The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season (DVD) (2009)

The series that many were afraid wouldn’t last beyond one season is now going on to season four, and the release of season three sees something of a rut within a rather entertaining and easily charming television series that has appealed to fanboys and nerds across the board since its premiere. While I’m not a fan of the comparisons to “Friends,” the CBS series about four brilliant geniuses obsessed with their toys and video games balanced by their ditzy neighbor Penny is about as close to get to a strong and potentially long lasting ensemble comedy.

“The Big Bang Theory” has appealed to folks like me for years since its series premiere, and sadly the third season is not the best that the writers have to offer. After returning from the Arctic, the guys come home to a new way of life, one of which involves Leonard’s relationship with Penny that meets its obstacles. One of them is the lack of clear sexual tension and romantic tension that the first two seasons strived in.

As with all sitcoms, once the writers match up two lovelorn characters, the tension is adamantly destroyed, and we witness much of that here as Penny and Leonard’s entire scenarios involve Penny’s struggle with Leonard’s way of life and vice versa. Which is not to say that “The Big Bang Theory” has jumped the shark. When not dealing with relationship foibles, the series is as funny and brilliantly written as ever, daring to break out of the mediocrity of sitcom swill and making way for some rather excellent moments in the series, one of which involves the group’s enduring rivalry with fan boy supreme Will Wheaton concerns an RPG card tournament, and a bowling match that ends in a cross dressing bit of cosplay for the whole group, and a great guest spot by the lovely Judy Greer as a sex hungry and adventurous scientist who rocks the world of the whole group in ways unimaginable even to them.

There’s the great Goth masquerade of Raj and Wolowitz, and we’re given an odd bit of insight in to Sheldon’s life when Penny and Leonard feud over the prospect of her ex-boyfriend staying with her prompting an outburst that sums up his entire personality perfectly. “The Bozeman Reaction” is without a doubt the funniest episode of the season with Sheldon’s trauma after a burglary and the chaos that ensues when he takes measures to prevent another. There’s also “The Excelsior Equation” which is a tribute to Marvel Comics featuring a hilarious guest spot from Stan Lee that will be pretty entertaining for anyone who isn’t tired of Lee’s cameos in comic book movies. Season three falters in its second half, but for what it is it’s still a very entertaining series. The DVD features a gag reel, a tour of the set, and a featurette with the entire cast over fast food that will make for some chuckle worthy moments.