zachary levi chuck s3 320 'Chuck': Four things to watch for in the premiereIt’s finally upon us: “Chuck” returns to NBC in a matter of hours.

NBC sent critics the first five episodes of the season, and despite the significant change in the show’s premise at the end of last season, the show hasn’t lost anything that made it so much fun in its first two season. Chuck (Zachary Levi) is somewhat more confident but still as emotional as he’s ever been, despite the new Intersect giving him physical skills. Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) is still torn between her work and her feelings for Chuck. And Casey (Adam Baldwin) is still a monosyllabic comedy gold mine.

Sunday’s (Jan. 9) two-hour premiere does a fine job of resetting the scene — it’s a few months after Chuck absorbs the new Intersect — and jumping into Chuck’s training to become a full-fledged spy. Monday’s episode brings Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) and Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) more fully into the show, and the Buy More crew has some excellent side stories involving a conflict between Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Lester (Vik Sahay).

Without getting too heavily into spoiler territory, here are four things to watch for in Sunday’s premiere:

Someone dies. I don’t want to tip off who it is, but when I watched it happen, it was oddly satisfying. I’m not sure if that’s the reaction the show was going for, but that’s what happened.

There is nary a $5 footlong in sight. Or if there is, I didn’t notice. Come to think of it, that holds true for all five episodes NBC sent out. For all the talk of how much Subway’s involvement helped bring the show back, the product placement in the first part of the season isn’t at all aggressive.

You could play a “Flash!” drinking game. Chuck’s newly upgraded software has a few bugs in it, which results in him — and occasionally others — frequently shouting “Flash!” If you do opt for a “Chuck”-based drinking game that involves the “Flash!” cries, don’t go for the hard stuff. You’ll have a nasty hangover on Monday.

Zachary Levi is up to the challenge. Levi has joked about not wanting to look like a “wet noodle” when he does stunts, but he really needn’t have worried. Whatever training he got worked well, and he’s plenty able to hold his own alongside Strahovski and Baldwin when scenes get physical.

Not that I have to remind you at this point, but “Chuck” premieres at 9 p.m. ET Sunday.

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Photo credit: NBC

Posted by:Rick Porter