Rarely do I warm up to a show as quickly as I did with Big Bang Theory. I rarely watch the CBS network as is, but this was one show that had me watching the circular eyeball for the first time in a long time. While Big Bang was formulaic in construction and even boasted the much detested (by me, anyway) laugh track, I found myself coming back week after week to see what the latest exploit and expedition into science the show had. Plus it had a high nerd/geek factor going for it, so for that reason alone it was easy to be drawn to it. And so were many others—the show’s popularity spiked in the second season and was the recipient for two Emmy nominations (one of which was for Jim Parsons, one of the stars of the show). Although it won neither, the third season already started out with a bang (my apologies), raking in over 12 million viewers thus far.
The science of funny is back! At work, physicists Leonard and Sheldon and their geek pals conquer the cosmos. At home, real life – from dating to driving – conquers them. This season, Leonard gets a girl. So does Sheldon. (Sheldon?!) Howard drives the Mars Rover into a ditch. Raj woos a terminator. Gorgeous girl-next-door Penny falls under the spell of Age of Conan. And super-smart, überconfident Leslie Winkler reduces mere men to spineless jellyfish. Twenty-three laugh-filled episodes from series creators Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Gilmore Girls) and a talented cast with astronomical comedy I.Q.s show why Big Bang is such a big hit.
One fantastic thing about the second season of this show was the episode count—it spiked to 23 (up from 17) and the series actually made a genuine effort at progressing the relationships between the various cast members. Ultimately the only thing that made a difference to the show was the furthering of the Penny/Leonard relationship which the third season picks up on, but nonetheless it’s admirable that it at least tried. On top of that were several story arcs with recurring guest stars that helped play with the mixture of the show.
Really, just about any episode you watch from this season will make you laugh your ass off, but that doesn’t mean there still weren’t some standouts. “The Lizard-Spock Expansion” has since been made into t-shirts and makes for one of the most hilarious intros to an episode I’ve ever seen. As usual the rapidity in which Parsons spouts the dialogue that his character has to rattle off is absolutely amazing and the fluidity in which it’s executed as well is just another reason this show is so hilarious. While plenty of other episode titles don’t make much sense (“The Hofstadter Isotope” makes my mind go “derr”), the titles alone shouldn’t intimidate you when it comes to this series. As intelligent as it is, it’s still very accessible to newcomers. As I said before, it’s a very formulaic series so while the settings and characters are unique, it’s still very much a general sitcom.
Plus there’s the guest stars. Christine Baranski (who was also nominated for an Emmy for her role in this series) was absolutely hilarious, Sara Rue as a love interest for Leonard and Summer Glau playing herself on a train as the various male members freaked out about how to approach a terminator (sadly no Firefly love). Plus there’s John Russ Bowie who’s constant put downs of Sheldon and Co. seem to be a replacement of sorts for Sara Gilbert who hasn’t shown up lately.
Regardless of your reasons for watching the show, it’s certainly one of the most entertaining and original shows on TV today. While I could definitely do without the laugh track, the series remains entertaining and hilarious regardless of its presence. Overall this second season was, if anything, a jump in quality over the first season and even re-watching the episodes again still proved that they were as funny the second time as the first. Highly Recommended.
The 23-episode season arrives spread across four discs which are packed into a standard Amaray size clear viva-multipak case. The case is housed under an embossed/gloss o-ring and inside the case are the aforementioned four discs as well as an episode booklet which lists details for the individual episodes. If you own the first season then you’ll know what packaging to expect here. Video is a standard anamorphic widescreen transfer and is what you’d come to expect from a modern show—clean and clear. While not the same quality level as I viewed this season in originally, the set still does look pretty good and never fails to please. The audio, however, is an odd drop-down as it was broadcast In DD5.1 but we get only Stereo here…not a huge deal, of course, considering the tracks are all dialogue focused and aimed in the front channels only anyway.
Extras? Well, I wish there was more than what I’m about to list, but…here’s the roster:
• Physicist to the Stars: Real-Life Physicist/UCLA Professor David Saltzberg’s Consulting Relationship to the Show (10:07)
• Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in Relation to the Big Bang Theory: Season Two’s Unique Characters and Characteristics (15:30)
• Gag Reel (8:51)
While the gag reel was definitely longer than I expected, the overall quality of the featurettes here? Meh. It’s better than nothing I suppose, but there really needs to be a better roster of extras for this show. It’s so well done that the lack of commentaries alone is highly disappointing. Still, the fact they have a Physicist to consult on the show makes for an interesting featurette, if only to know that what they’re talking about on the show is actually real. Which is also slightly disturbing.
Overall The Big Bang Theory’s second season comes Recommended, despite the lackluster extras. After all the real reason to buy these sets are for the show itself and this second season was just about flawless.
The Big Bang Theory – The Complete Second Season is now available on DVD.