The Big Bang Theory Complete Series Limited Edition Blu-ray review

Dec 02, 2019- Permalink

The universe may have started with the big bang, but after twelve seasons the high-rated sitcom The Big Bang Theory finally came to an end. Fans waited in anticipation for a complete series Blu-ray to become available and their dreams came true with both a standard set and a limited edition collectible version that included twelve hours of bonus content, three new featurettes, a thirty-two page episode guide and behind-the-scenes photos, a lay-flat book featuring pop-up art and digital codes for all the episodes. As Warner Bros are sticklers for disclaimers, please note that while Warner Bros Home Entertainment provided us with a copy of this product for review purposes, the opinions expressed below are mine alone.

The 1080p transfer is AVC-encoded for all twelve seasons, except for season three, which is VC-1 encoded. The episodes are presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Though the very first episode was shot on film and exhibits some grain, the rest of the series was shot digitally and the transfer has the clarity and detail you would expect from a Blu-ray presentation. In fact, watching the series on Blu-ray will probably be a bit of an eye-opener as you realize how much cable TV compresses the image on all those late-night reruns. Clothing, hair, facial detail and environmental textures all stand out and there’s a natural colour palette. There’s no real sign of digital noise or compression artifacts.

On the audio side, your ears will get treated to an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, except for season three which has a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. There’s a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 track and subtitles are available in English SDH, French and Spanish. This is a sitcom and not an action movie, so your surround channels don’t get much of a workout. They’re used mostly for the musical intro, the spinning atom interstitials, and the reactions of the studio audience. Dialogue is clear and centred.

The packaging of the limited edition of the complete series comes with a hardbound book that contains the discs inserted behind some great photos from the show. There is also a 32-page episode guide with an introduction by show creator Chuck Lorre and behind-the-scenes photos. The over 12 hours of bonus materials are spread across the 24 Blu-ray discs, while the three new featurettes are inexplicably on a DVD. This new content consists of “The Big Bang Theory: A Retrospective” with insights from the cast and crew, “All the Stars in the BBT Universe” which highlights the great guest stars the series has had, and “BBT’s Greatest Hits: 12 Years of Comedy in 24 Minutes” which highlights the show’s greatest moments. The extras spread across the rest of the discs include gag reels, production discussions from Chuck Lorre, set tours, cast panels from Paley Fest, a tribute to the late Carol Ann Susi who voiced Howard’s unseen mother, various production insights and some of the cast and crew’s popular Comic-Con appearances. The set also comes with digital codes for the entire series. Please note that my set did not come with a digital code. I thought that was a manufacturing error but a friend pointed out that people on Amazon Canada were complaining of the same thing. American friends and American Amazon did not have this issue. The Canadian packaging clearly states that codes are included so I’ll be investigating this with WB.

Ignoring the possible Canadian-only glitch with the digital codes, The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series Limited Edition is a must-have for hard-core fans of the series, bringing you a great video presentation, crystal clear sound, a plethora of extras, and limited edition booklets and packaging.