'Chuck': 6 things about season three

zacharylevi_s2_chuck_290.jpgThe "Chuck" countdown clock is now inside 30 days, and the show's creators are opening up -- at least a little -- about what we can expect from the new season.

Co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak and star Zachary Levi spoke to reporters on a conference call Friday and laid out a little bit of what viewers can expect from the new season, which premieres Jan. 10. Chuck Bartowski (Levi) downloaded a new Intersect into his head at the end of last season, one that gives him access to physical skills as well as government secrets, and the new season will follow his path to becoming, as Fedak and Schwartz put it, "a real spy."

Here are a half-dozen things you can expect from the new season.

The new Intersect won't always work. Fedak: "You have to keep in mind that it was designed for a super-cold, emotionless spy like Bryce Larkin -- someone who could essentially handle all these new abilities. Now it's been downloaded into Chuck Bartowski, who's filled with emotions: anxiety, fear, he's in love with his partner. All those things actually don't help with the Intersect. ... Sometimes it works perfectly, and sometimes when he gets flustered or upset, it essentially fritzes out."

Schwartz: "We take on in an episode -- what if Chuck stops flashing? What if his emotions get to a place where it's not working at all, and he's just a guy and he's benched from the team? There's the idea too that Sarah [Yvonne Strahovski] -- because she's at the heart of so much of his emotion and angst -- she's in some ways his kryptonite."

Chuck vs. Morgan. Levi: "[Chuck's spy training] continues to put a strain on our bromance, which is pretty difficult, because Chuck and Morgan [Joshua Gomez] have been friends since they were young kids. ... [Having to] lie to him day in and day out, that starts to really have an effect on their ability to just be friends. They do make steps -- Morgan moves in and now they have their bachelor pad. It's good for a little while, but it kind of makes it worse in some ways. ... You'll definitely see that take its toll in the season."

adam-baldwin-chuck-290.jpg Casey at the Buy More. Early in the call, Schwartz noted that the Buy More, that "dysfunctional hotbed of competingly bizarre personalities," would be getting a new assistant manager -- "someone you may know from the show." Something he said later makes us think that person is none other than John Casey (Adam Baldwin).

"I think a lot of the friction [for Casey] this year is actually going to come at the Buy More, where he's going to be given more responsibility," Schwartz says. "Without giving too much away, he finds the Buy More to be potentially his future."

Levi directs.
Levi took his first turn behind the camera this season, and Schwartz and Fedak have nothing but praise for the job he did. "The episode turned out great," Schwartz says. "We also decided for Zach's first episode that we were going to give him one of the more ambitious, important [episodes] in the mythology of the show."

"We did Zach no favors," Fedak adds. "'Chuck' is an incredibly difficult show to direct because we're doing comedy and action, which are difficult in their own right, and we're trying to do both. So Zach really jumped into the deep end, and he was swimming laps by the end of the day."

Subway series?
Schwartz: "The name of the show is now 'Jared.' It's actually going to be far less integration than people feared or predicted at the end of last season. There won't be much more than what you saw last year. ... No one's working at Subway, if that's what you're asking."

Jeffster! returns. Schwartz: "[Vik Sahay as Lester and Scott Krinsky as Jeff] are invaluable comic support for us. Vik has, without giving too much away, a Buy More-via-'Fight Club' storyline where Lester really goes bananas, and obviously you can expect and look forward to the return of Jeffster!"

Fedak: "We will promise this -- we'll see Lester's bedroom.

Schwartz: "And his PJs. You will see what Lester sleeps in. It involves feet."

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Photo credit: NBC