Geek TV: Chuck vs. The Big Bang Theory

I’m going a bit off-topic here; file it under geek culture. The two “beauty and the geek” premieres this fall were Chuck and The Big Bang Theory (TBBT). The former is about an underachieving Geek Squad-equivalent employee who, under a pretty ridiculous premise, becomes a human repository for the government’s biggest secrets and enters into a staged romantic relationship with a CIA agent. The latter is a traditional sitcom about an attractive Cheesecake Factory waitress who moves in next door to two physicist roommates who frequently have their equally geeky friends over for company.

After two episodes of each, Chuck is emerging as the far better show. About the best thing TBBT has going for it is the opening theme song by Barenaked Ladies. TBBT’s main geeks’ buddies are somewhat entertaining, but the “odd couple” scenario has been bludgeoned to death, the writing is often stale and the Sheldon character’s punch line delivery is simply too deadpan; the laugh track is unbearable. Chuck, on the other hand, seems to be effedctively melding elements of a comedy, action and mytharc series, and the triangle among Chuck, the CIA agent, and the NSA agent is dynamic and entertaining. I’m eager to see where this one goes

Incidentally, the blonde “hotties” in each show could not be more different. Chuck’s “Sarah” is strong and resourceful while TBBT’s Penny has been nothing but helpless so far.

Coming up next: pictures of my cat.

5 Responses to Geek TV: Chuck vs. The Big Bang Theory

  1. Sandy says:

    Strictly your opinion. Not only is The Big Bang Theory better than Chuck, but the ratings prove it out. The Big Bang Theory beat Chuck by 14% in the ratings this week. Much funnier and much better than Chuck.

  2. Ross Rubin says:

    Spot-checking a few reviews arond the Web, it seems like most folks are in agreement with you. TBBT has gotten better reviews than Chuck. TBBT is from the creators of Two and a Half Men, whcih is a big ratings success, but also a show I never got into or found especially funny.

    I’m still watching TBBT for now. Chuck isn’t as pure a comedy as TBBT, but maybe that’s partly why I like it a bit more, the humor isn’t quite as expected and doesn’t follow the constant punch-line pattern of TBBT.

  3. Dak says:

    @Sandy…

    Wow. “…the ratings prove it out”? That is the most insane logic I’ve ever heard. Because more people tuned in to watch TBBT than Chuck, that means TBBT is better? Actually, you’re saying it’s statistically 14% better than Chuck. Sad that you think that way.

    But, if you’re looking for a career path, you’d make a great network executive.

    :d

  4. Julie says:

    Hee. Well, I *was* a television executive, so I know how little quality has to do with popularity. 🙂 They’re not inversely proportional, but I bet the guys on TBBT could create a cool Venn diagram to show us how it’s all related.

    The TBBT pilot made me laugh more than any other (U.S.) pilot since Friends. I can understand the appeal of Chuck, but the bits of it I’ve seen didn’t make me smile once. On the other hand, I enjoyed the first two TBBT so much, I taped Prison Break and have decided to watch TBBT “live” instead. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a comedy as scheduled.

    (Yes, the character of Penny is so far useless, but the guys make up for it. Perhaps they’d let me live there in her place?)

  5. Ross Rubin says:

    Julie,

    I’m sure you could do a much better job than Sheldon helping to get her apartment in order.