Will Chuck's Mad New Skills Save the Show?
Does Chuck have some fight left in him?
Chuck creator Josh Schwartz promised a "game-changing" finale, and boy, did he deliver! Chuck's hot new brand of flashes, though, left us with several burning questions. Schwartz was kind enough to address our queries, as well as offer a status report on the beloved, butt-kicking and yet still-on-the-bubble action-comedy.
TVGuide.com: Dude, awesome season finale!
Josh Schwartz: Aw, thanks.
TVGuide.com: I got wind of the "game-changing" twist back in March, but made sure to keep mum.
Schwartz: Thank you for that. Luckily, only very few people knew [the twist], and we were able to keep it contained.
TVGuide.com: These new flashes that give Chuck an ability, how long will each one last? Like, could he "forget" kung fu in the middle of a fight?
Schwartz: What I will say is that people who are concerned that these new powers will somehow change the tone of the show or of our guy, don't be. There is a plan in place, and the tone of the show and Chuck's underdog quality will remain intact.
TVGuide.com: Will he flash on, like, a foreign language one week? And then safecracking skills the next? That kind of a thing?
Schwartz: There are a lot of options, a lot of opportunities for us to go down different paths.
TVGuide.com: Might this make Casey, who's used to being the bacon-saver, a bit jealous?
Schwartz: Certainly we're always, always looking for ways to heighten conflict between Chuck and Casey. That's a really fun dynamic for the show.
TVGuide.com: Will there be implications for Chuck and Sarah with this new development?
Schwartz: The most immediate way it impacts them is they can only be together if he is not the asset. That's why they were able to move their relationship forward in the penultimate episode, because the Intersect was out of his head, and she was no longer going to need to protect him. But now...
TVGuide.com: He's more valuable than ever.
Schwartz: Exactly. So that dynamic has changed, and it certainly puts their relationship back in jeopardy. But Chuck and Sarah's relationship will be one of the major driving stories of next season — should we have one.
TVGuide.com: Oh, don't talk like that.
Schwartz: But I have to.
TVGuide.com: What did you think about the Save Chuck Subway effort? I'd like to think it got the tide turning in the direction of a Season 3 pickup.
Schwartz: The fan reaction, the Save Chuck campaign that started on the blogs and with the critics and with the fans, on Facebook and Twitter, has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life to witness — and certainly the most creatively gratifying. Everybody involved in the show has been very, very moved and very emotional about how vocal people have become. The Subway [campaign] was a brilliant idea by somebody on the Television without Pity message boards. It really speaks to how sophisticated and savvy Chuck viewers are, to utilize product integration to save their show rather than just reject it out of hand. I have heard anecdotally stories of Subway lines out the door. I know that [Subway execs] have also been extremely surprised by the level of promotion for Subway amidst all of this.
TVGuide.com: But what is NBC thinking these days?
Schwartz: Well, NBC has always really loved the show. They have been very supportive of the show, and they really do love and support the show. It's not lost on them, the fan reaction, the critical support, and this grassroots movement that's taken hold. All of that is very significant in indicating momentum for the show, growth for the show, and a really loyal and fervent fan base for the show.
TVGuide.com: So you feel like it's a genuinely difficult decision NBC is facing?
Schwartz: They have a very tight schedule this year, so...
TVGuide.com: Are you an expensive show, or just not an NBC Universal-owned show?
Schwartz: We're not an expensive show, we're not a cheap show — I think we fall in the middle. They don't own us, so there is that, but at the same time... . There are pluses and minuses to being owned [by the network you air on], I guess.
TVGuide.com: Is Bryce truly and sincerely dead this time?
Schwartz: He is dead.
TVGuide.com: You left the door open for Scott Bakula to return as Chuck's father. Is he on board for further appearances, should you get renewed?
Schwartz: We would love to have Scott back; he was such a fantastic part of the show and he surpassed all of our hopes and expectations for what he would bring to the part. He grounded the show emotionally, and he kicked ass.
TVGuide.com: Would next season be the season we explore Chuck's mom?
Schwartz: We're still formulating our thoughts for the new characters. We know the larger arc for next season that we want to play out, we know the direction we want to take the show, and we know how next season would end.
TVGuide.com: Does it end as good as this one?
Schwartz: Yeah, we're really excited about it. And one thing I will promise for next year is that, come hell or high water, Jeffster shall return!
Crave scoop on your favorite TV shows? E-mail senior editors Matt, Mickey and Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.