TITLE: THE BIG BANG THEORY - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 17
Running Time: approx. 355 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: approx. 17 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English language; English, French, Espanola, Portuguese subtitles
Special Features: “Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory”
University physicists Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) understand everything from the inescapable gravitational pull of a black hole to intricate structure of the atom, but take those atoms and assemble them into a woman, and their incomprehension comes to a grinding halt. And when the sexy Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who has all these atoms in the right places, moves in across he hall in their apartment complex, Leonard and Sheldon’s universe begins to expand in ways they never could have imagined, especially for Leonard. You’ll find all that and more in this hilarious CBS comedy called The Big Bang Theory airing Monday nights on CBS and now you can own the hilarious first season on DVD from Warner Home Video!
The Big Bang Theory is executive produced by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, Roseanne) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg, Gilmore Girls) and stars two TV kids who are all grown up -- Johnny Galecki, who played Darlene’s boyfriend on "Roseanne," and Kaley Cuoco, who played John Ritter’s daughter on "8 Simple Rules... For Dating My Teenage Daughter.” Jim Parsons (Judging Amy) plays Sheldon. Also on for the geeky ride are Leonard and Sheldon’s two friends Howard Wolowitz (played by Simon Helberg) and Rajnesh Koothrappali (played by Kunal Nayyar).
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
I have watched every episode of this series and couldn’t wait for the DVD to own them all! This was clearly one of the better new sitcoms of this past season. I think this series and ABC’s “Samantha Who?” were the clear stand-outs and what do you know, they are both returning for a second season! I really liked every episode, but there are some that just stands out more than others. Towards the middle of the season they shifted the focus to Sheldon related episodes and that sort of downgraded the series a tad. Sheldon is probably the best and funniest character with his lines, but they overused him I thought later in the season. They needed to use more of Penny, but having the four geeks all at once makes up for that. The season was cut short to only 17 episodes due to the writers’ strike. Anyway, it all starts off in the “Pilot” where a pair of brilliant theoretical physicists meets a woman who shows them how little they know about the real world. In “The Luminous Fish Effect,” Sheldon's Christian-fundamentalist mother (Laurie Metcalf) visits to get him out of the funk he's in after he is fired for being disrespectful toward his new boss. Then the Roseanne reunion continues in “The Hamburger Postulate” when Sara Gilbert guest stars, as Leonard and his colleague Leslie spend the night together, but Leslie tells Leonard after the fact that she's only interested in a one-night stand. Howard really shines in the episode “The Dumpling Paradox,” when Howard hooks up with Penny's old friend, it ruins the nights on which all of the guys play the game "Halo." Then Rajnesh shines in the very next episode “The Grasshopper Experiment,” when Rajnesh's parents, communicating from India via webcam, arrange for him to go out with another Indian woman in the hopes of marriage, but his date turns out to have more in common with Sheldon. In “The Pancake Batter Anomaly,” Sheldon is sick, and Leonard and the guys sneak out to a "Planet of the Apes" movie marathon to get out of taking care of him--which leaves Penny as the only person to whom the needy Sheldon can turn. In “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy,” Sheldon's sexy twin sister arrives in town from Texas and all of Sheldon's friends fight over who will get to be with her. And finally in the season finale, “The Tangerine Factor,” after Penny breaks up with her new guy, she agrees to go out on a date with Leonard. However, both of them have reservations about the date soon after agreeing to it.
In addition to the aforementioned Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf, other notable guest stars include veterans James Hong, Carol Ann Susi, Mark Harelik, and Brian George.
The packaging has a thin outer box that holds a case. I don’t understand the point of the thing outer box really, because it has the same cover and back of the case. The cover art is primarily in white with little formulas and such as in the background. The show logo is in the middle of the cover art, with The Complete First Season line in white lettering and a red background all the way on the top. Below the show logo we have a picture of the three main stars of the show Sheldon, Penny and Leonard. The back of both the outer box and case has four screenshots with a nice photo of Leonard and Sheldon without their pants (ok maybe it is not so nice), but they do have their tops on. Directly above that photo is a nice quite from Matt Roush of TV Guide. In the middle right of the back cover, we have two paragraphs about the show and set with a red box listing the special features below that.
