On March 1, we challenged you to vote for the best show on TV today with the help of television critic Alan Sepinwall, Senior Editor for the entertainment site HitFix. While Alan got a five percent voice in which shows would advance in each tournament-style round — and his say only swayed the results in one challenge, when “Vampire Diaries” took a bite out of “True Blood” in round one — it was ultimately up to you, the fans, to make the call in Hulu’s Best in Show. After 5 million votes and some heated competition — rabid “Supernatural” fans rallied around their beloved CW series, only to see it eliminated in week two; “Dexter” surprised many of us by slashing through “Glee” with ease that week, as well — there was room for just one winner: “Chuck.”
While the series — a favorite of Sepinwall’s — may not be at the top of critics’ lists, one thing’s for sure: “Chuck” fans are a passionate lot. They snacked on Subway sandwiches as a sign of loyalty in 2009, helping convince NBC to renew the show; this year, it seems, they came together on Hulu to show their support for the nerd-turned-super spy’s fourth season.
To wrap up Hulu’s second annual Best in Show tournament, we went back to Alan Sepinwall for his take on the “Chuck” phenomenon this year.
Hulu: In 2009, “Chuck” fans rallied to save the show by buying Subway sandwiches. Do you think that its popularity in Best in Show is a similar attempt to get the show back for a fifth season?
Alan Sepinwall: That was definitely the attitude in that “Chuck”/”Community” match-up [in Week 4]. “Community” had just been renewed, while “Chuck” is still very much on the bubble. And while I don’t believe this contest is actually going to influence NBC’s decision one way or another, fans of a show like to feel like they can do something to try to help.
So what’s “Chuck’s” secret formula? What do you think resonates with fans — particularly those who are online?
“Chuck” is, like its hero, unapologetically fun and warm and eager to please. It’s not trying to be cool because it can’t be, and I think that’s a lot of what the fans love about it. The show’s made with a lot of love, for both its characters and for the pop culture that its writers and fans grew up on, and that comes across. Its appeal isn’t wide enough — or else it wouldn’t be on the bubble every year — but the people who love the show really love it.
Earlier in the tournament, there was a controversial round where “Chuck” edged by “Supernatural” — much to the dismay of SN fans. It’s all speculation at this point, but how do you think the competition would have turned out had “Supernatural” won?
I could have easily seen “Supernatural” winning out. That show’s fans are also crazy-passionate, and they beat out “Chuck” and a bunch of other cult-ish shows to win that TV Guide magazine cover contest a few months back.
The final round came down to “Dexter” and “Chuck.” What would have been your dream playoff?
My four favorite shows in the bracket were, in no particular order, “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Mad Men,” and “Breaking Bad.” None of them ever wound up being matched against each other — for which I’m a little glad — but I think a final round between one of the hilarious NBC comedies and one of the gripping AMC dramas would’ve been pretty spectacular. Of course, I’m not sure how I would have voted in such a circumstance. Ron Swanson or Don Draper? Troy Barnes or Walter White?
And finally, who’s your money on for next year?
Well, if “Chuck” gets renewed, you can never count that show out. Otherwise, I’d install “Community” as an early favorite, based on how it’s done in the contest the last two years.