TITLE: THE BIG BANG THEORY - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 501 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: approx. 39 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English & Portuguese languages; English, French, Espanola, Portuguese, Chinese & Thai subtitles
Special Features: “Actor on Actor: The Big Bang’s Theory of Relativity” - Jim & Mayim, Kaley & Johnny, and Simon, Melissa & Kunal; “Bare Naked Ladies on The big Bang Theory,” “Bare Naked Series Theme Song Music Video,” and Gag Reel.
Prepare for hours of laughter as your favorite Caltech geniuses try to score as high with the opposite sex as they do on their IQ tests with the release of The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season from Warner Home Video. The Big Bang Theory remains one of television’s hottest comedies during its fourth season. Timed to coincide with the premiere of the show’s fifth season on CBS (Thursdays 8|7c) and its off-network syndication launch on both cable (TBS) and broadcast (Fox Television Stations and more). This season the Big Bang gang’s romantic universe expands. On the rebound from Penny, Leonard falls into the arms of Raj’s sister Priya. Sheldon gets a girlfriend, or rather a friend who is a girl: Amy, a dour neurobiologist who declares herself besties with Penny. Howard and Bernadette heat up. And so do Raj and Bernadette (at least in Raj’s Bollywood daydream) -- all in the furtherance of award-winning genius comedy.
Created by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), who executive produce along with Lee Aronshon (Two and a Half Men), the series stars Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Jim Parsons as Sheldon, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard, Kunal Nayyar as Raj, Melissa Rauch as Bernadette, and Mayim Bialik as Amy Fowler. Aarti Mann is recurring as Priya.
In this season, the gang’s romantic universe expands as Leonard, Howard, Raj and even Sheldon test their skills outside of the lab. On the rebound from Penny, Leonard falls into the arms of Raj’s sister, Priya. Sheldon finally gets a girlfriend – or rather a friend who is a girl – Amy, a dour neurobiologist who adopts Penny as her new best friend. Howard and Bernadette’s chemistry heats up – and so do Raj and Bernadette (at least in Raj’s Bollywood daydream!) The romantic twists and turns, either real or imagined, continue to bring on the laughs in this award-winning series. I cannot believe we are done with four seasons of this show and the series enters season five and syndication this September. This fourth season, to me, is better than the third season, but still not as funny as the first two seasons. There are many standout episodes, though. On the season premiere, “The Robotic Manipulation, Penny ends up tagging along on Sheldon's first-ever date with Amy Farrah Fowler, while Wolowitz finds an unusual use for the new robotic arm he's created. In “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification,” when Sheldon calculates the technology to download his consciousness into a robot won't be invented soon enough, he desperately tries to find a way to increase his lifespan. In “The Irish Pub Formulation,” Leonard tries to keep everyone from finding out that he spent the night with Raj's sister, but Sheldon finds out and concocts an elaborate story to help him keep the secret from Raj. In “The Boyfriend Complexity,” Penny asks Leonard to pose as her boyfriend when her father visits. Howard, Raj, and Bernadette are up all-night looking through a telescope.
In “The Justice League Recombination,” the guys enter a costume contest as members of the Justice League...and convince Penny's new boyfriend to join them. In “The Cohabitation Formulation,” Bernadette makes Howard choose between herself and his mother, and how will Penny react when Leonard begins seeing Raj's sister again when she's back in town? In “The Prestidigitation Approximation,” Priya forces Leonard to choose between a relationship with her, or a friendship with Penny, while a magic trick by Howard has Sheldon fooled. In “The Agreement Dissection,” when Priya finds a loophole in the roommate agreement to throw Sheldon out for the night, Penny, Amy, and Bernadette take Sheldon to a nightclub. On the season finale, “The Roommate Transmogrification,” Raj moves in with Sheldon after hearing Leonard and Priya engage in a Star Trek fantasy in his apartment, while Bernadette receives her doctorate, and the gang teases Howard about not having one.
Notable guest stars for this season include Laurie Metcalf, Kevin Sussman, Steve Wozniak, Katee Sackhoff, George Takei, Eliza Dushku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Keith Carradine, Will Wheaton, Brian George, Brian Thomas Smith, Rick Fox, Joshua Malina, Jessica Walter, John Ross Bowie, Christopher Douglas Reed, Brian Greene, and Carol Ann Susi as the voice of Howard’s mother.
The episodes are obviously unedited, but these days the sitcoms are so short. The times vary per episode with most episodes either in the 20 or 21 minute mark in general, some a bit lower than 20 minutes...which is very short and unusual, like the last set. I think they just ran short, so nothing is edited but it is so short. I don’t think the series used much music, if at all, in the episodes, and there is no disclaimer saying any music has changed. Warner Home Video is usually good in this regard, unlike CBS Paramount.
Here are the runtimes of each episode:
1. The Robotic Manipulation 21:27
2. The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification 20:52
3. The Zazzy Substitution 21:30
4. The Hot Troll Deviation 19:38
5. The Desperation Emanation 20:33
6. The Irish Pub Formulation 21:32
7. The Apology Insufficiency 21:34
8. The 21-Second Excitation 19:16
9. The Boyfriend Complexity 21:05
10. The Alien Parasite Hypothesis 20:11
11. The Justice League Recombination 20:24
12. The Bus Pants Utilization 21:32
13. The Love Car Displacement 21:26
14. The Thespian Catalyst 21:32
15. The Benefactor Factor 20:02
16. The Cohabitation Formulation 20:38
17. The Toast Derivation 21:28
18. The Prestidigitation Approximation 21:01
19. The Zarnecki Incursion 21:30
20. The Herb Garden Germination 20:57
21. The Agreement Dissection 20:47
22. The Wildebeest Implementation 21:12
23. The Engagement Reaction 19:49
24. The Roommate Transmogrification 21:32
The packaging has a thin outer box that holds a case once again. Both the box and case have the same artwork for the cover, but not the back. The cover art is primarily in grey, as it goes a retro/sci-fi theme it seems. The show logo is on the cover art, with The Complete Fourth Season line in white lettering in a blue background all the way on the top. Below the show logo we have a shot of the main cast in the retro clothing, as Penny is lying down in all grey, wow. The back of the outer box has details on the series and set, along with special features, technical details, and credits. We also have a mention of Jim Parsons winning an Emmy in 2010 and nice quote from TV Guide. There are also three nice episodic photos. The back of the case has an episodic photo of Raj with a bird in a bird cage, Sheldon and Leonard.
