The whole universe was in a hot dense state
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started.
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall
We built the pyramids!
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!
A funny show with one of the catchiest theme songs of all
time (even if part of it doesn't make sense autotrophs don't drool,
heterotrophs do however) returns for its fourth season and... it may have
the shark. While there are some great
episodes in this season, the show seems to have lost its bearing with
episodes being pointless and some of the foibles of minor characters
extremes so that they're just caricatures of real people.
Even with these flaws however the show has
some very funny episodes and there wasn't a single installment that
crack me up at some point.
Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Dr. Sheldon
Cooper (Jim Parsons) are roommates who work as physicists at Cal Tech
(experimental and theoretical respectively).
They are both brilliant (Leonard has an IQ of 173 and Sheldon
child prodigy who graduated from college (undergrad) at the age of 14)
are their friends: Dr. Rajesh
Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) an astrophysicist, and Mr. Howard Wolowitz
Helberg) who only has a masters in engineering from MIT, a fact that
loves to remind him of. The show started
three years ago when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moved in across the hall. She's a friendly would-be actress from
Nebraska with a lot of down-home charm, and incredibly attractive. Leonard's instantly attracted to her, while
the Sheldon, who lacks all sexual urges, is irritated by the amount of
will take to train a new friend. Penny,
on the other hand usually dates hunky guys that she meets at the gym,
her last boyfriend a very muscular ape who she had lived with for four
years. ("That's as long as high school"
in the first episode. To which Sheldon
incredulously exclaims "It took you four years to finish high
At the end of season 3, Raj and Howard registered the
seemingly asexual Sheldon on a dating service.
They filled the forms out accurately describing all of their
foibles and were somewhat astounded when a match was found. They
meeting on Sheldon's behalf and they tricked him into showing up. The laugh was on them when Sheldon met Amy
Farrah Folwer (Mayim Bialik) and she turned out to be a female version
Sheldon, condescending attitude and all.
As the season opens, Sheldon and Amy have known each other for
months and as Sheldon describes it (many, many times over the course of
season) "Amy is a girl, who is a friend, but is not a girlfriend."
If there is a theme this season, it's girlfriends.
Sheldon has Amy, which bugs the single
Leonard to no end, and Howard gets back with his old girlfriend
(Melissa Rauch) and even Raj starts to become obsessed with a woman. That's also the problem. Amy
comes across as a robot. She's a female
version of Sheldon, but
without the loveable quirks that make Sheldon such a great character. She doesn't like SF or comics or any of the
geeky stuff that the rest of the gang enjoys, yet she's insufferable
and has no
concept of social etiquette or norms.
She's really missing a personality and that makes the episodes
she's the focus a bit of a drag, or worse they come across as just
stupid. For example in one episode she
sees one of
Penny's old hunky boyfriends and can't stop staring at his butt. Her palms get clammy, her heart starts
racing, and she involuntarily says "ooooh" when he bends over. Yet she thinks she's coming down with the
flu, not sexually excited. Yeah.
The whole Howard/ Bernadette matchup is a bit
ludicrous. The short, intelligent,
perky, blond, D-cup (at least) Bernadette would do much, much better
geeky lives-with-his mom Howard. Their
whole relationship seems forced and again, brings the show down.
Character traits are taken to extremes this season too.
Sheldon becomes a parody of himself when he
decides to lock himself into his room and interact with people through
computer monitor on a remote controlled base.
It's just stupid and not really funny.
On top of that the episode doesn't have a punch line. It just ends.
In spite of those flaws, there are some good installments
this season. One of the highlights is
when Penny start to date dim-witted Zach again and Howard and the boys
making fun of him because he's so stupid.
The jokes are funny but after remembering all of the times that
were picked on they all go and make up by allowing him to be Superman
all dress up as the Justice League.
Penny, of course, is Wonder Woman, much to her chagrin. It's a funny episode with a great
ending. There are also some great lines that will have geeks like
me on the floor such as my favorite for this season: "All I'm
saying is, if they took all the money they spent trying to make a
decent Hulk movie, they could probably make an actual Hulk." - Leonard.
The entire 24-episode season comes on two Blu-ray discs
which are housed in a single-width case enclosed in a slipcase.
The slipcase (and the menus on the discs) have one of the most
horrificly bad images ever used to sell a TV series. Really guys,
what were you thinking??
The 1.78:1 1080p widescreen image looks great. The
show was recorded (and broadcast) in HD
so it's no surprise that the picture looks good. The
colors are solid and the level of detail
is fine. There's a little bit of digital
noise in a few spots, but nothing really major.
Overall the show looks wonderful in HD.
At last fans of the show get a lossless audio track!
The previous season's Blu-ray release only
had a DD 5.1 audio mix, but this time around we're treated with a DTS
Audio track. This mix works well, with a
full, open front sound stage and sparse but effective use of the rears. The sub gets moving during the opening song,
but that's about the only time it's really used.
There is a lot more bonus material on this set than was
included in the third season release, but still not as much as I was
for. On disc one there are three "Actor
on Actor" interviews that run between 6 and 8 minutes each. The first is with Simon, Melissa, and Kunal,
the second with Jim and Mayim and the third with Kaley and Johnny. In these the actors ask each other questions
about the show but it doesn't feel like a real interview, more like a
promotional piece. There were a few
laughs, but not many. There's also a ten
minute gag reel that has some amusing parts.
Disc two has The Big Bang Theory Live, a 15 minute
look at the taping of an episode, Barenaked Ladies on The Big Bang
Theory where the band visits
set and shoots a video of the theme song, and finally the video itself. Still no commentary tracks...
I laughed a lot through this season, just not nearly as much
as I did during the first three years.
The characters seem to be exaggerated even more than before, and
addition of Sheldon's robot-like female friend just accentuates how
the show really is. Despite those
critiques there are still a lot of laughs and the show is well worth
just lower your expectations a notch. Recommended.