BLOGS

Chuck: Season 1

by DeAnn Welker September 8, 2008 11:07 am
Chuck: Season 1

The 13 episodes of the first season of Chuck are worth buying the DVD even if it weren't loaded with special features. And, while there aren't as many extras as some recent TV on DVD sets, almost all that's here is worthwhile. To wit...

Disc 1: The only special feature on this disc are "Declassified Scenes," what the clever Chuck marketing folks are calling their deleted scenes. It's just two short scenes, both from "Chuck Versus the Wookiee," and one is especially -- dare I say? -- Awesome! It's a scene in which Ellie and none other than Captain Awesome find a passed-out Morgan, and Awesome gives him a pep talk on getting Carina, who Ellie describes as, "You mean the one who's way out of your league?" But Captain Awesome is more equal-opportunity and tells him to go get her back. In a word: Awesome.

Disc 2: This disc also has only "Declassified Scenes" as extras, but it has scenes from each of the three episodes on the disc. Two scenes from "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp" mostly just fill in the episode's gaps. You'll probably feel like you've watched them before; they were that implied in the episode without even being left in. The only scene from "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" is a BuyMore assistant manager interview, which makes it clear why over-the-top manager Harry really needed to leave the show (even though he did have his funny moments; see Disc 3). From "Chuck Versus the Alma Mater," there's a really pointless scene of Morgan wanting to go to the Stanford game with Chuck. Basically, more of Morgan being a whiny baby. Nice editing, Chuck powers that be.

Disc 3: There are more "Declassified Scenes" (from two of the disc's three episodes) in addition to a featurette called Chuck's World. First, the deleted scenes: One from "Chuck Versus the Truth" and one from "Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami." One is a throw-away scene in which some sort of government suit reprimands Casey and Sarah for ruining a case he'd been building for years. The other, though, is a genuine treat. It's a moment when Morgan climbs in Chuck's window and catches Chuck and Sarah "in bed," and then he proceeds to talk about the manager's ex-girlfriend's upgrade in size (he's talking about TVs, but that's not what it sounds like to an eavesdropping Harry). It probably would have added nothing to the plot, so it's clear why it was cut for time, but it's laugh-out-loud funny, even if it's been almost a year since you've seen the episode.

Chuck's World is a featurette about all of the cast and characters of Chuck, broken up into short (around three minutes each) takes about each character (Chuck, Morgan, Sarah, Casey, Ellie, and Devon, a.k.a. Captain Awesome). These include interviews with the producers and actors and the audition tapes. Zachary Levi's audition footage is particularly wonderful, because you can see exactly what the producers saw when they watched the one minute of footage: Zach IS Chuck. No question. These takes on the characters might be short, but they're filled with highlights and information that you might not otherwise know: Adam Baldwin was the first actor cast; Captain Awesome originally was meant to be in only one or two episodes and then was going to be written out as a Russian operative, but he became too important to the ensemble; and so on.

Disc 4: The bulk of the features on this set are on this, the final disc. There are two more "Declassified Scenes," a serious one from "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic," in which Casey tells Sarah to keep it in her pants because Chuck is the intersect (no, really, he says, "Keep it in your pants" to a woman), and a throw-away one from "Chuck Versus the Marlin," involving bribing Big Mike with some sort of fish as a Christmas gift, to avoid working weekends. Easy editing there, right?

"Chuck on Chuck" is a cool point-counterpoint in which Joshua Gomez (Morgan), Zachary Levi, Josh Schwartz (series co-creator/executive producer) and Chris Fedak (co-creator/executive producer) have chosen three of their favorite scenes from the show to discuss and debate. It's sort of set up as the actors versus the creators, but there is actually less debate than they build up for, because it's clear they all really like and respect each other, and the show. This is actually a lot more fun than watching any entire episode with commentary, because instead of having to sit through the silences between scenes the commenters really love to talk about, they choose what they like, so the discussion and information about the scenes never stops. A few highlights here: Zachary talking about his "preparation" for kissing Yvonne (eating lots of cheesesteak sandwiches), finding out that Harry Tang left only because they lost the actor to Dexter, and many more. It's a half-hour of laughs and conversation that makes you realize more than anything how much fun these people have making this show.

"Chuck Versus the Chuckles" is a seven-minute gag reel.

For good measure, Warner Bros. also threw in a handful of clips that originally created for the web: "Meet Jeff," a hilarious one-minute clip of one of the tertiary Buy More workers talking about how much more there is to his life than working there (bingo with his grandma, fantasy football online and off, ping pong, hot dog eating contest); "Morgan's Vlog: Movie Villains" is actually the exact same footage from the Morgan character video portion of "Chuck's World," so there's nothing new to see there; "Anna's Amazing Talents" are two very short (we're talking less than 30 seconds) videos of Anna demonstrating funny, but useless, karate and sword skills in front of the Nerd Herd desk at the Buy More.

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