In August, NBC made the surprise move of ordering a full 22-episode season of Chuck before a single minute of the show's second season aired.
The Peacock was so impressed with the six episodes in the can that it committed to this show, ratings or no ratings. (Good thing, too -- Chuck's ratings aren't so hot.)
Now that five episodes have aired, it's easy to see why the suits would be enthused. Chuck has always blended action, comedy and romance with some degree of success, but this season the show strikes that balance expertly. It's not weighty or ambitious, but it's hella fun.
Zachary Levi stars as Chuck, a geek who works at a big-box electronics store and moonlights as a bumbling spy because a government supercomputer has been downloaded into his brain. Brawny alpha male Casey (Adam Baldwin) and tough, sexy Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are the secret agents assigned to protect him.
It's a premise so far-fetched that even Heroes wouldn't touch it. But where that show writhes in melodramatic self-importance, Chuck never takes itself seriously and thus reaps great rewards.
Even the goofy subplots involving Chuck's dorky co-workers add something this year. When they don't tie directly into the spy stuff, they at least mirror it.
What's more, you can jump in anytime, knowing nothing about the backstory, and enjoy Chuck. And enjoy it you will, more than almost any other hour on TV today.
"Chuck"8 p.m. Mondays, NBC