Give credit to NBC and Warner Bros. Television for landing Timothy Dalton to do a multipart guest stint on “Chuck,” the network’s struggling spy spoof.
“This marks Dalton’s first series appearance on American television since he guest-starred on ‘Charlie’s Angels’ in 1979,” per the press release.
Dalton was a pretty good choice to play James Bond, both physically and in terms of acting chops. But he never seemed completely comfortable with the role, and his two 007 movies, “The Living Daylights” and “Licence to Kill,” were decidedly mediocre. He was significantly better as an Errol Flynn-like bad guy in “The Rocketeer,” and two 1990s miniseries, playing Rhett Butler (a thankless task, admittedly) in CBS’ “Scarlett” and Julius Caesar in ABC’s “Cleopatra.”
By all rights, Dalton should be a bigger star than he is. Instead, lately he seems to be relegated to spoofing his own image, from “Chuck” to his recent voice stint in “Toy Story 3.” And who can forget “The Beautician and the Beast?” (My guess is most of those associated with it hope the answer is, “Everybody.”)
There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere, but I’m not sure what it is. Still, he’s a perfect choice for “Chuck,” which is describing his character as “a mysterious stranger who has a history with Chuck’s mom.”
Taking bets, by the way, on how long it is before there’s a gag about “Bartowksi. Chuck Bartowski.”