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"That lecture was a waste of time. I made more accurate diagrams of the expansion of the early universe on a nursery wall with the contents of my diaper."-- Sheldon Cooper

THE BIG BANG THEORY is my favorite sitcom currently airing on network television, and I am happy to say that I am not alone in that opinion of the show, since it is currently the most highly rated situation comedy on television. While THE BIG BANG THEORY has a science related premise, all I can say is that the show is pure magic. Every episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY is a winner in my book, as the series never fails to have me laughing repeatedly at the familiar situations that the characters manage to have themselves ridiculously entrenched- creating jokes not only from the characters and the situations, but also from some of the sharpest and most intelligent dialogue found on any television series. The success of THE BIG BANG THEORY has even resulted in the series being renewed through its seventh season.

What I love about, THE BIG BANG THEORY is how the series continues to maintain the innocent charm of characters and their situations, without any of it growing tired or stale. Perhaps the fact that the series has expanded its wonderful ensemble cast to include new characters, thus allowing the creative team to stir the pot; placing the series well-established characters in new situations, where their reactions can generate fresh, new humor. Even into its fifth season, the writing for THE BIG BANG THEORY remains very sharp and finds continues to mine the humor in the geekieness of its main characters… a group that makes being "too smart" really funny. While laughing at the antics of THE BIG BANG THEORY, I continue 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, and their genius friends, who don’t always interact well with those of normal intelligence. Our roommates are Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons)… Caltech physicists by day, and über-nerds by night, with the pair spending most of their time in the virtual world of shoot ‘em ups and role playing games, or with their fellow Caltech über-nerds Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh "Raj" Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). In the first season, a random element was introduced into this control group... namely, is a pretty young woman named Penny (Kaley Cuoco) who lives in the apartment next door to Leonard and Sheldon. Despite her attractiveness and decidedly 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 the heck 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. Season four finds Leonard and Penny facing the amicable aftermath of their breakup… with Leonard going on to date Raj’s sister Priya (Aarti Mann), while Penny expresses her regret in breaking up with Leonard on more than one occasion. Season five finds Leonard and Penny beta testing a new romance, which eventually results in a 2.0 version of their relationship.

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- said performance earned Parsons the 2010 & 2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, as well as a 2011 Golden Globe Award. Cuoco is the right combination of pretty, sweet and approachability. Helberg nails the goofy "mama’s boy" wannabe ladies’ man nerd, plus his verbal exchanges with his never seen (but always heard) mother (voiced by Carol Ann Susi) are utterly hilarious. Nayyar is a real 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. Mayim Bialik remains riotous as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, a female version of Sheldon, a person to whom Sheldon repeatedly refers to as a girl who is his friend, but not his "girlfriend." Melissa Rauch is an utter delight as Bernadette Rostenkowski, Howard’s Shiksa fiancée, to whom he ultimately marries- just before Howard blasts off to the International Space Station as a NASA payload specialist.

THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON ($55) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following twenty-four episodes that were aired during year five: The Skank Reflex Analysis, The Infestation Hypothesis, The Pulled Groin Extrapolation, The Wiggly Finger Catalyst, The Russian Rocket Reaction, The Rhinitis Revelation, The Good Guy Fluctuation, The Isolation Permutation, The Ornithophobia Diffusion, The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition, The Speckerman Recurrence, The Shiny Trinket Maneuver, The Recombination Hypothesis, The Beta Test Initiation, The Friendship Contraction, The Vacation Solution, The Rothman Disintegration, The Werewolf Transformation, The Weekend Vortex, The Transporter Malfunction, The Hawking Excitation, The Stag Convergence, The Launch Acceleration and The Countdown Reflection.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-four episodes from THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Once again, the 1080p episodic presentations for THE BIG BANG THEORY best their broadcast counterparts; blowing the overly compressed, artifact riddled HD broadcasts of my local cable system out of the H20. Brightly lit and wonderfully colorful, THE BIG BANG THEORY shot in typical high definition sitcom style. The lighting maximizes what the photography can capture, so the episodes are rendered fairly terrific visual qualities. The image almost always looks wonderfully sharp and nicely defined, with good fine detail and texturing. While the sitcom would seem flat, the photography has a wonderful sense of depth, which maximizes the density of the show's geek friendly intricate production design. THE BIG BANG THEORY is a very colorful show, which displays intense hue that pop visually, but are rendered with complete stability. Blacks are pure and whites are completely stable. Contrast and shadow detail are everything one should expect from a production that employs sitcom lighting. The source materials don’t demonstrate any appreciable flaws. Grain/noise levels are very modest.

All of the episodes that constitute THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. THE BIG BANG THEORY employs very conventional sitcom sound, so like the preceding seasons, much of the sound is locked front and center. THE BIG BANG THEORY is dialogue driven, so there isn’t much information to extend beyond the center channel. As for the outlying channels, other than the sounds of laughter, audience reactions and music, there isn't much going on. Occasional sound effects do spread beyond the center channel, but they are fairly incidental. The animated transition shots that fall between scenes are accompanied by sound effects that do spread into the entire soundstage, but transitions last mere seconds. Thanks to the lossless encode, the series theme song by Barenaked Ladies sounds smoother and more robust, while the series always-intelligible dialogue comes across in a warmer, more natural manner. 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: The Big Bang Theory @ 100 (ten minutes), Professors Of Production (fifteen minutes) and The Big Bang Theory's: Laws Of Reflection (twelve minutes). A Gag Reel closes out the extras. THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON also includes three DVDs containing the entire fifth season. An authorization code is provided for an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the episodes, which are just a stream away.

Even after five seasons, THE BIG BANG THEORY remains a laugh riot. The episodes on Blu-ray look wonderful and sound pretty nice. Definitely recommended!


The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season [Blu-ray]


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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