Chuck vs 24

May 5, 2010

I’m a big fan of Monday night spy shows: Chuck and 24.

I was discussing the repetitive nature of 24 the other day with a friend of mine, and then later revealing to my parents (Chuck fans) how Chuck will probably get canceled after this season. And then I had an epiphany for how to save both shows.

First off, we have Chuck. Everyone loves the characters, but rapid change has had to happen to Chuck because they are on borrowed time. We loved him, Casey, Sarah and the relationship with his real-life friends/family. But because the show is on such a short run, they’ve had to change the Chuck character over three seasons. He goes from “why is this happened to me?” to “Ok, I’m starting to get this” to “Now I’m going to a whole other level” and a lot of the audience can be uncomfortable with the Season Three Chuck character.

Then we have 24. Jack Bauer is like Jason Vorhees at this point: He’s awesome. We want to see him be awesome. But it’s really difficult to do eight times over without becoming a mockery because there’s no way to do eight seasons without repeating the same old tired plots (informant gets killed before he divulge information! Mole is tipping off the terrorists! The mastermind is really someone much more evil/powerful!)

If I was in charge of a TV network, I would buy both properties and do a season of 24 featuring Casey, Sarah and (the season 2) Chuck.

Casey is the Bauer character. Bad ass spy who’s a noble patriot and ruthlessly efficient.

Sarah is the Renee character on this season of 24: substitute “love” for “emotional basketcase” and you’ve got a hero who’s good at her job, but not the complete pure awesome spy that Bauer/Casey is.

Chuck (season two) is like Chloe when she’s running point on a tactical mission: Provide intel, but not really a bad ass. She moves all the plots along, and is uniquely qualified to help the pure spy.

In Chuck, we never see the analysts work, it’s all provided by Beckman.

In 24, we never see any kind of real-world items. It’s all ignored for 24 straight hours of action.

Chuck, in season 1 & 2, gave equal concern/attention to the missions of his personal life (relationship with sister, job at the Buy More) something they’ve completely abandoned in season three. Which is something 24 sorely lacks.

And the mission aspect of 24 is something Chuck has kind of glossed over as they focus on the relationships/changes of the main characters in season three.

Combining the two shows, you’d get the benefit of letting Chuck be Chuck (likewise Walker and Casey) without constant changes to the essence of the character, and so fans could just enjoy the character. And you’d also get the ability of filling 24 hours without resorting to the same old mole/lead chase/escalating villains formula 24 uses, because you’d have Buy More/Sister missions in between the action.

The secret/hard part would be to find the balance between the light Chuck tone, and the serious drama of 24. Which I think could be done. The idea is to use the lightness to poke fun at some of the things we see in 24 that could be comedic fodder, but leave it to the audience to find the humor. Enter Morgan.

Have Morgan be on a mission to pick up a package and deliver it to CTU. Only have the package be food, so they can actually eat something.

Have someone escorted out of the building in the first episode because they had ties to a terrorist organization, before they can be a mole, and then have a mole-free season.

Have someone enter the restroom before a commercial break, and exit upon return from break.

But treat the missions as ridiculously serious, well choreographed, dramatic events.

That could totally work.

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You’re Not a Spy.

January 28, 2010

I have been watching Chuck a lot recently. I bought the season two DVD and burned through about two episodes a day, and of course, season three started this month with four episodes in eight days.

I'm at a Chuck overload. Defintely haven't hit my Sarah Walker limit yet though.

When you watch that much of one show at one time, you tend to become immersed in that world, as I alluded to before.

When I discovered 24, I watched the first three seasons in about three weeks. I was on high Bauer alert 24/7. You just can’t help thinking like the characters in the show, because you spent time observing that world so much.

I was living in Ohio, and as I’m pulling into my apartment complex, I heard sirens. Then around the corner, this car comes flying around the bend and I see right on his heels is a police car with sirens blazing.

I was about to turn left, and then follow the same curve they were about to exit. And my instinct was to slam on the breaks, jerk the wheel hard left, and block the exit so the perps couldn’t escape.

And then I thought “What the heck am I thinking? These guys either don’t have insurance, or soon won’t have any income. They’ll total my car and I’ll be screwed.”

So instead, I just stopped (there was a stop sign I never adhere to anyway) and made the car’s exit extremely tight at that speed. Their options were to slow down and make their escape at 5 mph, or fly around the corner, hit my car and risk getting caught.

Well, once they cleared, I floored it straight ahead into the open parking lot, allowing the cops to turn at high speeds, and catch up to the car while it was turning out of the parking lot. I saw the cops bump the car as it turned, spinning it around and onto the curb. And then I kept driving in case there were guns.

But the point is: I was thinking like a Counter-Terror super agent.

Now, I’m watching Chuck and assuming everyone around me has a secret life of espionage. And I try to round out their back story when I see them. Good spy, bad spy, how I’ll end up killing them if they reveal their fiendish plot. You get the idea.

But unfortunately, I never flash on things. Or have a sexy handler.


I Got Nothing

December 29, 2008

I need a girlfriend. Not because of any feeling of loneliness or needy urge, or biological clock. I need someone to talk to on the drive back home from holidays at my parents house.

Seven hours in a car in the south is boring. You know what’s between Houston and New Orleans? Swamp, marsh and nothing.

I know what you’re thinking: “But, you probably spent that time coming up with all kinds of great ideas/thoughts that I’d love to read about.”

Yeah, not so much. Really I only thought about the lack of driving skills by everyone in Texas and Louisiana; and my desire to light my cigar without crashing my vehicle.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that one of the reasons I thought of nothing was because of the vegetative state that Christmas gifts put me in. How can anything in my life be interesting or worth discussing if all I am doing is playing NHL09, reading Jonsey (Keith Jones’ autobiography with John Buccigross) or Inside Inside (by James Lipton), or watching the entire first season of Chuck on DVD?

Basically, I’ve come a couch potato over the holidays and the key to significantly entertaining events is the improvisation of interaction with other human beings and/or personal reflection on those incidents.

What type of reflection can I do on watching an average Joe six-pack who’s life is going no where have his life interupted by top secret government spy work and a smoking hot girlfriend who kicks terrorist ass? (well, other than “I want one of those!”).

So there’s the last few days in a nutshell: I want a smoking hot girlfriend to spice up the life, through either internation espianage, or just chatting in my car.