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THE BIG BANG THEORY:
THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON

"It might also interest you to know that Wil Wheaton currently ranks sixth on my all-time enemies list, right between director Joel Schumacher, who nearly destroyed the Batman movie franchise, and Billy Sparks, who lived down the street from me and put dog poop on the handles of my bicycle"-- Sheldon Cooper

After three seasons, THE BIG BANG THEORY has grown in popularity to become one of the most highly rated sitcoms airing on network television. THE BIG BANG THEORY is also a personal favorite, and currently the only live action sitcom to be recorded on my DVR. What I like about THE BIG BANG THEORY is the innocent charm of the series and the utterly delightful ensemble cast that brings this character-based comedy to vivid life. The writing is sharp and finds humor in the geekieness of its main character who make being "too smart" really funny. While laughing at the antics of THE BIG BANG THEORY, I tend to comment to myself that the main characters are the dumbest smart people I have ever seen.

Set in Pasadena, California, THE BIG BANG THEORY tells the story of a pair of geeky genius roommates, who continue to have difficulty interacting with those of normal intelligence. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) are Caltech physicists by day, and über-nerds by night- who spend most of their time in the virtual world of shoot ‘em up and role playing games or with fellow Caltech über-nerds Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). The random element in the group is a pretty young woman named Penny (Kaley Cuoco) who lives in the apartment next door to Leonard and Sheldon. Despite her attractiveness and average intelligence, Penny is a down to earth person, who has befriended the geeky smart guys living next door… even if she doesn’t always understand what they are talking about. During season one, Leonard’s obvious infatuation with Penny leads to a first date. Season two starts with Penny doubting if she can sustain a long term relationship with Leonard, due to the difference in their intelligence, so an official second date doesn’t materialize. Season three of THE BIG BANG THEORY finds Penny unable to deny her attraction Leonard any longer, which results in a hot and heavy relationship- that appears destined to follow the turbulent course of all sitcom relationships.

Of course, the romantic angle between Leonard and Penny is only a small part of the character-based comedy, with the social ineptitude of the small circle of friends continuing to generate big laughs every week. The cast of THE BIG BANG THEORY remains nothing short of perfect. Galecki is a great straight man and underdog; the kind of guy who you hope gets the girl. Parsons gets even better with every episode as floats innocently through his character’s deluded bubble of self-importance- his performance earned Parsons the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Cuoco is the right combination of pretty, sweet and approachability. Helberg nails the goofy "mama’s boy" wannabe ladies’ man nerd, and his verbal exchanges with his never seen (but always heard) mother are utterly hilarious. Nayyar is a scene-stealer, getting big laughs either during his moments of female proximity panic induced silence, or when he is coming on to women in an intoxicated state.

THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON ($55) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following twenty-three episodes that were aired during year three: The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation, The Jiminy Conjecture, The Gothowitz Deviation, The Pirate Solution, The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary, The Cornhusker Vortex, The Guitarist Amplification, The Adhesive Duck Deficiency, The Vengeance Formulation, The Gorilla Experiment, The Maternal Congruence, The Psychic Vortex, The Bozeman Reaction, The Einstein Approximation, The Large Hadron Collision, The Excelsior Acquisition, The Precious Fragmentation, The Pants Alternative, The Wheaton Recurrence, The Spaghetti Catalyst, The Plimpton Stimulation, The Staircase Implementation and The Lunar Excitation.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-three episodes from THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentations of THE BIG BANG THEORY on Blu-ray completely blow their overly compressed, artifact riddled HD broadcast counterparts out of the H20, not to mention being a quantum leap beyond the SD DVD versions for seasons one and two. Image sharpness and clarity rate as very good to excellent, as do the levels of fine detail and texturing. Despite the somewhat conventional sitcom lighting, the picture displays a terrific sense of dimensionality. Color reproduction is excellent as brightly colored hues pop off the screen, while remaining completely stable. Flesh tones are always attractive. Blacks are pure and whites are completely stable. Contrast and shadow detail are very nice, but don’t make any real demands because of the afore mentioned conventional sitcom lighting. The source materials don’t demonstrate any noticeable flaws. Grain/noise levels are quite modest.

All of the episodes that constitute THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. This is fairly run of the mill sitcom sound, and while lossless soundtracks really would have been nice, there isn’t really too much here to take full advantage. THE BIG BANG THEORY is a talky sitcom, so the sound it prioritized to the front, and more often than not, to the center. There are some channel separations across the front, but there is no wow factor. Ambience and musical fill fall to the rear channels, as does some of the laugh track. Dialogue is clean sounding and always easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the extras. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Take-Out With The Cast (ten minutes) and Set Tour With Simon And Kunal (eight minutes). A Gag Reel closes out the extras.

THE BIG BANG THEORY remains one of the funniest shows currently airing on television and a personal favorite. The Blu-ray looks terrific and sound just fine. Definitely recommended. Let’s hope seasons one and two also hit Blu-ray very soon.

 
THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON 


The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] (2009)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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