
Release Date: September 16, 2008
UPC: 883929022458
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

If it’s a crime to be interested in a show based solely on the fact that it’s title is my name, then I’ll turn myself in immediately. I’ll admit that that’s the main reason I tuned into the pilot episode of Chuck last fall. Thank goodness I gave the show a chance, because the series turned out to be one of the nicest surprises of the 2007 television season. This is an Alias clone on the surface, but the key to its success is a cast of characters that we instantly fall in love with and care about. Plus, there's the outside chance that the titular geek might someday get the gorgeous secret spy girl.

We get right down to business in the pilot episode, Chuck Versus the Intersect. In it, we meet Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), a computer technician at the local Buy More who is going through a normal, boring work day when in walks the lovely Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski). In a matter of minutes Chuck is in grave danger and being led to safety by this CIA agent, along with NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin). It turns out that mild-mannered Chuck had recently received an email from old roommate and rogue government agent Bryce Larkin (Matthew Borner). This message implanted extremely important files into Chuck’s brain and Sarah and John are protecting him from the numerous enemies after the information. While the key to this episode is our introduction to Chuck’s plight and the agents’ discovery that he is the “Intersect” they’re looking for, we also meet his friends and family, including sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), her boyfriend Devon AKA Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), and best friend and Buy More co-worker Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

In Chuck Versus the Helicopter Chuck suspects that either Casey or Sarah is actually after him instead of protecting him. He also invites Sarah home to met Ellie and Captain Awesome, which proves to be a much more interesting, awkward experience than expected. Chuck Versus the Tango has our unwitting hero seeing a vision involving an arms dealer named “La Ciudad.” His vision says “La Ciudad” will show up at an art auction, and when he and Sarah attend, Chuck has to learn to dance the tango right on the spot. In Chuck Versus the Wookie, he aids in the theft of a huge diamond that is used to fund terrorism, but he has a new form of help in DEA agent, Carina (Mini Anden).

Disc 2 kicks off with Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp, with Chuck trying to make amends after screwing up a stakeout. We get to see Morgan in action here too, as he has to perform well in a sales competition to succeed at Buy More. We get some great Halloween-themed antics in Chuck Versus the Sandworm, as most of the cast wind up in some truly great, inventive costumes at some point. It’s back to the core story in Chuck Versus the Alma Mater, though, with our hero going back to Stanford University to try and get some answers about Bryce’s death.

Disc 3 starts with Chuck Versus the Truth, which introduces another potential love interest for Chuck in the beautiful Lou (Rachel Bilson). There just might be more to Lou than it seems, and Ellie is accidentally poisoned during this installment. Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami takes the prize for the longest-named episode of the season, but the show continues the Lou storyline where we learn of a huge secret she’s been keeping. The third disc finishes up with Chuck Versus the Nemesis, where Bryce, who was presumed dead, is trying to get back in the CIA. Chuck has to try to help Bryce while dealing with the upcoming busiest day of the year at Buy More.

The first episode on the final disc is Chuck Versus the Crown Vic where Chuck is trying to cope with Sarah’s remaining feelings for Bryce. This is made even more difficult when Chuck and Sarah have to go undercover as husband and wife to protect Morgan and his girlfriend Anna (Julia Ling) from a counterfeiter. In Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover, he learns of a secret meeting of Russian arms dealers, and Casey is reunited with an old flame named Ilsa (Ivana Milicevic). The first season comes to a close in the great Chuck Versus the Marlin, and Chuck finds out that Buy More has been bugged and that his secret might have been compromised. As a result, Chuck might have to walk away from his normal life completely, but more importantly, he’s lost Captain Awesome’s engagement ring for Ellie. This is a great season finale that wraps up a first batch of episodes and gives us plenty of hope for this to be a long-running, entertaining show and not just another one-trick pony. Plus, it’s got a pretty great title!

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All 13 episodes show up in their original anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and the bright color scheme shines. Blacks and shadows are handled nicely, adding to the constant presence of sharp, detailed images. There’s virtually nothing in the way of dirt, grain, or other print defects.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Portugueseyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is slightly disappointing in that the surrounds aren’t as lively as other recent, action-packed TV shows. Otherwise, there’s nice bass presence and the sharply-written dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 91 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai with remote access
10 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
10 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Chuck Vs. The Chuckles – Gag reel
Extras Review: There are some nice extras in this set, with a collection of “Declassified Scenes” spread out over the four discs. The 10 scenes last a total of just over nine minutes and are well worth a look.

Disc 3 also has Chuck’s World, a collection of six featurettes about the main characters, including footage from their audition tapes.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any audio commentaries, but seemingly in their place is Chuck On Chuck, a nearly 27-minute segment featuring Zachary Levy, Joshua Gomez, co-creator Josh Schwartz, and co-creator Chris Fedak, during which they give video commentaries on select scenes. This is a very entertaining piece with the four guys constantly joking around, but still managing to give us a great deal of insight into the making of the series.

Chuck Vs. The Chuckles is a seven-minute gag reel, and Chuck’s Online World compiles four more featurettes, which originated on the show’s website, and they cover a wide array of subjects and are quirky and entertaining. The set also includes a playable demo of Madden NFL ’09 for the Xbox 360.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

It’s a shame that Chuck was a victim of the writer’s strike and shortened to 13 episodes for its first go-round, but Warner’s Chuck: The Complete First Season set is a great primer.


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