The Big Bang Theory-Season 9 (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 31-Aug-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV COMEDY SERIES Main Menu Audio-Barenaked Ladies theme
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-#JustAskBBT (12:15) Cast answer Twitter questions.
Interviews-Cast & Crew-2015 Comic-Con Panel (26:07)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Love is Rocket Science (11:27)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Big 200! (5:33) 200th Ep. Celebration
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-TBBT Gives Back (5:08)
Outtakes-Gag Reel (8:45)
Listing-Cast & Crew-Slick reverse : Episode list and precis.
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 468:16 (Case: 485)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mark Candrowski (21 episodes)
Nikki Lorre (2 eps)
Anthony Rich (1 ep.)
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Johnny Galecki
Jim Parsons
Kaley Cuoco
Simon Helberg
Kunal Nayyar
Mayim Bialik
Melissa Rauch
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Barenaked Ladies


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Spanish
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Pre-credits segment each episode.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When The Big Bang Theory first appeared on our TV screens I watched with moderate interest. It was good to see that the cast included Johnny Galecki, a firm favourite from the wonderful Roseanne series, but there was no other name or face that I recognised. I remember watching that first episode and not being too sure about the odd nerdy guy in the tight pants, and his somewhat weird relationship with his Indian buddy. The blonde neighbour across the hall, Penny, did not seem to fit - and Sheldon was just a bit too much. However, I enjoyed  that episode enough to go back the next week, and it was not long before the show found its feet and its characters, settling in to become one of the all-time great TV sitcoms. Roadshow have just released Season Nine on DVD and Blu-Ray and watching the season's episodes back-to-back is a rare home-viewing pleasure indeed. Being a genuine fan I strove to watch each episode of this season as it was aired on local television, but amazingly its audience was sorely abused by the channel. "New episodes" were promoted, only to tune in and find that yet another repeat episode was aired. It is now fantastic to have all twenty-four episodes in brilliant high-definition, and to be enjoyed without any interruption for commercials.

    Just about everyone knows the concept for this show. Way back in Season 1, a nerdy geek scientist living in Pasadena, California, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) advertises for a roommate. The successful applicant is Leonard Hofstedter (Johnny Galecki) who quickly befriends the across-the-hall blonde, Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a lowly waitress and aspiring actress. Sheldon and Leonard are both physicists at Caltech. There are two friends, aerospace engineer, Howard Holowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappoli (Kunal Nayyar). Over the years Penny and Leonard have mated, broken up and, at Season Nine's opening,  finally married. Howard and Sheldon have also found  soul mates, beginning with Season 3 guest appearances, and settling in as co-stars in Season 4. Sheldon  has found the gawky and tweedy Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), while Howard has the pert and busty Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch). The success of this show is due to the fact that each episode emerges from the natural interaction of these characters. The characters grow and the show grows, with never an episode that seems contrived and unnatural. Given these characters, every situation in this sitcom is one that is totally believable. Over the years the characters go through changes - we can't really say "mature"- and most episodes spring from these changes within and between the principals. Two minor characters who add greatly to individual episodes are John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke, the speech impedimented co-worker at Caltech. The fencing lesson sequence in the fifth episode is a particular delight. Also great is Kevin Sussman as comic-book store owner Stuart Bloom, who in Season 8 moved in with Howard's heard-but-never-seen mother. The producers/writers - Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steven Mulano - give their characters clever and witty dialogue and director, for all bur three episodes, Mark Candrowski controls the zany circus with an invisible hand. Added to the pleasures are the occasional guest appeartances from the likes of Christine Baranski and Laurie Metcalf as the mothers of Leonard and Sheldon respectively. Then we also get to see Sara Gilbert, Wil Wheaton, Adam West, June Squibb, Judd Hirsch, Jane Kaczmarek, Keith Carradine and the wonderful Bob Newhart reprising his Emmy Award winning role of "Arthur", still in the garb of Obi-Wan.

    The two dozen episodes that consitute the always amusing and frequently brilliant Season Nine are :

