I examine the US TV ratings on a near-daily basis, for several reasons: one, it’s good to know how well a show is doing if we’re planning on running a feature on it in the mag (The Event will probably be gone within the next couple of months, for example), but secondly, I like to know how shows I’m a fan of are faring with audiences. Chuck is one of those interesting shows that has sagged in its ratings since its second season, yet has clung on for dear life thanks to its vocal fan base – something I’m grateful for, definitely, as it’s one of the most consistently entertaining shows on TV.
Without wanting to sound like the angry, drunken guest at the party, though, its bubble show status hasn’t exactly gone away this year. Last week’s episode pulled in 5.4 million viewers, far below the figures it was picking up at this point last year, even if the absolute might of its fluff competition (Dancing With The Stars and House) would make it tough for any show to succeed on that night.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want Chuck to go away, but I don’t think it’s the kind of show that can or should run forever. In fact, a back nine order on top of the thirteen airing now might be a nice way for the show to go out; there are only so many big bads or shady organisations they can introduce for the season, after all, and with the premise focused so clearly on the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, there are only so many places that can go before it becomes repetitive. Some shows are built with a premise that doesn’t have to last forever, and more and more as I watch shows like Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica or The Wire, the idea of notching up 100 episodes seems like a bit much.
Something working in Chuck’s favour is the fact that pretty much all of this year’s new shows on NBC have either bombed or disappointed, with the exception of Law & Order: Los Angeles, so its status as a stable performer should help push the show until the end of the year. One more season on top of that would be the most I’d really like to see from Chuck – what do you think?
Oh, and I’m totally loving the fact I can’t watch Chuck on Freeview in the UK any more. I wouldn’t need a specific TV package to watch it if I lived in the US… that’s nice and fair.