Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chuck, Glee, and The Big Bang Theory

A collection of three DVD set reviews all in one handy dandy post.

It’s the season where everything changes. Chuck‘s third season might not be the series’ strongest but it has more than its share of memorable moments, betrayal and love conquering all, along with some notable recurring guest-stars and few surprises along the way.

With the new and improved Intersect 2.0 our hero Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) will finally fulfill his dream of becoming a real spy and get a chance at a real relationship with Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski). We’re also given the introduction of new team leader Daniel Shaw (Brandon Routh), the lovely Hannah (Kristin Kreuk – that’s right this season has Clark Kent and Lana Lang), Casey (Adam Baldwin) tries his hand at civilian life and discovers he has a daughter (Mekenna Melvin), and Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) becomes a spy (no, really!).

The extras this time around include a Jeffster mockumentary, a gag reel, and a featurette on the show’s biggest edition this year – “Chuck-Fu.” Sadly, there are commentaries or real in-depth look at the characters or the season. It’s a good thing the show is strong enough to stand on its own because you certainly aren’t going to pick up this set for the extras.

There’s plenty of changes, character development, and an evolution of many of the series relationships (which rubbed some fans the wrong way) over the course of Season Three, but at the end of the day, as Sarah says, Chuck is still Chuck. That’s more than enough for me.

New love. Old enemies. Madonna. Kiss. Olivia Newton-John. Gaga. And the Journey (at least this step) comes to an end. We even get a little Vanilla Ice, a “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” a “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. What more could you ask?

The second-half of Glee‘s first season includes some memorable numbers and a strong finale. Highlights include the Joss Whedon directed episode “Dream On“ with Neil Patrick Harris, the very funny music videos for “Run Joey Run” and “Vogue,” and the Rick Springfield song I should have seen coming but still surprised me.
This three-disc set includes a small group of featurettes on the costumes and choreography of the show as well as the creation of the Madonna episode and Vocal Adrenaline’s big number. The best feature, however, is the Glee Jukebox which allows you to watch just the musical numbers from all of the nine episodes.

There are a couple stumbling blocks along the way. Rachel’s (Lea Michele) relationship to rival Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) both begins and ends more abruptly than I’d like, the storyline involving Rachel’s mother (Idina Menzel), while strong, feels a little rushed, and I’m not the biggest fan of the musical choices for “Funk.” Even with these small complaints the second volume is solid and definitely worth picking up.

This season finally puts Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) toghether in a real relationship as well as giving Jim Parsons plenty of fun crazy to play as Doctor Sheldon Cooper. (Sorry, Sheldon’s not crazy. His mother had him tested.) Parsons even took home the Emmy for Best Actor for this season.

Season Three also includes a trip to the emergency room, two appearances by Sheldon’s arch-nemesis Wil Wheaton, Howard (Simon Helberg) gets a girlfriend (Melissa Rauch) and gets a fantasy visit from Katee Sackhoff, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) faces possible deportation, the one ring to rule them all, Sheldon’s short stint working at the Cheesecake Factory, and we finally get the story of how Leonard and Sheldon met.
In terms of extras the three-disc set is a little light but the third disc does include a set tour and a disciussion of the show’s third season by the show’s creators over dinner. The version I picked up also included a “Bazinga t-shirt” for the same price. (I wish other DVD-sets would do this!)

Fans of the show’s nerdy humor should enjoy this season which includes several memorable moments and some fun scenes of my favorite relationship on the show between Sheldon and Penny (such as this one) as well.

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