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
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    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 21) (All times Eastern unless noted)

    Wednesday, April 23

    • Sally Field (Gidget/The Flying Nun) - Watch Sally on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Timothy Simons (Veep) - Timothy drops by The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jim Gaffigan (My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim appears on on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Tim Allen (Last Man Standing/Home Improvement) - Tim visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
    • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. He will also be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) - Chris will be on Pop Sugar Now on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • David Alan Grier (Bad Teacher/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David appears on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
    • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William will be on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
    • Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher) - Ari is a guest on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
    • Max Charles (The Neighbors) - Max will be on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
    • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.