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The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season (2009-2010)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/14/2010

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/22/2010

If something is working at the moment, should you tweak it? This question could go for relationships, car engines, or television shows. The old saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", but one must also think about the future. Just because something is sufficient now, does that mean that it will work down the road? In my recent review for the third season of Chuck, I wrote about how positive changes in the storyline had helped that show gain new life. It seems that The Big Bang Theory traveled a similar path as it entered its third season. Did those changes help or hurt the show?

The Big Bang Theory tells the story of four nerdy scientists who are friends. Leonard (Johnny Galecki), the most "normal" of the group, is roommates with Sheldon (Jim Parsons), a fastidious robot-like know-it-all who can't stand to have his routine changed. Howard (Simon Helberg) fancies himself to be a lady's man, and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) can't speak when he's around women. Leonard and Sheldon's neighbor is Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a girl of average-intelligence who moved from Nebraska to pursue a career in acting. For the first two seasons, Leonard pined over Penny, but got nothing in return, even after they went on a date. Then, at the end of Season 2, it was hinted that Penny was beginning to like Leonard, just as he and the guys were leaving for an expedition in Antarctica.

Season 3 opens with the guys returning home, where Penny immediately admits that she has feelings for Leonard, and thus, the two begin dating. But, that's not the only change for the season. Howard also begins seeing someone (Melissa Rauch), and after years of being rejected by women, he doesn't know how to handle being in a real relationship. And while nothing truly changes with Sheldon, we do see more emotion out of him than ever before, whether it be anger, compassion, or fear, he's not quite the automaton that he used to be. (Was this simply a writing decision or can we assume that being around the others has finally created a change in him?) As the season progresses, these changes will create some interesting storylines for the characters.

Just as Season Three of Chuck allowed the nerdy computer-repairman to move into the action, Season Three of The Big Bang Theory lets at least (or more?) of the guys finally stop pining for a girlfriend and finally get one. This may seem like a small move, but it allows the scripts to move in a new direction. Not only do we get to see Leonard and Penny as a couple, but we get to see how the others react to this. Also, just as popular Saturday Night Live characters will become regular attractions, apparently someone behind the scenes at the show got wind of the fact that the audience loves Sheldon, as Season Three features even more of his odd behavior. But, instead of simply featuring more of Sheldon, we actually get to see some different sides of him. The Wil Wheaton episode allows Sheldon to show both irrational anger and what appears to be genuine compassion, two things that seem very odd for him. Season Three also offers a look at how Leonard and Sheldon met and the cliffhanger is excellent.

While Season Three of The Big Bang Theory continues the quality which the show has exhibited in the past, it isn't perfect. We've wanted Leonard and Penny to get together from Day One and once they did, to be honest, it was disappointing. Their "opposites attract" act seemed a bit too far-fetched at times, and their scenes have little chemistry, which is ironic, as they are rumored to be a real-life couple. Also, while Sheldon has always been snarky, his antics come across as mean-spirited at times, and the last thing that you want to do is dislike the main character. The interesting thing about this season is that Raj often emerges as the funniest character. In many situations, he's merely an observer and his comments are quite humorous. Despite these flaws, The Big Bang Theory remains one of the most clever comedies currently on TV.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season is oddly attracted to middle-school teachers on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The two-disc set contains all 23 episodes from the show's third season. The episodes have been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 17 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good and the image is never too dark or bright. The level of detail is good. Essentially, this rivals HD broadcast quality. The Disc carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and a constant 640 kbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are inconsistent, but good when present. The surround sound really kicks in during the transition when the atom floats by.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. "Take-out With the Cast" (10 minutes) has the primary actors sitting around, eating Chinese food, and asking one another questions. It's interesting to see them out-of-character, as the questions all relate to the show, they are also slightly personal. "Set Tour with Simon and Kunal" (8 minutes) is exactly what it sounds like, as Raj and Howard show us the behind-the-scenes of the sets. The final extra is an 8-minute GAG REEL.

Review by Mike Long.  Copyright 2010.