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

  • New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

    2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
    Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

    10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
    10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
    10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
    10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
    10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
    10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
    10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
    10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
    10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
    10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
    10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
    11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
    11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
    11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
    11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
    11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
    11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
    12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
    12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
    12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
    12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, October 31

    Last Man Standing - "Mike Advises Mandy" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mike offers Mandy advice on how to set aside money to pay the taxes on her struggling online clothing business. But she decides to do it her way – by opening up a pop up store at Bud’s Buds.

    Cristela - "Hall-Oates-Ween" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    It's Halloween and Cristela is eager to show Trent her “party-whispering” skills to make this year's party a success. After failing to convince Josh, Cristela gets Maddie to join her in dressing up as Hall & Oates. Meanwhile at home, Natalia’s dislike for Halloween has her celebrating the Day of the Dead instead and, ironically, her stories of deceased relatives makes her the most popular Halloween attraction in the neighborhood.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 27) (All times ET unless noted)

    Friday, October 31

    • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Watch Andy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Ted Danson (Cheers/Becker) - Catch Ted on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • J.K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher) - J.K. appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory) - Ana is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Leah Remini (The Exes/The Family Tools/The King of Queens) - Leah appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
    • Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Reno 911!) - Niecy tells how to look younger on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jim Gaffigan (My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Tune in to see if Jim and Rach can survive New York's scariest house on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down) - Ken will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.