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Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season(TV) (2011-2012)
Chuck is back with new missions, a new business -- and no Intersect. The stakes are high as Chuck sets out to become a full-fledged spy. But without the CIA as backup, Chuck will have to rely now more than ever on John Casey, Sarah Walker, and a new Intersect -- Morgan Guillermo Grimes. Across this thrilling final season, Chuck will find that his wits, his friends, and his family are the only backup he needs.
For more about Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season and the Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray release, see Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on May 7, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Zachary Levi, Joshua Gomez, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Sarah Lancaster
» See full cast & crew
Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray Review
Chuck goes out in style...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, May 7, 2012
Good things come to those who wait, and Chuck's fans have waited, hoped, rallied and fought for this moment: a proper end to one of the most ratings-starved underground hits in NBC's roster. It hasn't been easy -- online pleas and petitions, I'm Not a Nielsen Family Twitter campaigns, organized Subway blitzes, clever grassroots movements, motivated sponsor support -- but the series' devoted followers have extended the show's life by at least three seasons. Good things also come in small packages, and while fans would have certainly preferred a full 23-episode renewal (with promises of more to come), the 13-episode fifth season, eventful and tightly paced as it is, clips along without any filler to be found or any wasteful tangents to be endured. Of course, there's one other thing that's true of good things: they must come to an end. Chuck doesn't fizzle, though. It isn't snuffed out, it doesn't go quietly into the night, and it doesn't hang its head and walk off into the sunset. No, Chuck goes out in a blaze of glory on its showrunners' own terms, and it is good. Not: eh, it's good. But rather: Then creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak looked over all they had made and saw that it was very good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth season.
Fedak and Schwartz don't waste any time this go around (not that they have any time to waste). Chuck (Zachary Levi), having been stripped of his full Intersect powers at the end of Season Four, and his BFF Morgan (Joshua Gomez), having been granted Intersect powers in "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger," team up with former government agents John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah Walker-Bartowski (Yvonne Strahovski) to form a freelance spy agency dubbed -- what else? -- Carmichael Industries. With untold millions suddenly at their disposal, the fearsome foursome purchase the Buy More, begin running missions for clients, and find themselves in a whole new world of trouble. Chuck doesn't just have Morgan to worry about, though. His sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and his brother-in-law Devon... ahem, Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) are now well-acquainted with Chuck's extracurricular activities, the Buy More employees are always at risk, and a host of new villains and opportunists wriggle out of the woodwork to fill the void left by the seemingly endless baddies Chuck and company have dispatched over the years. But will the team's newfound operational freedom be a blessing or a curse? Will Morgan's status as the new Intersect cause problems or make the team stronger? Will Sarah and Chuck, now happily married, live happily ever after? Or will their relationship forever be jeopardized by the next global threat?
Over the course of the fifth season's thirteen episodes, everyone from Carrie Anne-Moss (Trinity!) to Robert the Bruce (Angus Macfadyen) to the Son of Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, turns out to send Chuck off, and the series' final season is every bit as entertaining as its first. It also returns the show to its roots, focusing on the heart of Chuck and Sarah's relationship, having tremendous fun at the expense of yet another bumbling geek turned superspy, and furiously bounding from hilarious pop culture riffs and references to heartbreaking dramatic beats to pulse-pounding espionage intrigue, often within the span of a few dizzying, smartly devised scenes. Regardless of how much you've come to love or tolerate the series, the teeter-tottering topsy turviness Fedak and Schwartz concoct each week is quite remarkable, especially considering how quickly an episode can vault from zany genre parody to character-fueled drama. Levi, Gomez and Baldwin have a knack for slapping a smile on my face, regardless of how invested I am in their latest mission, and the inseparable Buy More banditos -- Lester and Jeff (Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky) -- still haven't worn out their welcome. And yet it isn't all laughs and send-ups. Levi and Strahovski bring their relationship to a close with tear-jerking proficiency. The two take aim at the burliest stiff-lipped fans and chisel through stone hearts; their closing moments are sweeter, more sincere and more tender than anything the pair have shared over the last five seasons, and it's next to impossible to reach the end of "Chuck Versus the Goodbye" without succumbing to the Call of the Kleenex.
