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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Chuck: The Complete Second Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Cameron Yee, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template Chuck Season 2 Blu-ray

    Chuck: The Complete Second Season

    Release Date: January 5, 2010
    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Packaging/Materials: Four-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover
    Year: 2008/2009
    Rating: TV
    Running Time: Approximately 16.5 hours
    MSRP: $59.98

      THE EPISODES SPECIAL FEATURES
    Video 1080p high definition 16x9 1.78:1 480i or 480p standard definition
    Audio Dolby Digital: English 5.1, Spanish 2.0 Stereo and mono
    Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch (episodes and select bonus material)

    The Season: 4.5/5

    A year has gone by, but reluctant government asset Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) continues to struggle with his unrequited feelings for CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski), his dead-end job at the Buy More electronics shop, and staying off the last nerve of NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin). Of course Chuck's biggest problem continues to be how to rid himself of the Intersect, a super-secret, government supercomputer whose data was unceremoniously uploaded into his brain by a former college classmate-turned-spy. Until the government manages to rebuild the device, Sarah and Casey must do whatever it takes to protect Chuck, while Chuck must figure out how to keep his new life a secret from his friends and family.

    Though the central conflict and circumstances are the same as those in the last season, the second season of "Chuck" includes some significant developments for both the individual characters as well as the underlying espionage mythology. While there's the requisite forward movement in the "will they or won't they" romance between Chuck and Sarah (which is the closest thing approaching tedium on the show), we also find out how Sarah became a spy, prepare for the impending nuptials between Chuck's sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), see the Buy More staff come into their own (for better or worse), and find out the real reason why the Intersect liked Chuck's brain so much. By the season finale all the threads of our hapless hero's various lives come together (or, dare I say, intersect), forming a perfect example of what makes the show so appealing - great, espionage-driven action gets mixed with emotionally resonant character moments gets mixed with ridiculous comedy in an entertainingly satisfying blend. Though the cliffhanger introduces an element that could change a lot of what made the show so enjoyable, namely Chuck's everyman geek cred and pitiable skills as a spy, it also promises to take the show into some interesting new areas. Regardless of the new developments, this viewer will be there to see how it all unfolds.

    "Chuck: The Complete Second Season" on Blu-ray includes all 22 episodes that aired on NBC in 2008 and 2009. The third season of "Chuck" is scheduled to begin with a two-hour premiere on January 10th at 9/8c. It will then move to its permanent time slot of Mondays at 8/7c.

    Video Quality: 3/5

    The series episodes are framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with VC-1 codec. Black levels appear solid and deep, though contrast can be problematic at both ends of the spectrum, exhibiting compression in both highlights and shadows. Fine object detail is similarly limited, even in close ups, and overall image softness is a pretty common occurrence. The often-visible grain structure is itself well-defined, however, and, though rare, there are instances where the detail can be quite satisfying. Color rendition is probably the most consistent aspect of the transfer - flesh tones tending to be warm, but without oversaturation, and colors in general showing good depth and fidelity. To my recollection, the original high definition broadcasts exhibited similar characteristics, making me suspect the presentation on Blu-ray is still superior, though certainly not as much as one would hope.

    Audio Quality: 3.5/5

    Center channel dialogue in the 640 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is consistently clear and detailed. Surround activity is often in service to the show's music cues. Ambient and directional effects are present during action sequences and the ubiquitous Intersect flash, but can be a little blunt in the execution, though appropriately balanced in the staging. Bass response is deep and clean with explosions and musical bass hits (which are strangely more robust than the former, until the final episodes). Overall the track shows good range and fidelity, even though it is sometimes functional in nature and not always very subtle (which I suppose is appropriate given the show).

    Special Features: 3/5

    The special features package includes mostly watch-once fluff pieces, though the number of deleted scenes is impressive and the inclusion of the 3-D episode is a nice touch (though the actual 3-D experience is not particularly impressive).

    "Chuck vs. the Third Dimension" in 3-D (HD): Watch the episode in all its blue and amber 3-D glory as it will never be aired this way again. The episode is located on the fourth disc with the other video extras and two pairs of 3-D glasses are included to facilitate the experience.

    Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome Tip for Being Awesome - First Dates (1:17, SD): Captain Awesome offers a friendly tip for success on a first date.

    Truth, Spies and Regular Guys: Exploring the Mythology of Chuck (20:26, SD): Divided into two parts, Part One covers the major spy characters and their respective background stories. Part Two provides an overview of the second season's major story arc and character developments.

    John Casey Presents: So You Want to Be a Deadly Spy? (2:41, SD): Agent Casey offers some dating and career advice for the up-and-coming spy.

    Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome Tip for Being Awesome - High School Reunions (:34, SD): Captain Awesome offers a friendly tip for making an impression at your high school reunion.

    Dude in Distress (17:46, SD): A look at the season's most exciting action and stunt sequences and what it took to prepare for and film them. Includes side-by-side comparisons between rehearsal footage and finished scenes, and behind-the-scenes footage from production.

    Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome Tip for Being Awesome - Running Into An Ex (:32, SD): Captain Awesome offers a friendly tip for handling an awkward moment with a past lover.

    Chuck Versus the Chuckles Gag Reel (7:36, SD)

    Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome Tip for Being Awesome - Job Interviews (:35, SD): Captain Awesome offers a friendly tip for making a good first impression for a job interview.

    Chuck Versus the Webisodes (10:18, SD): Five webisodes show Buy More employees dealing with various challenges like customer service, work ethic, employee health, leadership, and youth marketing.

