After creating The O.C., Josh Schwartz wanted to get a little bigger with his next show. It could still be angsty, but it had to have some kick ass action too. This fall's Chuck is his answer. The story of a nerdy computer gamer who stumbles onto classified information and has to fight off superspies, is right up Schwartz's alley.
Josh Schwartz on Chuck
"After The O.C. I was definitely looking to do something that would have more of a genre element to it but still be able to do it in the style in which I like to write and the kind of characters that I very much enjoy," said Schwartz. "[Cowriter] Chris [Fedak] and I went to film school together. We sat down, and he had the initial concept for the show, which I thought was really interesting and could also be really funny and would give us really the spine we needed to tell this story and to do it in a way that could speak to the quarter-life crisis that our character of Chuck is undergoing and also be able to do it with a lot of humor as well."
Now that nerdy superheroes are cool, it's safer to write shows about them. "As a writer, you want to write what you know. Certainly, as Chris and I can attest, we know many more writers who resemble Chuck than, say, Jack Bauer. Just saying."
Chuck works at a big computer store, a la Best Buy, though it is called something appropriately generic on the show. Again, write what you know. "In-store promotion, we'll get it done. I think the big-box culture is very much a way that we live our lives right now. And in trying to figure out what was sort of the best home for a character like Chuck, the Nerd Herd, obviously inspired by such things as the Geek Squad though vetted legally to be different enough. It felt like a really natural environment for him. I also liked that even in the uniforms that the Nerd Herd guys have to wear, they kind of resemble G-men from 1950s FBI movies. So there's a lot of components, both visually and in terms of his character, that were really appealing about setting it there."
On Chuck's tale is a covert operative (Adam Baldwin) forced to work in the story to keep tabs on him. "A big comedic part of the show is the idea of Casey, guy who used to be stationed in Afghanistan, now having to sell toasters to really annoying customers and wanting to kill all of them. And so having to resist that impulse as he learns to live in suburbia."
It won't be all secret missions and gadgets either. Chuck will still have to deal with ex-girlfriends, like the one who dumped him for his college roommate. "Chuck's backstory is a big part of who he is today. So I think it's safe to say moving forward in the series that those elements of his past will return to impact his future and his present."