Friday, September 21, 2007

CBS Fall Pilot Review: The Big Bang Theory - Premieres September 24

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory - Mondays at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres September 24 at 8:30PM ET/PT

From creators Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady comes The Big Bang Theory, the story of two brainy best friends who could tell you anything you want to know about quantum physics -- but when it comes to dealing with everyday life here on Earth, they're lost in the cosmos.

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy about brilliant physicists, Leonard and Sheldon, who are the kind of "beautiful minds" that understand how the universe works. But none of that genius helps them interact with people, especially women. All this begins to change when a free-spirited beauty named Penny moves in next door. Sheldon, Leonard's roommate, is quite content spending his nights playing Klingon Boggle with their socially dysfunctional friends, fellow Cal Tech scientists Wolowitz and Koothrappali. However, Leonard sees in Penny a whole new universe of possibilities... including love.
The Big Bang Theory is executive produced by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.

Cast Details:

Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Jim Parsons as Sheldon, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Scott Halberstadt as Bobby, Simon Helberg as Wolowitz, Kunal Nayyar as Koothrappali, Frank Pacheco as Joey, Brian Wade as Kurt

Johnny Galecki (Leonard) is perhaps best known to television audiences for his role as David in the long-running ABC comedy series Roseanne, for which he won a Young Artist Award. His television series credits also include a recurring role in My Boys and guest appearances in Hope & Faith and My Name is Earl.

Jim Parsons (Sheldon) counts among his television credits a recurring role in the series Judging Amy and a guest-starring appearance in Ed.

Kaley Cuoco (Penny) is perhaps best known to television audiences for her role as Bridget Hennessey in the John Ritter ABC series 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter, for which she won a Teen Choice Award. Cuoco's other television credits include the series Ladies Man and Charmed and guest appearances in Prison Break, Complete Savages, 7th Heaven, My So-Called Life and Ellen, in which she played a young Ellen DeGeneres in flashbacks.

Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) has television credits that include guest-starring appearances on MADtv, Reno 911!, Joey and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Kunal Nayyar (Rajesh Koothrappali) will have his first regular role on a television series. He had a guest-starring role on CBS's Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


Pilot Plot:

Pilot (09/24/07) - When Leonard and Sheldon meet Penny, Leonard is immediately interested in her, but Sheldon feels his friend is chasing a dream he'll never catch.

Written by: Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Directed by: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Brian Patrick Wade as Kurt and Vernee Watson as Althea


Analysis:

I only got to watch the pilot, but it was worth it! Usually when we do our pilot reviews we have 2-3 episodes to have a sample of. CBS didn't send us another episode, but that is fine. After watching the pilot, I think the show is actually funny. It is like a throwback to how sitcoms of the '80s were done. This is a multi-camera sitcom, and it might not be as hyped up as Fox's Back to You, I think this is the best traditional sitcom this fall. There are only two, and I liked the pilot of this one better than the Fox series. While the plot might sound, "been there, done that," it is enjoyable and has a lot of humor. The pilot runs a little over 23 minutes and the first scene to me is boring with just Leonard & Sheldon, but don't get discouraged. I thought to myself, "this better get better." And it did. It really picks up when the two geeks (Leonard and Sheldon) meet their new neighbor (Penny), who lives in the apartment down the hall.
It is a mix of three shows to me. You get a bit of Weird Science, a bit of Beauty & the Geek and a slight bit of Three's Company (even though they don't all live together in one apartment).

The show does need work to continue. The pilot is a good start, but it has to maintain the quality of humor and improve on some characters. I loved Kaley Cuoco on 8 Simple Rules. She was hilarious & beautiful on that show and her dialogue was great. On the pilot of this show she is beautiful too, but I don't even remember anything she really said because they make her a girl that only has looks. But I think they will improve on that in future episodes. They also have to improve on the two nerd friends of Leonard & Sheldon. They were like fillers in the pilot. When Leonard & Sheldon went to Penny's ex-boyfriend's house to try to get her stuff back, they just left Penny and their two friends in their apartment. That didn't make sense, but it is funny.
The show has some neat guest stars coming, such as Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf (who was wonderful this season on Desperate Housewives). That is like a mini-Roseanne reunion. All they need now is John Goodman and Roseanne herself. Hopefully we some 8 Simple Rules stars soon, too, like Amy Davidson, Martin Spanjers or Katey Sagal.


Conclusion:

The Big Bang Theory will be airing Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS. Last season, the much hyped sitcom The Class aired in that slot, and it didn't do that well for a CBS sitcom. So in order for this series to do well, it will have to do better than that. 8-9 million will probably not do. If it can build on How I Met Your Mother, which is the lead-in for this show, CBS will be pleased and we will see this sitcom for another year at least.
Todd reviewed Back to You earlier this week. I saw that pilot too and this one, and I think this one was better. Todd didn't see this one yet, but I'm sure he would like this one, too.

