I’ve not been what you’d call a regular watcher of The Big Bang Theory over the years – one of those shows that I’ve enjoyed when I’ve caught an episode, rather than going out of my way to record or watch it. Its geeky nerd humour hits touchstones that I recognise and there have been some very strong episodes.
Watching this eighth season through hasn’t necessarily made me want to watch anything beyond the resolution of the cliffhanger that concludes the season, but it’s reassuring to know that the series continues to mine much of the same ground to good effect. The two central characters, Sheldon and Leonard, are now in relationships (more or less) that have realistic ups and downs, coping with ordinary situations such as one partner (Leonard’s Penny) becoming successful, or where one person is feeling stifled while the other misses all the signs. The eighth year also had to deal with the sudden death of one of the cast, which was sensibly – and sensitively – incorporated into the narrative.
The value added material includes some fun background to Billy Bob Thornton’s guest appearance and at least one castmember’s disbelieving reaction; a tribute to Carol Ann Susi; the gag reel; and three fan-oriented pieces, one from Comic-Con, another about the stars on the Walk of Fame, and the other following competition prize winners. None is essential but they make entertaining watching.
Verdict: Entertaining lightweight comedy with serious moments and character development put to good use. 7/10
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eighth Season is available now from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment