If you picked up your 3D glasses at the local grocery store and watched the Super Bowl on Sunday you got to see both the preview of the new Dreamworks film “Monsters vs. Aliens” and a Sobe commercial where a bunch of football players in unitards danced around with lizards in 3D. If you hung onto those glasses you also got to watch a full 3D episode of Chuck on Monday night titled "Chuck vs. the Third Dimension". Clever name huh? Because it’s in 3D!
Probably the most impressive thing to me about the 3D commercials during the Super Bowl were that you could also watch them without the glasses and you wouldn’t see the regular double picture you normally get. Unfortunately the free glasses were your standard 1980 issue green and blue 3D glasses that you probably got when you saw “Jaws 3” or “Captain Eo”. The commercials didn’t give me much hope for Monday’s episode of Chuck but none the less I am a fan so I gave it a go.
First let me just give a quick run down of the episode storyline itself. If you don’t watched Chuck regularly it’s about an average geek who works at a Best Buy type store called Buy More who had a whole crap load of government secrets uploaded into his head by a former roommate. Enter Sarah, a sassy bad ass secret agent gal with a heart of gold and Casey, her tough as nails no nonsense partner to protect Chuck and you’ve got yourself a show I’ll watch. Ever episode Chuck sees something that triggers a flash in his head that sets the group on some wacky adventures to stop a secret terrorist group from blowing up the world. In this past episode Chuck “flashes” on a big time rock n roll star who visits the Buy More. The next hour is spent with Sarah, Chuck and Casey trying to stop a plot to kill Mr. Rocker and keep valuable secrets fall into the wrong hands. If you like the show you probably would of liked this episode. I did. Bonus points from me for use of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, a couple of funny “Shawshank Redemption” references and some prison sex humor.
But let’s get to the 3D here which is really what most people were looking forward to in this episode. First off the writers of Chuck went right for the jugular. They wasted no time in throwing Sarah in all her 3D glory sporting next to nothing and shaking what god gave her. That’s about as much as I can say about that since my wife reads my posts. From there it turned into a lot of what you would expect. Knife throwing, random object flying and a whole lot of weird red and green blurring that may or may not of given me permanent vision damage. My guess is the idea behind making a 3D version of Chuck was to attract new viewers. I tested this guess out on my wife who normally doesn’t watch the show with me. For about the first fifteen minutes I thought this little trick was working on her until she started to complain of severe headaches and gave up on the show. Even I had to cut the show in half because the red and green was really getting to me. For the most part it just didn’t work with the old red and green glasses and a lot of scenes just got blurred out. Having seen “My Bloody Valentine” I know where the technology is at in theaters and unfortunately it just isn’t that far along on your TV set yet. All of the problems people had with MBV were there and unfortunately kicked up to a higher level. Backgrounds were blurred, text was hard to read and as a whole the episode was hard to watch. There were some scenes that did work but mostly those were the ten second “flashes” Chuck sees. The CGI stuff seemed to work out a lot better then the standard live action. I will give them this, the effects they used didn’t really take away from the show and I could see this being just as if not more watchable without the glasses. On a side note I was pretty surprised to not see either of the 3D commercials from the Super Bowl replayed during Chuck.
I’m interested to see how this episode did as far as ratings and more interested to see if NBC views this as a success. The technology definitely needs a lot of improvement but it is a step in the right direction. I’m not sure the stations will run out and start making more shows in 3D but it will be interesting to see after they have had some time to improve on things.