When we open the case, we see an episode listing booklet on the left panel. The insert has the same cover art as the thin outer box and case. The episodes are listed by disc, and has the episode number, title, writers, story by, director, original airdate and of course a short synopsis of the episode. The booklet insert is filled with lots of photos, too, such as Leonard and Sheldon with their time machine and the geeks as Flash for Halloween. Then there is a little 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 its own on the right panel of the case. Underneath both the left (where the episode booklet is) and right (where disc three is) panel, you see a nice cast photo.
Disc artwork is in the same vein as the packaging, white background with formulas. Disc one has a photo of Sheldon and holds episodes 1-6. Disc two has a photo of Penny and episodes 7-12, and disc three has a photo of Leonard and holds episodes 13-17 and the special feature.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen is similar in vein to the packaging and such. It has a white background, with formulas, with the logo of the show and the same photo of Sheldon, Penny and Leonard from the cover art. The catchy theme song from The Barenaked Ladies is playing in the background. Oh yes, before we detail the main meny, disc one before the main menu has a video saying not to pirate DVDs. I have never seen that before, it is interesting and please don’t copy these DVDs and sell them. Anyway, on to the Main Menu, the options are Play, Episodes, Languages, and Extras. Extras option is only on disc three, more on that later in this review. Languages option gives us the options to have subtitles in English, French, Espanol, or Portuguese. The audio is only available in English. The episodes option is very simple; it lists the episode number and title. So, a simple but efficient menu, it just needed a bit of a change on each disc.
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. No complaints from me! Each episode on this set has 4 chapter stops each, so you can jump to scenes faster. The episodes are obviously unedited, but these days the sitcoms are so short. The time vary per episode with the range being 20-22 minutes in general, some a bit lower and some a bit higher. I don’t think the series used much music 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. Pilot (22:53)
2. The Big Bran Hypothesis (21:05)
3. The Fuzzy Boots Corollary (22:01)
4. The Luminous Fish Effect (20:39)
5. The Hamburger Postulate (20:10)
6. The Middle-Earth Paradigm (21:00)
7. The Dumpling Paradox (21:11)
8. The Grasshopper Experiment (20:11)
9. The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization (19:29)
10. The Loobenfeld Decay (20:39)
11. The Pancake Batter Anomaly (22:01)
12. The Jerusalem Duality (20:06)
13. The Bat Jar Conjecture (21:39)
14. The Nerdvana Annihilation (20:05)
15. The Porkchop Indeterminacy (21:50)
16. The Peanut Reaction (19:47)
17. The Tangerine Factor (20:06)
We get one special feature on this first season DVD. Usually shows still in production get much more than that, so it is somewhat disappointing, but better than nothing! “Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory” is the extra we get on this set. It is an interview featurette running 17:11. I believe this was the press packet interviews used before the pilot (or after the pilot was shot). So it wasn’t made for the DVD specifically. They do however add nice clips from the first season in between interviews and such. Interviewed are Chuck Lorre (creator), Bill Prady (executive producer), Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Kunal Nayyar (Rajnesh), Simon Helberg (Wolowitz), and Kaley Cuoco (Penny). Lorre and Prady talk about a lot of things, such as about the general premise of the show, how it was developed, and other interesting aspects that I won’t giveaway. Each of the actors talks about their characters. It is an interesting and informative special feature. I just wish we had more. Bloopers and audio commentaries are something that for sure would have worked for this series. Hopefully Warner Bros. does something like that next year when season two comes out on DVD.
This is truly a funny show and it is a traditional comedy, something we are running short of these days. The DVD is for the most part a good set but hopefully by the second season it gets better and improves so it becomes an excellent set that makes people talking. Warner Bros. did a great job with the audio and video, as they should. The packaging was also good, but the thin outer box is wasteful. The menu screen is easy to use but the artwork needs to be changed around a bit for each disc. Extras need the most work as I mentioned and hopefully Warner Bros. delivers next time.
The show itself got off to a good start in quality then went down a tad but then it went right back up quality wise with a great and funny final batch of episodes. Season two begins Sept. 22 on CBS, but if you have not watched this show or need to catch up, this DVD is the perfect way to do it, as it comes out Sept. 2--three weeks before the start of the season. So get your time machine ready, ok fine get out your Halo game for some fun adventures of two brilliant guys with their two brilliant friends and their sexy neighbor! Will Penny fall for one of them, maybe Leonard? Find out on the first season DVD! It all started with the big BANG!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by pavanbadal
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