Disc 1 : Ep. 1 : The Matrimonial Momentum :
                        After driving to Las Vegas to get married, Penny struggles with Leonard's confession that he kissed another girl while he was away on the North Sea.
             Ep. 2 : The Separation Oscillation :
                        Leonard confronts the girl he kissed on the North Sea in an attempt to set Penny's mind at ease. Meanwhile Sheldon tries to retaliate after his breakup with Amy using "Fun with Flags".
             Ep. 3 : The Bachelor Party Corrosion :
                        The guys surprise Leonard by taking him to Mexico for a belated bachelor party weekend, while the girls force Penny to finally tell her family that she eloped with Leonard.
             Ep. 4 : The 2003 Approximation :
                        When Sheldon learns of an impending change in his living arrangements, he decides to revert back to 2003 - a simpler time before he met Penny or Leonard.
             Ep. 5 : The Perspiration Implementation :
                        When the guys take fencing lessons from Barry Kripke (John Ross Bowie), Sheldon finds himself in an awkward position when Kripke expresses interest in Amy.
             Ep. 6 : The Helium Insufficiency :
                        In the midst of a nationwide helium shortage, Leonard and Sheldon are forced to make a black market purchase from a dealer (Michael Rappaport) in order to complete an experiment.
             Ep. 7 : The Spock Resonance :
                        Leonard and Penny are shocked to learn that Sheldon had an engagement ring for Amy. Meanwhile, Howard and Bernadette disagee over remodelling his childhood home.
             Ep. 8 : The Mystery Date Observation :
                         With Amy out on a date with a mystery man, Sheldon enlists the help of Howard and Raj to find a new girlfriend by posting online.
             Ep. 9 : The Platonic Permutation :
                        While Howard reluctantly agrees to volunteer at the soup kitchen with Bernadette, Raj and Emily, Sheldon and Amy spend Thanksgiving together at the aquarium as "friends".
             Ep.10 : The Earworm Reverberation :
                         After driving Leonard and Penny crazy by his desperate attempts to remember the name of a song stuck in his head, Sheldon has a revelation.
             Ep.11 : The Opening Night Excitation :
                          After over five years of dating, Sheldon and Amy enjoy coitus, while Leonard, Raj and Sheldon attend the new Star Wars premiere. Arthur (Bob Newhart) as Obi-Wan advises Sheldon.
             Ep.12 : The Sales Call Sublimation :
                         Howard and Bernadette experience "empty-nest syndrome" after Stuart moves out. On Penny's behalf Leonard meets with a psychiatrist and Penny gets more than she bargained for.

Disc 2 : Ep.13 : The Empathy Optimisation :
                         After having to deal with Sheldon being sick, Leonard, Penny and the gang try to treat themselves to a Sheldon-free weekend.
             Ep.14: The Meemau Materialisation :
                        Sheldon's thrilled when his Meemau (June Squibb) comes to visit, but his excitement quickly fades when she butts heads with Amy.
             Ep.15: The Valentino Submergence :
                        Sheldon and Amy host a special live episode of  "Fun with Flags"  for Valentine's Day, while Raj is torn between Emily and the new girl he met at the comic book store.
             Ep.16 : The Positive Negative Reaction :
                         While the gang celebrates Bernadette's pregnancy announcement, Howard freaks out, convinced that he'll need to make more money to provide for the baby.
             Ep.17 : The Celebration Experimentation :
                          After nine years together, the gang finally celebrates Sheldon's birthday with a few special guests - including Batman's Adam West - in the 200th episode.
             Ep.18 : The Application Deterioration :
                          Howard has second thoughts entering into a legal partnership with Leonard and Sheldon for a patent, while Raj gets dating advice from the girls after his breakup with Emily.
             Ep.19 : The Solder Excursion Diversion :
                          Amy is shocked at a revelation from Sheldon after she buys him a new laptop. Meanwhile, Leonard and Howard lie to their wives to attend an early screening of a movie.
             Ep.20 : The Big Bear Precipitation :
                          On a weekend cabin trip Sheldon spills a secret of Leonard's to Penny and Amy, and Howard and Bernadette must draw the line when Raj goes overboard with pregnancy gifts.
             Ep.21 : The Viewing Party Combustion :
                         When a small argument between Leonard and Sheldon erupts into a heated fight, everyone must take sides during a group get-together.
             Ep.22 : The Fermentation Bifurcation :
                          Sheldon and Bernadette spend a night hanging out together when the rest of the gang goes to a wine bar, where they run into Penny's old boyfriend, Zack ( Brian Thomas Smith).
             Ep.23 : The Lime Substitution Solution :
                         Penny struggles to bond with Leonard's mother (Christine Baranski) when she comes for a visit. Meanwhile, Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy while he's at a movie screening.
             Ep.24 : The Convergence Convergence :
                         Chaos ensues in the season finale when Leonard's recently divorced parents (Judd Hirsch and Christine Baranski) and Sheldon's devotedly religious mother (Laurie Metcalf) come to town.


