?After five years, the nerd/spy comedy Chuck is finally coming to an end tonight, having unofficially earned the title “Geekiest Show on Television.” Not only are their series regulars a who’s who of sci-fi — aside from star Adam Baldwin (Firefly), the show has featured Linda Hamilton (Terminator), Timothy Dalton (Rocketeer), Brandon Routh (Scott Pilgrim), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) — their guest stars frequently drew from the casts of the very TV shows and movies that the main characters grew up watching. These are 10 of the show’s geekiest guest stars (pro wrestlers not included. On purpose).
10) Christopher Lloyd
If you’re going to get Christopher Lloyd to be on your TV show, shouldn’t you have him play a flashier role than that of Chuck’s psychiatrist? Maybe have him researching time travel for Fulcrum, like Doc Brown in Back to the Future? Or threatening John Casey’s offspring while demanding a secret weapon, like Commander Kruge in Star Trek III? Still, getting the Addams Family star to appear in a Season 3 episode was a great coup for Chuck, and for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fans everywhere. (“Chuck vs. the Tooth”)
9) Robert Englund
Who better to play a maker of nightmares than an actor who is most famous for inspiring them? Freddy Krueger himself, actor Robert Englund, came on board for one Season 4 episode as a Volkoff scientist who developed a fear toxin that was incredibly similar to what the Scarecrow uses in the Batman comics. Englund has played a scientist before — see Never Too Young to Die, for starters — but this is definitely better than having him play a cutesy alien, like he did in the original V. (“Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror”)
8) Mark Sheppard
The evil spy network known as the Ring has been a thorn in the side of Team Bartowski since the beginning (via its Fulcrum division), so when it came time to show the leader of The Ring in Season 3, there was only one answer: Mark Sheppard. After playing increasingly smart, evil and/or manipulative characters in such shows as Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13 and Supernatural, he had established himself as the Big Bad of… well, pretty much everything, making him perfect to head up the shadowy organization that made Chuck’s life so interesting. If Mark Sheppard isn’t Nerd Satan, he’s at least Nerd Loki. (“Chuck vs. the American Hero”)
7) Brian Thompson
Andy Richter and Jenny McCarthy may have hogged the spotlight in the second-season episode where Chuck and Sarah infiltrated a Fulcrum-controlled suburban housing development, but it was Thompson, playing an Interesect-developing agent, who took center stage in the eyes of the show’s geek viewers. The man played iconic villains on The X-Files, Buffy and Hercules, and was the main bad guy in Doctor Mordrid, the hastily retitled Doctor Strange movie from 1986. And did we mention he’s appeared in three Star Trek TV series and one movie, playing five different aliens — two of them Klingons? He’s KIND of a badass. (“Chuck vs. the Suburbs”)
6) Robert Picardo
While most would agree that Picardo’s long run as The Doctor on Star Trek Voyager was what elevated him to sci-fi royalty, the man has been appearing in genre fare since the early ’80s, and his appearances in Innerspace, Gremlins 2 and Total Recall would make him a geek icon even without it. (Well, to me, anyway — the man was the voice and face of the Johnnycab, for crying out loud.) So it was a big shout-out to the nerds when Picardo was cast as Dr. Howard Busgang, co-creator of the Intersect program, in Season 2. (“Chuck vs. the Lethal Weapon”)
5) Harry Dean Stanton
When Chuck and Morgan traveled around the world looking for Chuck’s mom in Season 4, they racked up $43,000 in debt and failed to make the payments on their car, thereby running afoul of a gun-toting repo man. Now, the show could have hired anyone to play the repo man, but they hired THE Repo Man — Harry Dean Stanton, who played Bud in the sci-fi classic Repo Man (not to mention roles in the sci-fi classics Alien, Escape from New York and Red Dawn). Bravo, Chuck casting department. (“Chuck vs. the Anniversary”) Sadly, the clip isn’t embeddable, but here’s a clip of Dolph Lundgren saying “I must break you” from the same episode.
4) Bruce Boxleitner
Why is Captain Awesome so awesome? Well, it seems that Ellie’s seemingly perfect doctor boyfriend/fiance/husband is the son of Tron. That’s right, Tron himself, Bruce Boxleitner, played the father of Devon Woodcombe, appearing in two separate episodes alongside Morgan Fairchild as mama Honey Woodcombe. And while Fairchild is pretty great herself (she graced both Roswell and Mork & Mindy, and you’ve gotta love that cameo in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), she never played the commander of a space station like Boxleitner did on Babylon 5. Although I would have watched that show. (“Chuck vs. the Sensei”)
3) Mark Hamill
It took until the fifth season for the show to get anyone of note from the Star Wars universe, but who they got was a doozy. Jedi savior and living embodiment of the Joker Mark Hamill came on to cameo as a thief for the opening sequence, and even though he didn’t appear in the rest of the episode, it was still a fitting way to kick off the show’s final go-round. (“Chuck vs. the Zoom”)
2) James Hong
At one point, James Hong appeared in pretty much every TV show known to man, including Wonder Woman, Lois & Clark, The A-Team, Airwolf and Manimal, but a geek doesn’t think of Hong without thinking of two movies: Blade Runner and Big Trouble in Little China. …Okay, and maybe Wayne’s World 2. But when Hong played a wheelchair-bound Chinese gangster in a first-season episode of Chuck, his character was named Lo Pan — just like his wheelchair-bound Chinese gangster character in Big Trouble. Too bad nobody in the Chuck cast has green eyes… (“Chuck vs. the Sizzling Shrimp”)
1) Carl Lumbly
I could have gone the easy route, and had the number-one spot go to comic book legend Stan Lee or professional nostalgia repository Lou Ferrigno (both have appeared in cameos on the show). But man, those two guys just aren’t geeky enough any more. They’re so omnipresent in geek culture that it’s practically expected to have them on the show. But Lumbly… Lumbly was on fricking M.A.N.T.I.S. From 1994 and 1995, he went on TV every week and played a paralyzed superhero who drove a hovercraft and wore an exo-suit to fight crime. The Sam Raimi-produced show only lasted a season, but compared to The Cape it was Shakespeare, and pretty damn epic Shakespeare at that. Then Lumbly went on to appear on almost 100 episodes of Alias (as field agent Marcus Dixon), over 60 episodes of Justice League (as the Martian Manhunter) and one episode of Chuck, as the man who trained John Casey, possibly the most dangerous man alive. Just based on his acting resum?, we believe it. (“Chuck vs. the Sensei”)
…Aw, hell, here’s Stan Lee’s scene from the latest season. Honorable Mention! Excelsior!