As 2010 draws to a close, let’s look back at a year packed with Chuck (29 episodes!) in our annual retrospective.
This month saw the return of Chuck after a 7-month hiatus. NBC kicked things off with a 2-night, 3-episode premiere event bringing us up to speed on what Team Bartowski had been up to during those months. We featured a video interview with Zachary Levi & Joshua Gomez on Chuck vs. the Podcast, the season 2 DVDs went on sale, fans and cast members came together at the first Chuckfest, and the cast were all over the place with interviews and at the TCAs. With some campaigning and a lot of fan voting, Yvonne Strahovski won E! Online’s Girl On Top competition. Zachary Levi presented at the Golden Globes. Meanwhile, Devon found himself in the thick of a spy mission and we met Chuck’s new mentor, Daniel Shaw. With Chuck and Sarah broken up, Hannah caught Chuck’s eye while on a trip to Paris and we caught up with guest star Steve Austin on the podcast. Yvonne Strahovski lent her voice to Mass Effect 2, Mark Christopher Lawrence took the lead role in The Piano Lesson, and composer Tim Jones was interviewed by a bunch of fifth graders.
The month began with a nacho sampler, a Battlestar reference, and a portable Intersect. We featured a video interview with guest star Kristin Kreuk on the podcast, and followed that up with Ryan McPartlin. Just before we broke for the Winter Olympics, an episode came along that caused already bubbling fan discontent to boil over, although not everyone was as upset as the media would make us think. Still, the uproar was enough that even Fedak and Schwartz chimed into the discussion. Ratings are always a hot topic, so we put together a detailed report on the ratings through mid-season 3 which sparked plenty of discussion. We also had news that Scott Bakula would return for 2 episodes, Nathan Fillion stopped by the set to visit former Firefly co-star Adam Baldwin, and we got on the phone with Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez to talk about the rest of the season.
Continuing with the fallout from “Chuckpacolypse”, we chatted with critics Mo Ryan and Jace Lacob about “Chuck vs. the Mask” on the podcast. With the Olympics over, Chuck returned with a fake name and some nods to the fans, followed by Zachary Levi’s directorial debut and Morgan’s big discovery. The audience and Casey both got a surprise when we got a glimpse at his backstory, and Chuck took his final exam. Our new video podcast included an interview with Sarah Lancaster, plus Julia Ling confirmed that she’d be returning for an episode as Anna Wu. In the month’s final episode, it was Chuck vs. the American Hero, and fans vs. a lot of speculation about Sarah. Meanwhile, Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski asked us to vote for Chuck in E!’s Save One Show poll.
Chris Fedak, Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin and Joshua Gomez appeared at WonderCon at the beginning of the month, where they previewed what would have been the season 3 finale if NBC hadn’t ordered extra episodes. It was an episode worth waiting for as Chuck and Sarah finally got together. We launched the Chuck: Declassified campaign to draw more viewers and promote a season 4 renewal. Thanks to tireless campaigning, including a faux baby belly, and lots of fan votes, Chuck won E!’s Save One Show poll. Zachary Levi competed in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race and Yvonne Strahovski went home to Australia to promote her film I Love You Too. We launched the second phase of our renewal campaign by calling for fans to participate in flash mobs across the country and on Twitter. After a short break, the show returned with an exuberant romp on a train with Chuck & Sarah, ending the month on a high note.
