Just a quick side note - I'm a day late with this due to a little solidarity. Many TV bloggers went dark yesterday in support of the WGA and their strike, and I followed suit. Of course the fact that I'm fresh from vacation and my boss just tragically died, my going dark seems a little less like solidarity and more like a necessary extension to my vacation.
Monday nights, for me, have become all about Chuck. Last year it was Heroes, before that 24, but now that honor belongs to the freshman comedy, and it continues to deliver, even as the series teeters on life support and endures the loss of C.S. Lee, who plays Chuck and Morgan's nemesis at work, Harry Tang. You can add him to the list of Dexter's victims, as Lee took on a full-time role (as Masuka) for the Showtime drama. Harry Tang, we barely knew ya. But as we lose Tang (and sweet, sweet Lady Tang) we gain sandwich queen Lou, played by The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson, as a new love interest for Chuck. Her comic delivery ("our vast height difference intrigues me") reminds us that Yvonne Strahovski has some comedic limitations. Meanwhile, the sandwich she names "The Chuck" is a reference to a sandwich at LA's Canter's Deli that's named after Chuck producer Matt Miller ("Matt's Special"). Apparently, both Bilson and Adam Brody are big fans of the turkey, muenster and egg bread sandwich.
But on to the music, 'cause that's why I'm here, right? With the use of Britney Spears' "Toxic" (during the chase for a poison's antidote) it was nice to remember when Brit was more pop artist then tabloid fodder. Of course, the song's appeal is less about Britney then about the songwriting/production team The Matrix, and really the only song of hers I can see ever being used in the series -- the rest of Spears' music would feel at home on Schwartz's other series Gossip Girl. The only other song used here is the requisite final stretch ballad use of Eels' "Fresh Feeling," which doesn't feel so fresh considering its multiple uses on Scrubs in the past.
Speaking of multiple use, Three Dog Night's "Shambala" made an appearance on Journeyman, a song you'll remember was prominently used in a Lost episode from this past March. Journeyman only seems to use songs for setting, though, so we don't care to talk about the show beyond that.
Finally, Heroes featured the debut of a special cover of Monochrome Set's "He's Frank" that will later appear in a Heroes Soundtrack to be released in early 2008. Word has it that it's a collaboration between artists, but that's all that's been revealed. Sounded to me like Iggy Pop fronting The Killers, but that's a wild guess (although, I might be willing to put money on the Iggy part).
Playlist: NBC's Monday Night Soundtrack
1. "Toxic" - Britney Spears - Chuck Ep1.08
2. "Fresh Feeling" - Eels - Chuck Ep1.08
3. "He's Frank" - The Monochrome Set (original - covered by unknown) - Heroes Ep2.08
4. "Shambala" - Three Dog Night - Journeyman Ep1.08
More: Having Marshall from Alias (Kevin Weisman) is more then a nod to debt Chuck has to that J.J. Abrams spy drama. As I mentioned in my critique of the pilot, the fish-out-of-water scenes with geek Marshall in the field had to have given at least some inspiration to the creation of Chuck.
Previously: Of Sandworms and Silicon (Ep 1.06)