Is this show too young and hip for CBS? Maybe. But it has How I Met Your Mother as its lead-in, so the young audience will be there. I personally think they should have aired it at 9:30 after Two and a Half Men for more exposure, but let's see how it does at 8:30 first.
I urge you to tune in for the pilot at least. If you like older sitcoms from the '80s or something, you'll like this one. It is very "sitcomy" and is actually funny. It may not be as smart as sitcoms like 30 Rock and The Office, but I really prefer these types to those (and viewers do, too). Hopefully 10 million+ watch the premiere. It will have to at least build on the lead-in each week, in viewers, if not, for sure in adults 18-49. And you should be one of them who tunes in. To catch a sneak peek of the pilot, click HERE.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/21/07

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • The Big Bang Theory Fan Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Big Bang Theory Photo Gallery
  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Wednesday, April 16)

    The Middle - "Vacation Days" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After being forced by his work to take a paid vacation, Mike tries to relax but finds his alone time being invaded by Brick, who wants to cash in and implement all of the personal gift coupons he has given his dad for Father's Day and birthdays over the years. Meanwhile, Frankie is livid when she discovers that Axl has been hanging out at the Donahues for the past few days and didn't let her know that he was even in town, and Sue is horrified when she discovers that someone has given her service at Spudsy Malone’s a bad review online and overreacts in her efforts to better please the customers.

    Suburgatory - "Blame it on the Rainstick" (ABC, 8:30PM/ET) (Repeat)
    When Noah is released from a court mandated anger management program, George is shocked to find a docile Noah has replaced his former hot-headed friend. Shaken by the change, George decides to put the new Noah to the test. Meanwhile, Tessa ditches “senior tanning” and meets a cool new age band hanging out at the park. The free spirited music group isn’t exactly what they appear.

    Modern Family - "The Big Game" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    With a big football game coming up and a record to break, Coach Cam is intensely focused and showing no mercy even when the opposing team is playing with an unexpected disadvantage. Elsewhere, Claire is determined to prove to the staff that she is more than just the boss’s daughter, and Phil tries to teach his kids a lesson about optimism, but the universe just isn’t cooperating.

    Mixology - "Jessica & Ron" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Jessica regrets sending a naked photo to Ron and sets out to get him to delete it after realizing she barely knows him. Meanwhile, Liv complicates things between Jessica and Ron and Maya hits it off with an attractive guy who gives her an offer she can’t refuse…or can she? And the chance to hook up is in Bruce’s favor when he meets a woman who is into red-heads, but things quickly begin to look grim when a famous red-head also enters the bar.

    Melissa & Joey - "Born to Run" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mel's father sends out a racy photograph; Ryder tries to come up with a winning business idea.

    Baby Daddy - "Play It Again, Bonnie" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Bonnie asks Tucker for help in reconnecting with her former boyfriend.

    Hot in Cleveland - "The Undead" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Elka (Betty White) throws a fake funeral for Victoria so she can join her husband in hiding. Her nemesis, Susan Lucci attends. Simon (Craig Ferguson) and Joy face a dilemma in their relationship.
    Guest Stars: Craig Ferguson, Susan Lucci, Matt Iseman, David Cheaney, Laird MacIntosh

    The Soul Man - "Oh My Goddy" (TV Land, 11:00PM ET/PT)
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    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 14) (All times Eastern unless noted)

    Wednesday, April 16

    • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Watch Kunal on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Denis Leary (The Job) - Denis appears on a repeat of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
    • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
    • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Tracy visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Adam appears on The Pete Holmes Show at midnight on TBS.
    • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi previews her new Lifetime movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Billy Crystal (Soap) - Billy stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin talks about new animated movie Rio 2 and her upcoming show at Carnegie Hall on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
    • Alan Thicke (Growing Pains) - Alan talks about his TV and music career, his son Robin and new reality series, Unusually Thicke, on Katie, so check your local listings. He will also be on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am. Finally, he is a guest on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am.
    • Judy Greer (Mad Love/Arrested Development/Miss Guided) - Judy takes us on a trip to her happy place...the drugstore on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) and Michael Jai White (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse) - Tasha and Jai are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS. He will also be on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
    • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher is a guest on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Valerie Harper (Rhoda/The Mary Tyler Moore Show/Valerie) - Valerie talks about Signed, Sealed, Delivered (premieres April 20 on Hallmark Channel) on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She is a guest on Howard Stern.
    • Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl/I Hate My Teenage Daughter) - Jaime appears on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
    • Seth Green (Dads/Greg the Bunny) - Seth is a guest on a repeat of @midnight at 12am on Comedy Central.