When we open the case, we see an episode listing booklet on the left panel. The booklet has the same cover art as the thin outer box and case. The episodes are listed by disc, and have the episode number, title, writers, story by, original airdate and of course a short synopsis of the episode. The booklet insert is filled with lots of episodic photos, too, such as the famous shot of the gang in super hero costumes. Penny as Wonder Woman! One page also has a full page shot of Sheldon’s face on a monitor screen as has his robe hanging, so it seems like he is actually there. The back of the booklet has full-body photos of the five main stars from the retro look with their name and character name below them. As for the disc placement, there is a little plastic disc holder in the middle. The holder is like a book, meaning you can flip it back and forth. The front side holds disc one and the back side holds disc two. Disc three is on the right panel itself. For 24 episodes, three discs is a little less, I think.
Disc artwork has a white background with character artwork in that retro theme again. Disc one has a photo of Sheldon and holds episodes 1-8. Disc two has a photo of Leonard & Penny and episodes 9-16 while disc three has a photo of Raj & Howard and holds episodes 17-24. The panels have a lot of episodic images. It’s nicely done.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen is similar in vein to the packaging and such. It has a similar style photo as the cover art, so it is retro again. The catchy theme song from The Barenaked Ladies is playing in the background again. Anyway, on to the Main Menu, the options are Play, Episodes, Languages, and Features. Features option lists the special features for the disc. Languages option gives us the options to have subtitles in English, French, Espanol, Portuguese, Chinese or Thai, just like last time. The audio is available in English and once again Portuguese. The episodes option is very simple; it lists the episode number and title once again. This is a simple but efficient menu.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio are excellent. The series aired in HD on CBS this past season, so why wouldn’t it be excellent? The DVD has the video in widescreen and a nice stereo sounding sound. Anything less would be a total disappointment for a current show on DVD. No complaints from me! I have a DVD player that upconverts to HD, so the quality is great. Each episode on this set has 5 chapter stops each, so you can jump to scenes faster. All of this is consistent from past releases. We didn’t get the Blu-ray set, so I can imagine that even looking better. If you have a HD TV, then you should be fine with the DVD, though.
The features are spread out on all three discs this time! The first special feature is on disc one and is titled “The Big Bang's Theory of Relativity: Actor on Actor - Jim & Mayim” (8:23). This fun and light-hearted piece features Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik conducting interviews with each other detailing their experiences working on the series. They both seem very smart and get a long great. Similarly, on disc two we have “The Big Bang's Theory of Relativity: Actor on Actor - Kaley & Johnny” (6:27). As with Jim & Mayim, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki interview each other. I thought it might be a little awkward since they reportedly dated at one point. They seem to be fine though, though Kaley kept saying “fun” for some reason. Also on disc two we have “The Barenaked Ladies on Big Bang Theory” (3:21). The Barenaked Ladies bring it home when they come to the set of the Big Bang Theory to record a music video for the theme song. Featuring an interview with the band, behind the scenes footage of the filming of an episode, and clips from the new video itself, this piece carries with it all of the fun and energy you could expect from both the band and the show. Next up on disc two we have “The History of Everything Music Video” (2:01), as we get to see this full length music video the Barenaked Ladies recorded. Bang!
On to disc three, we have the “The Big Bang's Theory of Relativity: Actor on Actor - Simon, Melissa, & Kunal” (8:14). This is a fun feature as Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch and Kunal Nayyar are interviewing each other. This is a good one, too! And finally we have a Gag Reel (10:21). This of course is bloopers and outtakes from this season. The reel is a few minutes longer than last season’s, so that is a plus!
It All Started With The Big Bang! Warner Bros. has done a good job with this set again. The special features quantity was similar to last season but it was nice they spread out the extras on to all three discs this time. I think we need more extras for a high rated show like this, as deleted scenes would be nice. The ratings were strong again on its new night and time, but down some from its Monday at 9:30pm timeslot. I think the episodes are better than season three, but I’m not that big of a fan of Amy Fowler. She’s a great character, but we have Sheldon already. The set is on par really with the past DVDs, but loved the longer bloopers. All sitcom sets should have these for sure. Jim Parsons (Sheldon) won an Emmy last season for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, so congrats to him as he deserved it and he will probably get it again this year. Stay tuned on Sept. 18. Season five begins Thursday, Sept. 22 on CBS, Thursdays at 8:00pm ET/PT, but if you need to catch up, this DVD is the perfect way to do it, as it comes out Sept. 13--nearly ten days before the start of the new Big Bang season. It is a solid season and worth buying on DVD or Blu-ray, especially if you have those first three sets. Kaley is gorgeous once again, especially when she wars dresses or is in that Wonder Woman costume! As Penny would say, “holy crap on a cracker!” Buy the set for that alone! Bazinga!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Pavan on 09/13/11
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