    Deleted Scenes (SD): Forty scenes totaling around 37 minutes are spread across the four discs in the set. The best by far is the last one from the season finale.

    Recap

    The Season: 4.5/5
    Video Quality: 3/5
    Audio Quality: 3.5/5
    Special Features: 3/5
    Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5


    A great NBC action-comedy series gets an average video presentation, decent audio presentation, and a mostly superficial set of extras. Regardless, fans of the show won't be (or shouldn't be) deterred from adding this second season release to their collection.

     
  2. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Thanks for the review Cameron. This is one of my favorite shows and I will be picking this title up. Its a shame so many of the extras are in SD.
     
  3. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    There is some discusion that the 3D episode is only available in a Limited Edition version (see www.chuckpodcast.com/important-only-limited-edition-dvdblu-ray-have-3d-episode/), rather than all first printing copies. (I've personally received confirmation from one reliable person that was disappointed to discover that he did not have the 3D version, and when my pre-ordered copy arrives from Amazon, I don't expect it to have the 3D either.) I'm really unhappy about this, because the press release was very explicit.


    No mention of a "limited edition" at all.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Matthew, I saw the limited edition in the stores and it has a sticker on the front. That is the only indication--it isn't mentioned on the packaging. I saw other copies at Target that did *not* have the sticker and I assume they do *not* have the 3D episode. Bottom line: look for the sticker.

    Edit: I see you ordered online and thus didn't have the opportunity to look for the sticker. I'm not sure there's a way around that, but you might send it back unopened if the sticker is missing. I also believed that "for a limited time" would cover every first print copy, so I was going to relax and not pick it up right away (after trying to pick it up a week before street date and being refused by the store). Now, I'm going to race to get a copy.
     
  5. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    I see TVShowsOnDVD now has a post about the missing 3D glasses. Apparently orders were higher than expected, they had to do a second pressing, and they weren't able to get enough glasses in time, but Warners say they are trying to find a solution. I just hope the solution allows for overseas purchasers (like myself).
     
  6. BillBR

    BillBR Stunt Coordinator

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    That TVshowsondvd.com story sounds encouraging, but I feel like doing more. WHV really soiled the bed on this one...something I noticed right away when I walked into Best Buy on release day (at 1 in the afternoon) and saw tons of DVD copies (both regular and "limited" edition) and only one (the last, in fact) Blu-Ray copy. I didn't even know there was a "limited edition" of the BR...I thought, as obviously others did, that they would all include the 3D.

    Overall, it's obvious either no one at WHV cared about this release, and/or they rushed it. So that line about "more pre-orders then they were expecting" may have some truth to it. I'd still like to voice my concern...does anyone have WHV customer service info? I can't find it on their website.

    Maybe I'll just swing by another Best Buy tomorrow on the off chance I find a copy and can trade up...
     
  7. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    My copy should be arriving from Amazon tomorrow and it better have the 3D version - I ordered this last MAY. I can't see them having rushed it as the set was supposed to come out last fall, but was bumped due to the show's renewal and airing in the spring. The press release sure made it sound like EVERY copy of the first pressing would include the 3D version.
     
  8. ATimson

    ATimson Second Unit

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    I ordered it last April from Amazon and didn't get the 3D version.


    Every copy of the first pressing, yes. But they were on the second pressing before the first pressing was even released.
     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Well Warner better fix this issue. Those of us who ordered that long ago should be getting what we ordered, regardless.
     
  10. cafink

    cafink Producer

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  11. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    If you don't want to mess with that and have a Fry's in your area, you might check there. Every copy at my local store had the limited edition sticker.
     
  12. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Have just filled out the form on the Warners website. Hopefully the replacement program also applies to people that live overseas.
     
  13. Midnight Mike

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    I also filled out the form and have already recieved a reply...


    I would be more than happy to help you with this issue. Please respond with an address where I can send you a pre-paid label. Once you receive the label, please return the complete boxset of Chuck Season 2 back to me. Once I receive the set, I will then order and send you a new one. I look forward to hearing back from you and I apologize for any inconvenience.

    That was fast!
     
  14. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    I can't see that a 3-D version using the anaglyph method would be worth all that trouble for me. Nevertheless, I think WB has ripped off its customers and should be distrusted in the event of any future "offers" of this nature. I still feel shortchanged.
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    While I am happy that Warner is addressing this, I'm not very happy that after preordering early and waiting all year for this to be released, there will be another month or more waiting for a replacement to be sent. I wanted to watch the show (preferably before we were too far into the new season), not wait for a mailing label, wait for my discs to be returned, wait for them to order a new set, and wait for shipping. Hopefully my set will arrive with the 3D episode so I can avoid all this hassle.
     
  16. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    They're offering a replacement. That's alot more than some studios do when they screw up.

    Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
     
  17. BillBR

    BillBR Stunt Coordinator

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    Kudos to Warner's for addressing the problem...though I still take issue with their handling of this release, I at least respect them for trying to fix a mistake.

    That is, for now. I filled out that form and sent it on Saturday...still no word at all. Has everyone gotten a response yet or are they taking a little while?
     
  18. James_Koch

    James_Koch Agent

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    Originally Posted by BillBR
     
  19. ATimson

    ATimson Second Unit

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    I filled it out on Friday, and didn't get an e-mail until early this morning.
     
  20. Scott Littlefield

    Scott Littlefield Stunt Coordinator

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    I also filled mine out on Saturday, but haven't heard anything. Have you?
     

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