    The entire season is enormously entertaining. Much of it is hilarious, yet there are moments of reflection and warmth that are really touching. The performances are pitch perfect with not one "star" being a standout. One of my favourites is Mayim Bialik's Amy Farrah Fowler. (Remember her as the childhood version of Bette Midler in Beaches?) This performance brings back memories of the sublime Elaine May in her younger days. The entire show looks beautiful, with marvellously sharp images. Most of the scenes are in the regular, well known sets with only occasional excursions into exterior locations. The colours are almost totally cartoon in their brightness, from the pop art decor of the apartments to Bernadette's  multitude of brightly coloured mini-sweaters. Rarely is there a location with a subdued colour scheme - the hunting lodge in Episode 20 is a rare one - and the regular sets with their bright colours are often dazzling.
     The cast is all signed for Season Ten and perhaps that will be the end of TBBT. Until that sad day, we now have nine seasons to relish on Blu-ray disc. There is so much around that is mediocre and promoted as being "a blockbuster"or "unmissable". The Big Bang Theory is the real thing. It is funny and it is very, very good. Heck! I even freeze-frame the vanity card at the end of each episode so I can read the wisdom of Chuck Lorre.
    Totally and enthusiastically recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   Roadshow have now released all nine seasons of TBBT on Blu-ray. This latest is a high definition 1080p visual feast - one that could give you colour indigestion. It is so bright and dazzling, with wonderful depth of colour. There is rarely a shadow to be seen, but when we do venture into a darkened bedroom the image remains clear and detailed. Closeups, and of course there are many, are extremely detailed, and the costumes and accessories can be studied in minute detail. I became mesmerised by the detail of the links in a necklace worn by Melissa Rauch in one episode, and Christine Baranski's extraordinarily mobile face was a pleasure to watch in the final episode. A mature actress with mobile eyebrows. Wow! The image is detailed, sharp, no blemishes, beautifully photgraphed and presented in immaculate transfers.
    There are subtitles available in English for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish Castellano, Spanish Latino, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and  Swedish.

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Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four audio tracks all encoded at 48K :  English DTS - HD Master Audio 5.1 plus, in Dolby Digital Stereo, Spanish Castellano, Spanish  Latino and Portuguese . It is really worth watching a little with the Spanish soundtrack. the voice cast do a fantastic job - and Sheldon sounds even more neurotic in Spanish. Good fun.
    This series is all about the clever dialogue, and every syllable is crystal clear. There is meticulous delivery and presentation of every line. The sound is front and centre with even minimal use of stereo across the fronts. Surrounds are almost non-existent, except for the theme from Barenaked Ladies and the audio effects entry to each segment. It is interesting to note how much more leisurely the tempo of this theme has become. During early seasons I taped the opening and used to replay over and over to try and get the lyrics down. Now there would be no trouble at all.
    This is definitely not one to show off your system, but that's not what we expect from TBBT.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is quite an impressive list of extras here, although closer inspection shows everything to be rather light and fluffy.

Menu

    The menu screen is the same on both discs. The group publicity still from the slick provides the visual. The theme is played under. Options are :

        * Play

        * Episodes : This brings up a scroll of all twenty-four episodes, with the episodes on that particular disc accessible.

        * Audio : English
                       Spanish Castellano
                       Spanish Latino
                       Portuguese

        * Subtitles : English for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, French, Dutch, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norse, Swedish, None.

        * Special Features : Selection brings up a scroll of the featurettes on both discs, each with a thumbnail, running time and brief description. See below for details.


Featurettes :
These featurettes offer a total of approximately seventy highly entertaining minutes. No doubt my enjoyment was due to the fact that I am, and always have been, a fan of The Big Bang Theory. They are presented in quality just a little less than the episodes themselves, with the exception of Episode 1, which has considerably more grain.

Disc 1 :
# JustAskBBT
(12:15) :
The cast aswers fan questions sent in via Twitter. The three couples read the letters to their partners, while Kunal Nayyar goes solo.

The Big Bang Theory 2015 Comic-Con Panel (26:07) :
Kunal Nayyar
moderates the writers and producers of The Big Bang Theory in a panel that gives you the inside story on how your favourite episodes and moments came to be. As the event gets under way there is a surprise entrance by an unannounced guest, Mayim Bialik. She is a joy to watch and to listen do. Whatever you do, don't miss this one. It  very quickly becomes obvious  why the show is the success it is. Above all else, TBBT has heart.

Disc 2 :
Love is Rocket Science
(11:27) :
How do you define love? The cast answers this and many more questions about the tectomic re;lationship shifts that happened in Season 9.

The Big 200! (5:33) :
Walk the red carpet with the cast as they celebrate their entrance into the most exalted of television shows that have reached two hundred episodes. We also get a glimpse of Mark Sweet at work in his audience warm-up, and a particlary natural and emotional address from Galecki and Cuoco to their audiencxe. There are also contributions from executive producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steven Molaro as well as director Mark Candrowski.

The Big Bang Theory Gives Back (5:08) :
The cast and producers, led by creator Chuck Lorre, welcome their first BBT scholars onto their set to celebrate the new scholarships the created at UCLA.

Gag Reel (8:45) :
Here we get the expected collection of gaffes, but it is by far the most enjoyable I have seen for a very long while.There is something extremely funny about comedic actors striving desperately to be serious in a particular situation, but failing and cracking up uncontrollably.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 Blu-ray release is identical to the Region 1 release.

Summary

    The Big Bang Theory, after nine seasons, continues to be a witty, entertaining sitcom that celebrates the commonalities and the differences we all share. The performances are perfect and the production, within standard sitcom confines, is excellent. These two Blu-ray discs give us all twenty-four episodes in sparkling almost cartoon-like clarity and colour. This is a series that is well worth multiple viewings.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, September 05, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO BDP-103AU, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 60UF850T 4K. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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