We kicked off the month by chatting with Chuck costume designer Robin Lewis-West on the podcast and organizing Chuck rallies in 5 cities around the U.S. Fred Willard, Swoosie Kurtz and a tiger tried to act as role models, and Zachary Levi duetted with Katharine McPhee on “Terrified”. While waiting to hear the fate of season 4, we launched a series of Chuck: Declassified missions including placing a classified ad promoting Chuck, moving Chuck‘s theme song up the Amazon charts, and more. Meanwhile, Christopher Lloyd stopped by to examine Chuck’s brain and Casey sacrificed a tooth. With Chuck Me Out considered a success in their fandom efforts, NBC launched Fan It, a social media effort that rewards fans with merchandise from their favorite show. In mid-May NBC officially renewed Chuck for a fourth season with an initial order of 13 episodes, and fans rejoiced! Part of our celebration included an interview with new writers Lauren LeFranc and Rafe Judkins who have written some of the fans’ favorite episodes to date. Scott Bakula and Brandon Routh, the living dead, pre-dated the whole zombie craze when they returned as the season sped toward a close. The two-part season finale was chock full of action and shocking twists, including the death of Papa B, our first glimpse at Mama B, and the reveal of the Orion cave, leaving fans wondering what was to come in season 4. Our special two-part season finale podcast featured interviews with Vik Sahay & Scott Krinsky plus Tim Jones & Eugene Edwards about “the world’s worst music video”. And to wrap up the season, we launch the second Chuck Fan Survey.
Traditionally a quiet month, fandom took a bit of a breather after the breakneck season. We published the results of the Chuck Fan Survey, along with some analysis, and compared it to the first survey. Yvonne Strahovski joined Twitter, giving fans a glimpse inside her life. Zachary Levi attended the Monte Carlo TV Festival to promote Chuck, and Ryan McPartlin attended the NewNowNext awards. Details on Chuck at Comic Con were revealed, and the first spoiler for season 4 leaked.
We started July with a guest Friday Five piece on who should play Mama Bartowski, and were rewarded with the announcement that Linda Hamilton would play her at Comic Con a few weeks later. Before we headed to San Diego, though, we cheered when Chuck was nominated for a third Emmy for stunt work, Yvonne Strahovski filmed The Killer Elite with Robert De Niro in Australia, confirmed that season 4 would premiere September 20, wondered what Zachary Levi was filming that had him lying on a golf course, and got a few behind the scenes photos from the premiere. Finally it was time for Comic Con! We covered the panel and press room, plus met up with a bunch of the guys at a party, hung out with a bunch of Chuck fans, and talked to Matt Bomer about the possibility of returning. It was a busy week for the cast as Yvonne also hosted a charity event in Los Angeles the day of their Comic Con panel, and the annual TCA junket went down just a few days later, in addition to continuing work on season 4. Capping off the month, Josh Gomez joined Twitter!
Which production in full swing, more casting news came down the pike, including several Gretas, Lou Ferrigno, Karolina Kurkova, Timothy Dalton, and General Beckman’s promotion to series regular. We found out why Zachary Levi was laying on a golf course, met the new Chuck writers, and cheered for Zac and Yvonne who won Choice Action awards, and presented, at the Teen Choice Awards. Yvonne also won a pair of Tubey awards. Zac hosted another livestream from the set, Yvonne caught Bieber fever, and we got a sneak peek at an Awesome statue. Writer Lauren LeFranc answered fan questions and we got our first look at Linda Hamilton as Mama B.
Counting down to the return of Chuck, we chatted with Mo Ryan about season 3 and speculated on season 4, then hit up Chris Fedak for more intel. Season 3 arrived on DVD, complete with blooper reel, and NBC launched a series of webisodes featuring JEFFSTER! on the lam. Writer Rafe Judkins answered fan questions, and we participated in a conference call with Chris Fedak and Joshua Gomez. Zachary Levi participated in the Twitchange auction, we previewed the season premiere, and finally season 4 began! In addition to the return of the show, our own Lou launched the Chuck Nerdposium Netcast to review each episode. Amid the excitement of Chuck‘s return, Mel had the opportunity to visit the set where they were filming episode 4.07 with Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton. Zac officially launched The Nerd Machine, and Yvonne Strahovski attended the PETA anniversary party. We found out that Summer Glau would guest as a Greta, and a suitcase caused some tension for Chuck and Sarah.
