The Complete Fifth Season
Studio: Warner Bros.
US Rating: Not Rated
Film Length: 498 Minutes
Video: MPEG-4 AVC 1080P High Definition
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Review Date: September 3, 2012
Penny: We should have never slept together. It's what ruins friendships.
Raj: You can't ruin a friendship with sex. That's like trying to ruin ice cream with chocolate sprinkles
About The Show
Four of the smartest, socially inadequate individuals grate nerves, intellectually jostle and jovially prod and poke one another as they face the seemingly insurmountable social mores of meeting girls and understanding their gorgeous friend, Penny. Without question the smartest of the four is Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who lives in a world where pure logic can be applied to any situation (from an evaluation of string theory to the algorithm for making new friends). A pompous but lovable soul, happily entangled in the complexities of obsessive compulsive tendencies, rigid routines, and robust rules that trap and guide his three friends that tolerate his idiosyncrasies, and accept his peculiar mode of navigating the world.
As Sheldon’s suffering roommate is Leonard (Johnny Galecki), perhaps the most relatable, socially experienced of the four high-IQ friends. His affection for their beautiful neighbor, Penny, which expresses itself in bursts of awkward schoolboy grins and oddly placed verbal flattery, is a core element of the show; a running ‘almost’ relationship that is enticed by Penny’s well hidden reciprocation of feelings from time to time. Next up is Rajesh Koothrappali, another PhD holding individual, whose smarts immeasurably outweigh his ability to even talk to pretty women - a task that renders him mute and as mature as a 7-year old pupil with a crush on a teacher. The lovely Penny lives across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard and has slowly become an integral part of the group. Though she glazes over when the complex astro-, and particle-physicist vocabulary is in full swing, she adds a human side to the rampant intelligence that bounces within the walls of her neighbor’s apartment.
And finally we have Howard Wolowitz, the only non-PhD in the four (he is a lowly engineer, though he works on NASA projects). Wolowitz live with his mother, smolders with inappropriate confidence in wooing the ladies, and suffers from a wildly gaudy sense of dress and woefully overzealous sexual charm.
Season Five of CBS’ flagship comedy series continues to delight with 24 episodes featuring staples of nerddom (Star Trek memorabilia), sheldon’s peculiarities (fear of birds), romantic ruminations (Penny and Leondard, Howard and Bernadette, Raj and Siri) and all manner of science, sci-fi and sitcom situations from which to chemically derive comedy – including a mission into space for Howard.
To the credit of the show’s writers for whom the conventions of the traditional sitcom have proved more of an asset than a hindrance (when compared to fresher approaches from the likes of Community). Still, the traditional approach to this 30 minute comedy feels fresher than it should. Rather than the standard family dynamics associated with sitcoms (notable exceptions notwithstanding), collecting the four central young men and growing the core cast over the seasons with the addition of young women has genuinely been a winning recipe. Season 5 proves to be a concentration of relationship premises as the growing cast gives sauce for the plots and flurries of astrophysical, chemical and paleontological fringes.
Raj: As your friend, you might like to know that, um... we didn't have sex in the conventional sense.
Penny: Oh, God. Did you pull some weird Indian crap on me?
Raj: No, no. After we got undressed and jumped in bed, you... you asked if I had protection.
Penny: Oh, you did, didn't you?
Raj: Of course. I'm always packing. Anyway, um, I had trouble putting it on and you tried to help and...that was all she wrote.
Penny: So, we didn't actually...
Raj: I did. It was beautiful.
A likeable season, the highlight of the season is the awkwardness of Raj and his inability to speak to pretty women without the aid of alcohol. A staple of the show since its beginning, the show has found generally invariant ways to work in the jokes about that social deficiency, but something in season five shakes that up – and it is all grown out of the repercussions of his encounter with Penny. The additional focus on the Raj character and his exploits is genuinely welcome. Additionally, the shows 100th episode is a delight and the ‘Transporter Malfunction’ episode – featuring Leonard Nimoy’s voice – is fully grin-inducing!
Episode 1 – The Shank Reflex Analysis
Episode 2 – The Infestation Hypothesis
Episode 3 – The Pulled Groin Extrapolation
Episode 4 – The Wiggly Finger Catalyst
Episode 5 – The Russian Pocket Reaction
Episode 6 – The Rhinitis Revelation
Episode 7 – The Good Guy Fluctuation
Episode 8 – The Isolation Permutation
Episode 9 – The Ornithophobia Diffusion
Episode 10 – The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition
Episode 11 – The Speckerman Recurrence
Episode 12 – The Shiny Trinket Maneuver
Episode 13 – The Recombination Hypothesis
Episode 14 – The Beta Test Initiation
Episode 15 – The Friendship Contraction
Episode 16 – The Vacation Solution
Episode 17 – The Rothman Disintegration
Episode 18 – The Werewolf Transformation
Episode 19 – The Weekend Vortex
Episode 20 – The Transporter Malfunction
Episode 21 - The Hawking Excitation
Episode 22 - The Stag Convergence
Episode 23 - The Launch Acceleration
Episode 24 - The Countdown Reflection
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season is presented by Warner Bros. on Blu-ray with both DVD and Ultraviolet versions as well. It comes in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio – which is how it can be seen on CBS’ HD broadcast. The Blu-ray continues with the same level of quality as the previous seasons (all of which are now available on Blu) and are just fine. As I have stated before, the show doesn’t pop quite as much as it does when I watch it on CBS (though I missed most of the broadcast this year due to DVR conflicts), but it is a distinct improvement over the DVD version and certainly the way to watch it at home.
Moments of softness aside, the colors are as nice and bright (standard for a sitcom) With 24 episodes over 2 Blu-ray discs (and over 3 discs for the DVD), space is a little tight but the results are more than acceptable).
The audio for season five is perfectly suitable for the show. As I have stated before, one of the distinct audio elements of the show when I watch this on TV is the transition effect used between scenes. Particles buzzing and zipping around fly from front, to rear, enveloping the surround speakers. I have always liked that trademark of the show and it sounds great in this DTS HD-Master Audio presentation. The sound is clean and free of issues throughout, no problems from the dialogue in the center and front speakers, and the laughter from the crowd nicely presented as well.
The Big Bang's Theory @100 (10:05): The Big Bang Theory crossed the famed 100 episode threshold and here the cast and crew celebrate that milestone
Gag Reel (8:37): More delightful fluffs and multiple occasions where the actors fail to keep straight faces.
The Big Bang Theory’s Laws of Reflection (11:37): Another brief special feature that has the cast looking back at season five and their fondest moments
Professors of Production (15:01): A short featurette looking at the various different departments that contribute expertise to produce the show
I continue to enjoy The Big Bang Theory. I’m not sure if my love of science-fiction and geek-dom predisposes me to warm to the plots and characters, but the show is easy to enjoy. It isn’t challenging or unique (insert obligatory reference to the much better Community on NBC), but it is accessible, entertaining, modestly adolescent and easy to like.
Overall (Not an average)