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The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season (2016-2017)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/12/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/24/2017

Many, many times in the past while discussing television shows, we've talked about the dreaded "Sophomore Slump". While this term is applied to many things in life, it has a special meaning in TV. It often appears that the makers of a show have a very precise roadmap for their first season...and then have no idea what to do after that. How many times have we seen a show return for Season Two and immediately go off of the rails. Well, what about the flipside of that proposition? What about the shows which have been on for so long that one gets the feelings that the writers have run out of ideas? Can a show in that position maintain its quality? Let's find out, as we look at Season Ten of The Big Bang Theory.

As the Tenth Season of The Big Bang Theory opens, we find the familiar characters facing some new challenges in their lives. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) are settled into life as a married couple, following an awkward second wedding featuring their families. (Which brings in Katey Sagal, Jack McBrayer, and Judd Hirsch for small roles.) Following a leak at her apartment, it's decided that Amy (Mayim Bialik) will move into Penny's apartment and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) will join her, to see if the pair can cohabitate. As Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) advances in her pregnancy, she's unsure if she's ready to be a mother, despite the support Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar). Meanwhile, Leonard, Sheldon, and Howard find that their latest project has garnered the interest of the federal government.

When The Big Bang Theory premiered in 2006, it was a somewhat unique show in that it featured a group of "nerds" -- guys who were very smart, got paid to be smart, and reveled in pop culture. Also, whereas so many sitcoms are about romance, these guys where perpetually alone, and Sheldon had no interest in relationships. However, the show couldn't maintain that sort of focus, and as the years have progressed, the series has become more and more about coupling. Along with the on-again, off-again, and finally married Leonard and Penny, we watched Sheldon & Amy and Howard & Bernadette grow as couples, as the women took more and more of the spotlight.

Season Ten highlights the pros and cons of this approach. The bulk of the laughs in this season come from watching Sheldon and Amy attempting to live together. Of course, Sheldon hates change and isn't fond of other people, so having him share a bed opens up a lot of possibilities for laughs. Leonard continues to be funny, but as a couple, he and Penny are somewhat dull, as, as with many TV couples, they work better when there is friction. The show does something odd with the other characters. Leonard, Penny, Sheldon, and Amy live in the same place and interact a lot. However, Howard and Bernadette now visit Leonard and Sheldon's apartment less, opting to spend more time at home, and Raj is always with them. Many shows have proven that it's never a good idea to split up a familiar group, and, at times, it feels as if we are watching two different shows here.

Sure the changes don't really work and the show doesn't present the same sort of novelty which it did in the beginning, but The Big Bang Theory remains a very entertaining program. When it's funny, it's still one of the funniest shows on TV. And, despite the fact that he's softened somewhat, Sheldon's insults, whether intentional or not, are still hilarious. At this point, The Big Bang Theory has become one of those shows which I wish would dispense with stories and simply have the funny characters just talk.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season could have dialed back the Stuart on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The two-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the show's tenth season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 16 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, most notably reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture shows a nice amount of detail and the depth works well. This transfer rivals HD broadcast quality. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The bulk of the audio comes from the front and center channels, but we do get the audience's laughter in the rear speakers, and the show's familiar bumpers provide a hint of subwoofer action.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season Blu-ray Disc set contains several extra features. Disc 1 kicks off with "Best of The Big Bang Theory 2016 Comic-Con Panel" (39 minutes) features a Q&A with the writers and producers of the show. Melissa Rauch is the only cast member which appears here. "#JustAskBBT" (5 minutes) has the cast answers questions from fans. Disc 2 continues the extras with "The Ever-Expanding Universe of The Big Bang Theory" (11 minutes) looks at the new characters which were introduced in Season 10. "Mad Props" (8 minutes) allows Propmaster Scott London to show the various knick-knacks which appear on the show. "Who's the Baby Now?" (8 minutes) focuses on Bernadette's pregnancy and allows the actors to share their thoughts on it. Finally, we get a 8-minute GAG REEL.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long