Nicole Richie and Steve Austin returned to Chuck in the month’s first episode, although a certain ring seemed to cause more trouble than they did. Zachary Levi celebrated his 30th birthday with a party sponsored by XBox. We talked with Mekenna Melvin about playing Casey’s daughter and Morgan’s love interest, and chatted with Ryan McPartlin and Sarah Lancaster about what the Woodcomb’s would be facing this season. We learned how NBC measures Chuck’s ratings, got our first look at Timothy Dalton on Chuck, and Firefly fans got a treat of our own. Team Bartowski were inadvertently entangled in a coup d’etat, which featured a very large statue, and Joshua Gomez took us on a photo tour of him arm wrestling the cast of Chuck. Zac shared a photo while prepping to direct episode 4.10, and we got another look into Casey’s past when some old friends made an appearance. Excitement was the name of the game when NBC announced not just a full season, but an extra long season by ordering an additional 11 episodes, making this the longest season of Chuck yet. Riding high on that excitement, we joined a conference call with Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay, with predictably amusing results. Halloween came a few days early when Robert Englund guest-starred in an episode focusing on Chuck’s fears. Meanwhile, the Chuck cast encouraged fans to vote for Chuck to grace the cover of TV Guide (we lost to Supernatural in a close contest).
Timothy Dalton joined the show for a multi-episode arc, starting as mild-mannered Tuttle, only to later reveal himself as the evil Volkoff, in the midst of Chuck and Sarah’s first real fight. Mel shared more from her set visit for this episode, including chats with Yvonne Strahovski, Linda Hamilton, and Ana Gasteyer. We heard Zachary Levi sing in Disney’s animated film Tangled and help announce the People’s Choice nominees, and we watched Ryan McPartlin make out with Kate Walsh. Chuck dealt with an Intersect on the fritz and a whole new kind of therapy, while back at the Buy More Morgan had his hands full with the new Greta. On the podcast we talked with director/executive producer Robert Duncan McNeill about this episode and what’s ahead on the series. Yvonne attended the premiere of Tangled to support Zac who voices the male lead, then bowled us over with a powerful performance as Sarah searched for Chuck in Thailand. The final new episode of the year saw Mama B and Volkoff joining the family for Thanksgiving leftovers and charades, and Chuck regaining the Intersect. In some form, anyway.
We started the month with the news that we were nominated for two Podcast Awards, thanks to you! We ended up losing to some much bigger podcasts, but thank you again for voting. Chuck fan MK sent in a song she wrote for the show that shows once again how talented the fans are. Another fan stirred up lots of press when he legally changed his name to Captain Awesome! NBC aired some reruns and Happydayz hosted live chats during the Winter Rewatch. MadTV parodied Chuck with their animated “Duck” skit. PETA unveiled an angelic ad featuring Yvonne Strahovski and her two pups in support of pet adoption while Emmy 4 Yvonne stepped up their campaign. We closed out the year with an epic holiday extravaganza podcast that included 35 members of the Chuck team, past and present, plus a passel of spoilers for the rest of the season from Chris Fedak.
Some milestones for us include:
- Chuck vs. the Podcast ends the year as the #1 TV podcast on Podcast Alley for the second year in a row! On average, 15,000 people listen to our podcasts each month, hailing from at least 20 different countries. This year we released 40 podcasts and switched to video format so you could see our smiling faces while we talked about Chuck. We were also featured in the Toronto Star, nominated for two Podcast Awards, and produced a special holiday episode with greetings from 35 members of the Chuck team, past and present.
- ChuckTV.net received 2.65 million visits and 9.4 million page views this year, more than double the traffic in 2009. (Note: these numbers do not include forum visits.) The most popular sections of the site this year were the music lists for season 3, the post announcing Chuck‘s renewal, and the spoilers section. More than 16,000 comments were left on the blog. Over in the forum more than 900 topics were started and 61,500 comments posted by members.
And those are just the highlights! Numerous other interviews and media mentions, tons of spoilers and speculation, and fan creations filled the year to overflowing with goodies for Chuck fans. Thank you to the cast and creative team of Chuck for a tremendous year, and to the fans for keeping the buzz going. With season 4 returning January 17, and a whopping 14 episodes remaining this season, it looks like 2011 is off to a good start!