Chuck

Give the producers of "Chuck" credit: They pull out every imaginable stop to capitalize on their 3-D airing the day after the Super Bowl.

With:
Chuck Bartowski - Zachary Levi Major John Casey - Adam Baldwin Sarah Walker - Yvonne Strahovski Morgan Grimes - Joshua Gomez Ellie Bartowski - Sarah Lancaster Devon - Ryan McPartlin

Give the producers of “Chuck” credit: They pull out every imaginable stop to capitalize on their 3-D airing the day after the Super Bowl, including guest shots by Dominic Monaghan (for sci-fi nerds) and Jerome Bettis (for football fans), as well as a fight involving young women in lingerie (for both) and a riff on “The Shawshank Redemption” (for men in general). Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard episode, barring the occasional knife hurtling directly toward the camera. The gimmick gets points for the old college try, but the ship for this second-year series appears to have sailed.

Revisiting the show, there is a lot to like here, particularly the interplay among the three leads: Chuck (Zachary Levi), the reluctant secret agent with all kinds of top-security info downloaded into his head; Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), the butt-kicking girl of his dreams; and John (Adam Baldwin), the steely operative who would just as soon wring Chuck’s pencil-neck to be rid of babysitting him.

Beyond that, though, it’s the usual spy stuff with a comic twist, with the latest hour featuring Monaghan as an imperiled rock star (apparently he can’t get off that “Lost” island), while Bettis squeezes into a Buy More shirt as a paroled con.

As for the 3-D, the results prove somewhat disappointing, as it often is when trying to appreciate the effect in a home-theater setting. Or maybe it’s just that those cheap cardboard glasses never fit particularly well over the prescription kind.

NBC is doubtless eager for any boost “Chuck” might eke out from this stunt, but the competition has only gotten tougher with “House” taking up residence Mondays. “Heroes” does return after a convoluted fall run promising a new direction, but the network is now playing defense, leaving the Buy More gang in a mode where they’ll probably have to settle for less.

Chuck

Series; NBC, Mon. Feb. 2, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Wonderland Sound and Vision, College Hill Pictures and Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Josh Schwartz, Chris Fedak, McG, Scott Rosenbaum; co-executive producers, Peter Johnson, Matthew Miller, Allison Adler; supervising producers, Phil Klemmer, Robert Duncan McNeill; producers, Paul Marks, Lisa Cochran-Neilan, Corey Nickerson; director, McNeill; writer, Fedak;

Crew: camera, Buzz Feltshans IV; production designer, Cecele DeStefano; editor, Matt Barber; music, Tim Jones; casting, Patrick Rush. 60 MIN.

Cast: Chuck Bartowski - Zachary Levi Major John Casey - Adam Baldwin Sarah Walker - Yvonne Strahovski Morgan Grimes - Joshua Gomez Ellie Bartowski - Sarah Lancaster Devon - Ryan McPartlin

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