The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Portuguese Dolby 2.0 Stereo
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Running Time: 501 Mins.
- Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 13, 2011
- List Price: $44.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
I haven’t followed this series very closely over the past few years and now I really regret that decision. Sitting down t watch The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray, I was going in having seen only one or two episodes from this very season in passing. Maybe it was the name or marketing that put me off or just that I have so much on my plate already, but I’d always thought it would be just another run of the mill network relationship comedy that I need not make time for – boy was I wrong! I guess I should have paid attention to the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” or in this instance, a series by its promos.
The Big Bang Theory Season 4 is laugh out loud funny, some episodes had me literally – and I do mean literally – in tears from laughter. I can’t compare the quality of this season to the previous three, but if this one wasn’t as good, then I need to see the first three now. The series follows the lives of four genius college researchers and friends, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), his roommate Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) as well as neighbor and ex-girlfriend to Leonard, Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Penny being the odd one out, the only one who isn’t a “super genius” and the only one who isn’t socially awkward, she acts as a marvelous counterpoint to the geeky boys club of the four scientist friends. The four friends are the kind of guys who, when they were growing up, were all bullied in school, and now they are the super smart ones, but they still have trouble trying to get the girls, are still into all the gloriously geeky things like comic books, playing World of Warcraft, and dressing up as The Justice League of America for New Year’s Eve.
Season 4 finds Penny having doubts about whether she should have broken up with Leonard as he starts up a relationship with Raj’s hot sister Priya (Aarti Mann). Meanwhile, Sheldon finds himself a suitably detached and intellectual “girl who is a friend, but is not his girlfriend” in Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), who begins having trouble suppressing her baser urges when she starts hanging out with her new “bestie” Penny. Howard gets back together with his ex-girlfriend Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), whom Raj starts to have Bollywood-style daydreams about.
The Big Bang Theory is a geek’s delight filled up with so many wonderfully nerdy old school and contemporary pop-culture references it makes Chuck seem tame in comparison. One can sit and play “spot the cultural reference” from episode to the next, be it Tron or old school video games. Absolutely delightful.
They’ve squeezed all 24 half-hour episodes onto two BD-50 discs, and although it’s not as bad as it seems at first, since each episode only averages ~22-minutes running time, it’s still pushing the limits. At 12 episodes a disc, we’re up over 4 ½ hours a disc, not counting the special features. Not that Big Bang has a lot going on to really tax the compression algorithms, but it doesn’t always look as sharp as it could and one does wonder if it could have looked better if Warner had given it at least one more disc to breathe. Anyway, in this 1080p/24 AVC encodement, there is no doubt that The Big Bang Theory looks superior to its 1080i broadcasts, however the overall image does look a bit too dark. Blacks tend to crush somewhat and flesh tones are pushed towards red.
Warner, it seems, has finally gotten the message and stopped crippling their TV-on-BD releases with DVD-era lossy Dolby Digital. The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season is given a solid lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. There isn’t much at all going on in the mix give the nature of the series. Much of the surround activity comes during the “atomic” cut scene graphic and laugh track, still dialogue is very clean and upfront in the mix, sounding rather full and natural.
The supplements are all in HD and rather brief, thank goodness, given that there isn;t much space provided for the actual show in this package. They consist basically of actor-on-actor interviews, a very quick look behind-the-scenes of a live taping of the show, and The Barenaked Ladies shooting of their music video of the series theme song as well as the actual music video.
The supplements provided:
- The Big Bang’s Theory of Relativity: Actor on Actor – Simon, Melissa, and Kunal (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:15)
- The Big Bang’s Theory of Relativity: Actor on Actor – Kaley and Johnny (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:29)
- Gag Reel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:22)
- The Big Bang Theory Live (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:15:31) – Have a look at what goes on at a live taping of The Big Bang Theory
- Barenaked Ladies on The Big Bang Theory (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:23) – The band visits the set for the making of their new music video.
- The Big Bang Theory Theme Song Music Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
The Definitive Word
After watching The Big Bang Theory for the first time I am a convert who is looking forward to season 5. This series is laugh-out-loud funny and a stand out from anything else on network television. The Blu-ray release of Season 4 is a definite step up in quality from the broadcasts even as it pushes the limits of the format by squeezing all 24 episodes onto only two discs, but it is still well worth having.
Additional Screen Captures