Chuck Lorre has been one of the more successful television producers in recent years, co-creating "Two and a Half Men" and "Dharma and Greg" (Lorre also wrote for "Cybill", "Grace Under Fire" and "Roseanne"), two shows that are examples of both excellent writing and stellar casting. "Big Bang Theory" is Lorre's latest, and it's difficult to compare to the creator's previous pair - while the series is mildly above-average as sitcoms go these days, the series just doesn't quite connect in the way that "Dharma and Greg" or "Two and a Half" did.
The series focuses on Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons), two roommates who have the common thread of being physicists. However, while they are both quite intelligent, they haven't figured out how to use their smarts to generate the kind of social life that they want. Instead of spending time with women, the two wind up hanging out with their pals, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar).
However, Leonard and Sheldon get a pleasant surprise when Penny (Kaley Cuoco, of "8 Simple Rules") moves in across the hall. While she's not as brainy, the gorgeous girl is kind to her geeky neighbors and she ends up learning from them as they end up learning from her. She also brings a bit of common sense at times, such as in "Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization", where the guys explain to her how they just turned down their stereo by routing a signal through the internet around the world and back. She explains to them that they sell universal remotes at radio shack for cheap.
The series has some very funny moments throughout the episodes, and the show's minor issues aren't with the writing - they're with the cast. Galecki, while a good actor, doesn't have great comedic timing. Cuoco has her moments, but it takes some time in the first season before the character really gets developed.
The funniest performance in the series is Parsons, who not only has the best delivery and comedic timing, but his incredibly arrogant character also gets some of the best lines. However, he's a supporting player and the leads - Cuoco and Galecki - still seem less than entirely confident in their comedy in season one. There's definitely some big laughs at times in this first season of "Big Bang Theory", but hopefully the characters will develop a bit further and the cast will get more comfortable in their role in season two.
1. 1- 1 24 Sep 07 Pilot
2. 1- 2 3T6601 1 Oct 07 The Big Bran Hypothesis
3. 1- 3 3T6602 8 Oct 07 The Fuzzy Boots Corollary
4. 1- 4 15 Oct 07 The Luminous Fish Effect
5. 1- 5 3T6604 22 Oct 07 The Hamburger Postulate
6. 1- 6 29 Oct 07 The Middle Earth Paradigm
7. 1- 7 3T6606 5 Nov 07 The Dumpling Paradox
8. 1- 8 12 Nov 07 The Grasshopper Experiment
9. 1- 9 3T6608 17 Mar 08 The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization
10. 1-10 3T6609 24 Mar 08 The Loobenfeld Decay
11. 1-11 3T6610 31 Mar 08 The Pancake Batter Anomaly
12. 1-12 3T6611 14 Apr 08 The Jerusalem Duality
13. 1-13 3T6612 21 Apr 08 The Bat Jar Conjecture
14. 1-14 3T6613 28 Apr 08 The Nerdvana Annihilation
15. 1-15 3T6614 5 May 08 The Pork Chop Indeterminacy
16. 1-16 3T6615 12 May 08 The Peanut Reaction
17. 1-17 3T6616 19 May 08 The Tangerine Factor
VIDEO: "Big Bang Theory" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The series was certainly given terrific treatment on this first season DVD set, as the episodes looked better than I remember them appearing when they were first broadcast. Sharpness and detail are superb, and the image remained clear and well-defined throughout. While a few minor instances of shimmering were noticed, the picture otherwise was free of flaws. Colors had a very nice pop at all times, looking well-saturated and spot-on accurate.
SOUND: The show is presented with a crisp, clear stereo soundtrack. Dialogue, music and effects all seemed recorded well.
EXTRAS: "Quantum Mechanics of the Big Bang Theory" is a 17-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, with interviews from the cast and crew.
Final Thoughts: "The Big Bang Theory" does certainly get some laughs at times thanks to the solid writing, but I think the first season performances feel as if the cast are just getting warmed up in their roles. The series certainly has promise and gets better as the season goes on - hopefully season two can continue to improve. The DVD set offers only one supplement, but audio/video quality is very good.