For those of you who have read my previous guide, which was part 1 to this series, you may find a link beginning. It is by no means intentional, just merely a coincidence. This time around we start with:
If you liked
Alias, you may like
Chuck, albeit squeezed into 13 episodes (due to the writer's strike earlier this year), cracks off to a great start and really opens things up for what will hopefully be a lengthier second season (which is already in production). The premise is probably the silliest I have ever heard in a long while. A computer technician, Chuck, who works for Buy More (the equivalent to PC World et al) receives an email upon which when opened transfers both the NSA's secrets and CIA's to his brain. Then, without warning, he gets flashes of information about potential bad guys or imminent threats. Two secret agents (or spies) are assigned to protect him, and the Intersect (the computer that previously held all the information). One agent, for the CIA, acts his girlfriend so she can maintain her cover in protecting him; the other agent, for the NSA, is recruited as a co-employee. And so the fun begins.
Now I may have unintentionally warned you off this series by the description but if you bare with it and watch the first two episodes, if you liked
Alias you will see the similarities between that and
Chuck. The episodes are almost self contained but leave you wanting to know more about Chuck, Sarah (the spy/girlfriend), John Casey (the NSA agent who is just a little off the wall), best friend Morgan (who is, well, quirky doesn't sum it up but closest word in the english language to define him), his sister Ellie and her boyfriend Captain Awesome (you have to see it to know why).
I was a little apprehensive at first seeing who directed the pilot and executively produced the whole series: director of both
Charlie's Angels McG but I put that into the back of my mind and I was lucky I did otherwise I would have missed out on a treat. It can be a little sappy sometimes (I have a feeling somewhere Disney has it's crowd pleaser hands on it) but the way it is made and the way it is written and subsquently acted, this is but a minor flaw.
Second up: If you liked
The Office (UK version), you may like
The Office:An American Workplace (US version). I'm not sure what drew me to the first series of the US version of
The Office but first impressions was this was going to fail miserably like all other UK exports to America. However, I was advised to stick with it to the second season and I did and, like
Chuck, I was glad I did because by the second season this series had really come into its own.
Steve Carell (
40 year old virgin and
Anchorman) was perfectly cast as the American equivalent of David Brent (an unmatched Ricky Gervais) Michael Scott. In some ways he is very similar to Brent, but in others he is very different. John Krasinski plays Jim Halpert (the equivalent of Tim Canterbury) and Jenna Fischer plays Pam (the equivalent of Dawn Tinsley) and these two make the perfect couple who long to be together but can't because of other commitments. Rainn WIlson plays Dwight Schrute (the equivalent of Gareth) and is the butt of many hilarious pratical jokes devised by Jim and Pam.
The practical jokes are what made it for me as something to separate the two series but the dynamic between all the characters and the storylines also make essential viewing. It constantly surprises and each episodes has at least one laugh in it. For me, the second and third season seemed to get better and better.
As of writing, the series has spanned 4 seasons (mostly comprising of 22 episodes, except the first which was just six and the fourth, which equated to 22 episodes (I think) but were made into double length episodes because of the strike). It has already started production on a fifth season. This made a great antidote to my pain of losing
Friends (the show) and, inevitably, this will end as well but we shouldn't dwell on that at this moment. The series is still going strong.
The first three seasons of
The Office:An American Workplace are available on UK DVD and range from about £5 (the first season) to £24 (the second and third, because they are longer). Due to it not being a huge success over here (ITV2 nabbed the rights and show all new episodes late at night. Hopefully re-runs on Paramount Comedy 1 will boost popularity of the show), at time of writing, you should get the first season for about 3 pounds, the second and third season for no more 15 pounds (both inclusive of P+P). Anything more and the people selling the boxsets are expecting too much. For
Chuck, I paid £10 for my boxset (I was lucky) but you should expect to pay no more then £15 (including P +P). The reason for this: it is only 13 episodes and the show has a small following over here due to lots of shows being put out and people not knowing which to watch. If you pay more on eBay, you'll find websites like play.com selling it for £17.99 and you'll feel ripped off. If you haven't read my guides before (or I haven't said this), visit play.com and cd-wow.com first, check the price of the product you want and then knock off at least 4 pounds before even considering purchasing from an eBay seller otheriwse you are not getting a bargain are you?
That's it for now on my if you like this, you may like.... but not the end. When I think of more TV programmes to compare, you'll be the first to know. In the mean time, I'd appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Does this guide help you? Is it a useful topic? What works in the guide? What doesn't? Till next time. Adieu.
If you like this, you may like....Part Two
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11 September 2008
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