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page added: 9/6/10



Blu-ray Review
Blu-ray Disc review by Bill Hunt, Editor of The Digital Bits

Chuck: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Disc)

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Chuck: The Complete Third Season
2009-2010 (2010) - NBC/Warner Home Video
Released on Blu-ray on September 7th, 2010
Also available on DVD

Dolby Digital

Program Rating: A-
Video (1-20): 16
Audio (1-20): 8
Extras: C+


Some shows are almost impossible not to like, and NBC's Chuck definitely fits into that category. Delivering as it does just the right doses of action, comedy and romance - not to mention dashes of multiple geek-friendly genres - the series just never fails to entertain.


Continuing where Seasons 1 and 2 left off, Season 3 finds our favorite geek-turned-spy coming to grips with the newly-gifted powers granted him by Intersect (much in the same way Neo could upload new abilities in The Matrix). For the first time in his life, Chuck is good at something other than being a Nerd Herder at the Burbank Buy More, and he wants to serve his country by being a full agent. But if he truly becomes a spy with a license to kill, will Chuck still be the person that Sarah fell in love with? And it turns out that the Intersect isn't all fun and games - using it may actually be damaging his brain. So Chuck's going to need the help of his family and friends more than ever. And perhaps that's the best thing of all about Season 3 - watching as some of the people closest to Chuck finally learn his big secret... and try to survive the discovery!

Interesting side note: I actually had the chance to meet Zach Levi (who plays Chuck), and some of the show's other cast members, in person at the recent Saturn Awards and also down at Comic-Con in July, and I'm pleased to tell you that they're just as nice in person as you'd hope them to be. And very funny too, as anyone who saw them on stage at Comic-Con can attest.

In terms of A/V quality, this 4-disc set is exactly on par with Warner's previous seasons on Blu-ray. The HD video quality is generally good (1080p/1.78:1 aspect ratio), but occasionally has the slighly-too-soft look of overcompression. Still, color, contrast and detail are all solid, and I would say this is slightly better than the original NBC HD broadcast presentation. The audio is once again in standard Dolby Digital 5.1 only, making these good DVD-quality TV sound mixes. Sadly, no lossless option is available - a lazy, template-stamped oversight typical of all of Warner's TV Blu-ray product. While this audio quality is fine for what it is, I'm certainly glad Disney's Lost and Universal's Battlestar Galactica Blu-rays didn't skimp in the audio department like this.

Extras on this Blu-ray include deleted (a.k.a. "declassified") scenes for 12 of the 19 episodes, a gag reel and a pair of featurettes that together run about 30 minutes in length - Chuck-Fu... and Dim Sum and The Jeffster Revolution. The former is a good (but EPK-ish) behind-the-scenes piece on the season, featuring interviews with many of the cast, producers and writers. Among its many topics, it touches upon the Comic-Con experience and how the fans helped save the show, which is nice to see. The latter is a funny little "mockumentary" on Buy Morons Jeff and Lester's fictional band. So what you do get here is good, but I wish Warner had put a little more effort into this set... and all of its TV Blu-rays for that matter. Audio commentaries with the cast, for example, would be very welcome. And if you're going to include Easter eggs, BD-Java or BD-Live content, Chuck is as obvious at title to do it on as any. Ah well.

In the end, I guess I'm just glad to have a third season of Chuck on Blu-ray at all, given how close this show has come to cancellation. For my money, Chuck is just deeply, fundamentally good for the geek at heart, and always manages to leave me smiling. Best of all, there's at least 13 more episodes to enjoy in the show's soon-to-debut fourth season on NBC (premiering on Monday, 9/20)! If you're a fan, be sure to tune in to each and every one to help boost those ratings so there might be many more episodes to come!

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com
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