Unfortunately, ever-dwindling budgets have left Chuck in the throes of perpetual growing pains, and those pains are apparent, right up until the series draws its last breath. Season five is littered with run-of-the-mill warehouses, cramped industrial tunnels, hastily dressed compounds, and fewer and fewer high-dollar set pieces. What's more, the fight choreography remains choppy, the bad guys always find some reason to delay the obvious solution to their Carmichael infestation (execute any captured spies in your possession before dealing with whatever other problem rears its head), and the series' blue and green-screening hasn't gotten much better. Still, the showrunners accomplish a lot on a network dime; spending wisely, relying on the actors to sell each scene, saving up enough cash for that one over-the-top 'splosion or bullet-peppered chase that eeks into every episode, and transforming the humble and harmless into the bigger, badder and more cinematic. Chuck has never shrank from adversity, it's embraced it each step of the way and emerged all the stronger for it. Season Five isn't just the series' final hurrah, it's the culmination of all the elements that made it the unlikely sensation that it is; an unlikely sensation that's swept Comic-Con since its debut and grabbed hold of self-proclaimed geeks and fanboys everywhere. It's never been a perfect series, nor is Season Five the perfect finale to the Bartowski saga. But it has real heart, real laughs, real passion and real conviction, and it ends exactly as it began: treasuring every minute, having a blast with every mission, and giving its loyal fans everything they've asked for and more.
Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Another season of Chuck, another less-than-extraordinary high definition presentation. At this point, fans should be familiar with the series' visual shortcomings and be aware of the fact that many of the image's "issues" actually trace back to the use of 16mm cameras. However, that doesn't completely excuse Warner's noisy, wildly uneven, at-times problematic 1080p/AVC-encoded efforts. While the graininess, frequent softness, and all around inconsistency of the presentation derives from the show's source, other anomalies -- compression artifacts, slight banding, mosquito noise, ringing, and crush -- aren't always inherent to the original photography. Determining where the series' flaws end and the encode's inadequacies begin is a challenge, and I suspect the resulting episodes wouldn't look that much different even if they were given more room to breathe. (As it stands, the first seven episodes of Season Five are housed on disc one, the next six, plus an extended version of the series finale are housed on disc two. Overcrowded? Perhaps. Overcrowded to each episode's detriment? Perhaps not.) Even so, colors are warm and vibrant, primaries pack serious muscle, skintones are nicely saturated (despite the occasional flushed cheek and overheated face), and black levels are decent (albeit a bit dull when grain spikes and the lights dim). Contrast is hot, hot, hot -- as it's always been -- and fine detail and shot-to-shot clarity runs the gamut from satisfying to serviceable to disappointing. Again, the source is key; but the source isn't the only factor at work. All in all, the fifth season boasts one of Chuck's better presentations, but only by a moderate margin. Fans will be mildly pleased, apologists will rush to its defense, and everyone else will shrug their shoulders and try to overlook the glaring flaws.
Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Chuck's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is loaded with lossless heat, but it's still a relatively front-heavy, two-dimensional experience that lacks the fullness and immersiveness of more refined mixes. Dialogue is clean and clear... for the most part. Some lines are muffled, others are lost in the heat of shootouts, still others aren't given the support they need. It isn't a prevalent issue, mind you, just an ever-present issue that distracts from time to time. All the while, LFE output is hefty but a tad cumbersome, rear speaker activity is aggressive but a bit flat and uninvolving, and dynamics are notable but not noteworthy, eeking by instead of making a sonic statement. Directionality is decent, though, pans are fairly slick, and Tim Jones' score puts out a hit on every channel, making the most of its lossless stomping grounds. Should any blame be placed on Warner's shoulders? No. This is Chuck and its sound design, warts and all. Should it be dismissed? Not at all. It won't blow anyone away, but it certainly gets the job done. Series devotees won't be disappointed.
Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
And so we come to the end of an era... or rather the end of Chuck, a long-endangered series that owes every season of its existence to its dearly devoted fans. Fedak and Schwartz don't let their fans down either, thanks to the wild, funny, emotional ride that is the series' fifth and final season. Not everyone will like how it all ends, but in the coming years, few people will see Chuck's last thirteen-episode run as being anything less than good. Very, very good. Warner's Blu-ray release isn't quite as exciting. Its video presentation is as noisy and uneven as ever, its DTS-HD Master Audio track is solid but less-than-extraordinary, and its supplemental package is fairly generous but not incredible. All told, fans will be happy, superfans and series apologists will be ecstatic, and casual viewers will be slightly underwhelmed; in other words, the same reactions every other Chuck Blu-ray release has elicited.
Chuck: Other Seasons
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Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Chuck: Seasons 1 - 5 Blu-ray Set - February 15, 2012
In May, Warner Home Entertainment will bring Chuck: Seasons 1 - 5 to Blu-ray. This set bundles the entire run of the cult action-comedy series about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, Tangled), a "Buy More" computer geek who becomes an unwitting secret agent when ...
• Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray - February 1, 2012
In May, Warner Home Entertainment will bring Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season to Blu-ray. The final season of NBC's cult television program finds the title character (Zachary Levi, Tangled) struggling to become a full-fledged spy. Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season ...
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