Though I intended to watch Chuck as it aired on the west coast as it aired, I passed out on the couch about 10 minutes after the Packers – Cardinals game ended and the next thing I knew it was 12:30am!  Blame it on a food coma resulting from being stuffed after eating crow.

But, fortunately the DVR picked up Chuck and I was able to catch the two hour premiere after my unintended

Subway? What Subway!?

Update: notes from comments that despite announcing the Subway deal at the time the show was picked-up and well before any new episodes were shot, a deal wasn’t signed until after the fifth episode was shot.  So we’ll need to wait until after that to see any integration.

I’ve always been skeptical about the role Twitter and Subway played in saving the show and felt that the role of either had been more than a little overstated.

And I knew from comments on the Internet (and comments from the crew of Chuck) that the idea of having Sarah work at a Subway instead of the Orange Orange had been scuttled by Warner Bros. But I wasn’t expecting ZERO product placement for Subway in the first two episodes. And there was either zero product placement in the first two episodes or it was some very bad product placement.  It’s possible at the Chuck & Morgan housewarming party there was some Subway involved, but if there was, I completely tuned it out.

Bill recently posted an item from AdAge that we shouldn’t look for deals like Chuck‘s partnership with Subway to be widely copied because the degree of difficulty in executing the integration was so high.

It’s early in the season, but it looks like the degree of difficulty was so high that not even Chuck and Subway could pull it off.

I did see one regular 30 second commercial spot for Subway during the two hours, but I only noticed the one spot (for the most part I wasn’t paying too much attention to the commercials, so there could’ve been more).

But VERY EFFECTIVE DVR proofing with first Honda Crossover Ad.

After the show would normally be heading into its first pod of commercials rather than directly to another scene, I skipped ahead 30 seconds and I landed on video featuring Morgan, Ellie and Awesome.  And my first thought was, “Oh, not a commercial after all!” So I rewound it and watched it.  Only to have it wind up being a commercial!  For Honda Crossover.  My thought was: “wow, they tricked me.  And it worked!  Good for them.”

It was certainly effective.  There was at least one other Honda Crossover commercial with the trio from Chuck, but because of its placement (I don’t think it was the first commercial in the break) and where the story was, it wasn’t as DVR proof.  The first one was extremely effective because it was the first commercial and the show was in a space where it was plausible that the next scene could’ve involved Morgan, Ellie and Awesome.

I’d love to know what kind of premium, if any, Honda paid for those spots.

The Interwebs are Already Disagreeing Over The Quality of Episodes

While not fodder for our site, fans will ultimately naturally chime in.  While the new episodes were fairly resoundingly salivated on by the critics my early read on the interwebs is that there is not necessarily such agreement from fans.

For me, Chuck was pretty much exactly the same Chuck it always was replete with pop cultural references from the 70s and 80s and plenty of Chuck/Sarah drama.  I enjoyed the episodes, but there wasn’t exactly any “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED MOMENTS!”

But Chuck has never been a show trying to cash in on “OMG! WHOA!” moments.  I wasn’t expecting it to  last night, either.

However, I can understand if the two opening episodes weren’t everyone’s cup of tea on at least a few levels. Some won’t love how the writer’s handled Chuck as Intersect 2.0.  Others definitely will not love all the Chuck-Sarah blah blah blah and though it didn’t bother me, I would agree with anyone who thought they could’ve conveyed all that Chuck-Sarah drama in a lot less screen time without losing any impact.  At this point I think it’s fair to assume that Chris Fedak WANTS to write a show that features a lot of Chuck-Sarah relationship drama and I can certainly see that not being for everyone.

But it didn’t strike me as any different from the first two seasons on that score. If you didn’t like the Chuck-Sarah relationship struggle the first two seasons, you weren’t going to like it any more this season.  But after the first two seasons, it didn’t surprise me at all.

Also, some people just aren’t going to like Chuck as super spy, though this change doesn’t bother me any.

If you loved seeing Tony Hale as Emmett Milbarge, killing him off isn’t going to make you happy. But it was pretty widely reported Hale wouldn’t be on the show this year  And if you loved Julia Ling as Anna Wu, here just being written out of the story completely isn’t going to make you happy, but that too was fairly widely reported.

For me, while I didn’t find the season starting off quite at the top of its game, the elements I like about the show were definitely there in satisfying enough doses for me.  Though I too could do with less Chuck-Sarah tension, it doesn’t greatly annoy me, and having Chuck as a somewhat bumbling super spy didn’t make me think “they’re ruing the show!”

People who never liked the show to begin with weren’t likely to love it more, but I am surprised to read some of the comments from the fans of the show and would be interested in hearing from fans who didn’t love Sunday’s episodes.

If you’re just someone who doesn’t like the show, and didn’t watch, that’s fine.  But I’m not really looking to hear what you thought about episodes you didn’t actually watch!


Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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