Blu-ray
Worth a Look
3.5 stars
Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3 Stars
Supplements
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Worth a Look

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season

Street Date:
September 14th, 2010
Reviewed by:
High-Def Digest staff
Review Date: 1
October 10th, 2010
Movie Release Year:
2009
Studio:
Warner Brothers
Length:
529 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

It's truly amazing that 'The Big Bang Theory' is as wildly popular as it is. It's a show about four nerdy scientists who work at a university together and two of them live together across the hall from a really hot girl. When you look at it that way, it would seem like a boring show that only a minority of people would enjoy and watch week in and week out. Look past that and watch an episode or two and you'll find the show is much more than four nerds and a hot girl; it's social awkwardness at its best, with some of the finest humor you'll find on television.

'The Big Bang Theory' focuses on five main characters: Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), and Penny (Kaley Cuoco). The guys are all geniuses working at a university, while Penny is a "normal" person working as a waitress and trying to make it as an actress. All the guys have different styles that blend together perfectly. Sheldon is the crazy genius who takes everything literally and has no sense of sarcasm. Leonard is the smart and collected guy who has it the most together, but is still a total nerd at times. Howard is the one who thinks he's a ladies man, but in reality is the creepy guy, or as Penny puts it, "the creepy candy coating." Raj is the Indian transplant who can't talk to women. And Penny is the one who keeps Sheldon in check more than anyone.

When taking about 'The Big Bang Theory,' it's impossible not to mention Sheldon. He's the glue that holds this show together. He makes all the episodes work and provides the majority of the humor. Sheldon's humor is so great because he's the smartest person on the show. It seems he knows everything about everything yet he has no clue how to interact with other people. This, combined with Penny's in your face "street smarts," is a perfect blend of contrasting character style. The episodes where it's just Sheldon and Penny together are some of the best of the series. Season three featured an excellent episode where Sheldon has to take care of her, and for my money, it featured some of the best humor of the entire season.

The third season takes a different turn from the other two. At the end of season two it was clear that Penny had feelings for Leonard. Season three decides to make Leonard and Penny a couple. Of course, Sheldon doesn't like this and tries to change Penny to be more acceptable to him. One episode actually has Sheldon trying to train Penny, like a dog! Howard also gets in on the dating action and goes out with a girl named Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) for a few episodes. Aside from the character development, this show still has everything that fans love about 'The Big Bang Theory.' Sheldon develops a mortal enemy in Wil Wheaton, the guys get ahold of "the one ring to rule them all" at a yard sale, both Sheldon and Leonard's mothers make an appearance, there are countless references and extremely clever humor relating to science fiction (the best being Sheldon making Cylon toast), a flash-back episode where Leonard meets Sheldon, and finally, the season ends with a surprise that I'm looking forward to seeing play out in season four.

'The Big Bang Theory' is a great show for a fan of casual television. As with most sitcoms, you can easily miss a few weeks and come back and not be lost, each episode works well on its own and doesn't follow a general plot throughout the season. This is why I feel the show has become so successful, people can tell their friends to check it out and when they watch for the first time they won't be totally lost and confused. I imagine it's very hard to stay fresh for 23 episodes but the actors and producers of this show pull it off and create a memorable season with extremely high replay value that I feel is the best to date.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'The Big Bang Theory: Season Three' is the first season of the series to make an appearance on Blu-ray. Having owned the previous two seasons on DVD I had pretty high expectations for this release, especially since I've always been impressed with the solid DVD presentation as well as the HD broadcast presentations. Season 3 arrives with a fairly strong 1080p/ VC-1 transfer. The show is presented in the same 1.78:1 aspect ratio viewed during the HD Broadcast.

Overall, I was very pleased with this transfer. Colors were bright throughout, black levels remained for the most part consistent, and there was hardly a hint of grain. Skin Tones also appeared very natural throughout. My main problems with this transfer may be a result of Warner Brothers choice to spread the entire season across two 50 GB discs. This season consisted of 23 episodes (disc one featured 12 episodes, disc two featured 11 episodes). Sure, each episode is only about 20 minutes, but packing that many episodes onto two discs is pushing it a bit. As a result there are a few digital artifacts such as minor banding and at times I noticed slight edge enhancement occurring mostly in the outdoor scenes. Finally, I noticed that in some of the darker scenes detail fell off a little bit, but for the most part things remained consistently strong.

Overall, this was a very satisfying transfer, and fans of the show should be satisfied. It is a step above the already solid HD broadcast and a solid upgrade over the DVD quality of the previous two seasons. Now Warner Brothers needs to step up and give us the first two seasons on Blu-ray!

The Audio: Rating the Sound

It should come as no surprise to people familiar with Warner Brothers television series Blu-ray releases that 'The Big Bang Theory: Season Three' is lacking a lossless audio mix. For me, this isn't a big deal for a sitcom. This show's bread and butter is solid dialogue, and that can easily be delivered without the inclusion of a lossless soundtrack.

The best way to describe this soundtrack would be front-heavy. Basically this mix lives in the front speakers of you surround setup, the rear speakers are mostly used for the laughing or applause of the crowd. There are a few LFE effects but overall they're underwhelming and dull. Thankfully, dialogue is very clear. Sound effects are perfectly balanced with the spoken dialogue never overpowering the conversations taking place. This is an adequate mix that won't blow you away, but it also won't anger you. My problem with the lack of lossless audio is that I feel a more immersive experience could have been created with a mix that can display subtle sound effects. Maybe hear some LFE effects in the park scenes or some subtle cafeteria sounds while the guys are having lunch at the university. If you're familiar with the first two seasons of the show on DVD you know exactly what to expect audiowise with this release.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Here is where this release loses all of its steam. All we get are two short features and a compilation of gag shots. Here is what comes included with the Blu-ray release:

  • "Takeout with the Cast" (HD, 10 minuets) – This was a short but fun feature. It includes the main actors sitting around the table in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. They crack open fortune cookies and answer the questions inside, each question relates to topics from the course of the third season. I really enjoyed watching these actors out of character, interesting to see how they're totally different people out of character.
       
  • "Set Tour with Simon and Kunal" (HD, 8 minuets) – This is a tour of a few of the main set locations for the show, including: the living room of Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, Sheldon's bedroom, Leonard's bedroom, Penny's apartment, the university cafeteria, and a few others.
         
  • "Gag Reel" (SD, 8 minuets) – This is a standard collection of gag shots from the production of season three. Definitely worth watching if you're big fan of the show, really gives you an idea of how hard it is to pull off some of the ridiculous dialogue throughout the season.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD Exclusives.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed the presentation of 'The Big Bang Theory: Season 3' on Blu-ray. The visual presentation was a definite step up from the DVD and broadcast releases of the show, but the absence of a lossless audio track was a letdown. Most importantly, the show is excellent. 'The Big Bang Theory' rarely has a bad week, and always seems to find a way to stay fresh. This is a good start for Warner Brothers and HD Big Bang Theory, now we just need them to release the first two seasons on BD. I for one don't like owning a few seasons on DVD and a few on Blu-ray. If you're a fan of the show, this release is definitely worth checking out. For everyone else, the first two seasons on DVD may be a better starting point.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • 2 BD-50 Blu-ray Discs

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/VC-1

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Supplements

  • Big Bang Set Tour with Simon and Kunal
  • Take-Out with the Cast of The Big Bang Theory
  • Gag reel

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