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THE BIG BANG THEORY:
THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

Okay, one of us has to stop putting up Spock.

Into its second season, THE BIG BANG THEORY proved itself to be one of the most consistently funny and delightful ensemble comedies airing on the broadcast roster. Considering that CBS has renewed THE BIG BANG THEORY through its seventh season, it’s fairly obvious that I am not alone in singing the praises of this wonderful, award winning sitcom. The appeal of THE BIG BANG THEORY certainly lies with its clearly defined characters and the show’s smart (but not too smart for its own good) writing, which got even better in its second season. Additionally, one has to heap praises on the actors who have become even more comfortable in their roles and have improved their crackerjack delivery.

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 theoretical physicists by day, and über-nerds by night- who spend most of their time in the virtual world of shoot ‘em up games or with fellow Caltech über-nerds Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). However, our little group found themselves forever changed, when a pretty young woman named Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moved into the apartment next door to Leonard and Sheldon.

Despite her attractiveness and average intelligence, Penny is a down to earth person, who befriends 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. This isn’t to say that the spark between them is gone; instead, THE BIG BANG THEORY becomes the latest television show to milk the "will they or won’t they" dance of sexual tension between leading characters. 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. 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. Finally, Sara Gilbert’s reoccurring character Leslie Winkle acerbically stirs the pot, and is at her best, when she is bursting Sheldon’s bubble.

THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($45) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following twenty-three episodes that were aired during its sophomore year: The Bad Fish Paradigm, The Codpiece Topology, The Barbarian Sublimation, The Griffin Equivalency, The Euclid Alternative, The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem, The Panty Piñata Polarization, The Lizard-Spock Expansion, The White Asparagus Triangulation, The Vartabedian Conundrum, The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis, The Killer Robot Instability, The Friendship Algorithm, The Financial Permeability, The Maternal Capacitance, The Cushion Saturation, The Terminator Decoupling, The Work Song Nanocluster, The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition, The Hofstadter Isotope, The Vegas Renormalization, The Classified Materials Turbulence and The Monopolar Expedition.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-three episodes from THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p episode presentations are similar to the other seasons on Blu-ray, offering nice visual improvements over their broadcast counterparts, which tend to be over-compressed and artifact ridden... well, at least on my cable system. Image sharpness, clarity and fine detail all rank very highly for a weekly situation comedy, with plenty of fine detail and texturing being readily apparent. THE BIG BANG THEORY features conventional sitcom lighting, so colors look bright and well saturated, plus the flesh tones are always attractive. Blacks appear pure, while the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are very solid due to the conventional sitcom lighting. The source materials don’t demonstrate any appreciable flaws. Grain/noise levels are very, very modest.

All of the episodes that constitute THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Even with the lossless encoding, one has to remember that THE BIG BANG THEORY is a sitcom... plain and simple. Therefore, the episodes feature unimaginative sitcom sound... plain and simple. For the most part, everything is mixed front and center; sure, there are occasional channel separations, but the series is dialogue driven and doesn't lend itself to much sonic activity outside the center channel. Music and the sounds of the audience laughter do manage to spread through the soundstage, as do the sound effects that accompany the animated scene transitions. Thanks to the lossless encode, the series theme song by Barenaked Ladies sounds great, while the cleanly reproduced dialogue is warm and natural sounding. Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo soundtracks are also provided for the episodes. Subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.

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: Physicist To The Stars (ten minutes) and Testing The Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis In Relation To The Big Bang Theory (fifteen minutes). A Gag Reel closes out the extras. The long overdue Blu-ray Disc release of THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON also includes three DVDs containing the entire second season. An authorization code is provided for an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the episodes, which are just a stream away.

THE BIG BANG THEORY remains one of the funniest shows currently airing on television and the complete second season is finally available on Blu-ray! The episodes look and sound great! Highly recommended.

 
THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 


The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] (2012)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2012 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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