XenForo Template 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.