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The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eleventh Season (2017-2018)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/11/2018

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/4/2018

Timing rarely plays a factor in reviews, but if I'd gotten The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eleventh Season to check out just a few weeks ago, things would have been quite different. With the recent announcement that Season 12 of the show will be the last, The Big Bang Theory must now be viewed in a different light. After a decade of the show, it was taken for granted as something which would simply be there. Now that we know that it's going away and that there is only a finite number of episodes left, the series seems a little more precious. With that, let's look at the next to the last season of the show.

Season 11 of The Big Bang Theory opens with an event which has been seasons in the making -- Sheldon (Jim Parsons) proposes to Amy Farrah-Fowler (Mayim Bialik). This means that a wedding will need to be planned! Meanwhile, new parents Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) get some news which completely rocks their world. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) continue to settle into their lives as a married couple, as Leonard becomes accustomed to having Sheldon live across the hall. Meanwhile, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Stewart (Kevin Sussman) do some stuff.

By its eleventh season, The Big Bang Theory was pretty much on auto-pilot, as the by-now very familiar characters went through a series of mild adventures. As noted above, the series introduced two new ideas in an attempt to liven things up. Sheldon and Amy's wedding was the third thus far for the show, so this idea should seem cliched. But as with anything involving this couple, these nuptials are different, they can't agree on the planning and Sheldon has some very unusual requests. And, of course, a wedding means an opportunity to have guest stars as wedding guests, and the last few episodes bring in some familiar faces to attend the ceremony.

The season's other big plotline, the one involving Howard and Bernadette, is also cliched, but it doesn't do anything new or different. In fact, it's so cliched that it's almost insulting. It utilizes a plot point which many other shows have used when they have run out of ideas. The problem is, this is the second time that The Big Bang Theory has pulled this out of their hat. The ironic thing is that when it occurs, the characters are in denial about it...and the audience doesn't want to believe that it's true either.

Outside of these major story areas, the show continues its trend of mixing mild storylines for the other characters. We still have Raj doing his sad-sack act, especially when it comes to looking for love. However, he does have a new job which is working out. This season doesn't do much with Leonard and Penny, save for Leonard announcing in public that physics is dead.

So, this sounds like Season 11 of The Big Bang Theory doesn't have much to offer. While it's true that the show has certainly settled into a comfortable groove and doesn't offer anything Earth-shattering, it is still one of the most consistently funny shows on television. One of the show's hallmark traits may have softened somewhat over the years, but it continues to be one of the only series in which the main character alternates from being the hero or the villain. Yes, Sheldon remains a complex guy who has gained more humanity, but can still be a big baby who is a thorn in everyone's side. Also, no other show utilizes pop-cultural references in the same way that The Big Bang Theory does and the series continues to an actual celebration being intelligent, instead of having a stupid husband as the focus like seemingly every other show on TV. Is the eleventh season a good place for newcomers to start? No, but it long-time fans will love the wedding storyline and the comfort in seeing their old friends in action.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eleventh Season somehow blows a chance for a great Stand by Me reunion on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The two-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the show's Eleventh 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 sharp and clear, showing on notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth and level of detail are about what one would expect and overall the video rivals HD broadcast quality. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.1 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a TV comedy, we don't get a lot of dynamic effects here. The "whoosh" sound effect which marks chapters offers some bass effects and audience often emanate from the rear channels. We occasionally get some off-screen stereo effects.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eleventh Season Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features, spread across the two discs. The lone extra on Disc 1 is "The Big Bang Theory: 2017 Comic-Con Panel" (34 minutes) which features the cast and the creative team discussing the upcoming season and fielding some questions. (Parsons and Helberg are noticeably absent here.) (And what's up with Galecki's hair?) "The Maturation Imperative" (11 minutes) focuses on some of the changes which occurred in Season 11 and how the characters have continued to grow. "A BBT History of Time" (5 minutes) looks back at Stephen Hawking's appearances on the show. The team members talk about the various elements (including guest stars) which went into the humor of the season in "The Big Bang Theory: The Blueprint of Comedy" (6 minutes). The final extra is a 7-minute GAG REEL.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long