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on 6 October 2012
I have read some of the reviews (in particular, the ones that are not too positive) and I have to say: It still makes me laugh out loud... :-) OK, this season has several week episodes: The back-and-forth episodes at the beginning of the second disk are pretty boring. Seems that they did not really have something for a complete episode, so these are just patchworks of small bits and pieces. But the first episodes and the last about eight are really fun to watch
One big point of discussion seems to be: Not enough science. Too much personal life. I do not care too much that the focus of the series has changed. People change. Repetition is boring. My other two beloved series (House, Monk) really got boring when it got to the fifth season. Because nothing changed. Just more of the same. Only different.
I am a scientist (somewhere between Sheldon and Bernadette in discipline) and I *love* to see good jokes about the scientific part of their lives. But we had loads of great, great jokes on that front that at least I will never forget ("Geology is not a real science!", and the spherical sheep in vacuum joke, and the dark side of the moon). But people from science should be allowed to have a personal life, to change, to develop. (Sorry for my bad English.) And the focus on the more personal stuff is just cool because otherwise, it would get repetitious. Leslie was great, but only for some time. Kripke is definitely great, but I would not want his rhotacism (just got that from Wikipedia) in every episode -- it is only this funny. So, yeah: If you love the characters, and if you think that "a little different" can still be good, then the fifth season is good for you. Full stop.
I am more worried about the sixth season: They are so happy showing Howard floating through the space station, there is hardly anything happening in the first episode. But I hope that what we have seen in the finale will produce, again, something new and pretty crazy. I have always liked Stuart, and it appears we are seeing a hell more of him now! ;-) And finally, Rajesh has found somebody to love... How sweet! I hope for the best.
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on 3 September 2012
As much as I love the first 3 series I can accept that shows must grow as do characters, but TBBT has grown into a generic Friends clone at the cost of it's quirkyness. I even enjoyed season 4 but the cracks were beginning to show. It seems such a shame because the show's premise can allow for the mining of comedy gold in areas that other sitcoms just can't go.

Why can't leonard have a major success which puts sheldon's nose out of joint? Why can't we see Raj's mammouth struggle to overcome his selective mutism? Why can't Howard build a thingymabob that allows him so much success that he puts Sheldon's name as a footnote in his memoirs? Why can't there be a reversal where Penny goes desperately chasing Leonard after Leonard comes to realise that she doesn't care for him as much as he does for her, such as stealing his mail, doing favours for him? Perhaps they even manage to fix the lift! Something as simple as that can change the dynamics of the show.

Instead we have stories about not getting a hair cut, fun with flags, confronting a bully, battling for an office, ruining a toy teleporter, going round to Wil Wheaton's house and bridesmaid dress shopping. This is not to say that some of the episodes are not funny. There are some terrific one liners and anything with Stuart from the comic book store is pure gold. But for every classic line about the bone density of an 80 year old man there is a truly desperate attempt for laughs about getting wood whilst playing Settlers Of Catan.

Sheldon used to be 80% genius, 20% child, now he's the opposite. Why does someone as popular and likeable as Penny spend so much time with nerds such as AFF and Bernadette? The show was how she bounced off 4 uber nerds, now there are 6 nerds on the show. Leonard has turned into an obnoxious douche. Howard is domesticated and lost his appeal.

With the show becoming more successful in this progression I can't see it coming back to what made it special in the first place. To do that they'd have to get rid of AFF and Bernadette for a start. Come on fellas, you can bring it back, just get creative rather than going through the motions!!
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on 5 May 2012
The first 3 seasons of TBBT were pure gold, season 4 was an amalgum of gold and silver, but right from episode 1 of season 5 there has been something not quite "right". The pacing seems to be off and and I just don't laugh as much.

However, regardless of how much anyone may criticise season 5 it is several orders of magnitude funnier than any other sitcom currently on air. The show might be coasting along on autopilot at the moment but in comparison to anything else it still sparkles.

Also, on repeated viewings it is funnier. TBBT has always had great repeat viewing strength (like all great comedy) but I didn't "get" a lot of season 5 until I'd watched it twice - my wife thought so as well. Does that mean the scripts are not as well written? It certainly isn't the acting, which is as good as ever.

So overall, not as good as past series, but still funny and worth viewing. 8/10
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on 5 May 2012
If The Big Bang Theory was a band, I'd be opening this review with 'I prefer their earlier, less commercial stuff'. Seasons 3 and 4 had some hints of dumbing down the science and nerd references in exchange for a Friends clone, but series 5 takes this further than ever. Far too many episodes are revolving around the kind of trivialities and thin stereotypes of virtually every other sitcom. When the first 5 minutes of a series manage to ruin one of the best gags of the previous series (Sheldon's 'what does it look like?' reaction to the aftermath of Penny and Raj's ill-advised hookup), you know you're in trouble.

Plus, a lot of plot ideas are being repeated. Difficulties with voice-activated phones? Done in season 1. Barry Kripke's speech impediment? Done every time he's featured, and just childish anyway. Howard and Raj's bromance? Amy's strange relationship with Penny? Nothing new there. Howard has become far too watered-down and domesticated in recent seasons, and I can't help thinking Bernadette has always taken far more out of the show than she's added. The whole he's-Jewish-she's-Catholic thing doesn't have as much comic mileage as the writers seem to think. Amy can be irritating but does at least give extra comic direction to discuss female matters from a Sheldony perspective - when used properly. Her obsessive commissioning of a painting of Penny to supposedly cement their friendship is certainly not proper use.

Admittedly, I've enjoyed rewatching series 4 on DVD far more than I did when it was first on TV, so maybe this will happen again. It's just hard to see there being too many hidden character subtleties or multi-layered jokes as there once were.
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on 25 August 2012
I loved TBBT from the start, buying my boxsets from the US because they weren't coming out in the UK fast enough, the world stopped when BBT was on, watching the +1 channel to laugh all over again ..... that was my life through seasons 1 to 3, season 4 was a bit .... hmmm, I'll catch it when it repeats later during the week, Season 5 was tivo'd for later on .... oh, the laughs were there, but not as laugh out loud - more a polite titter. "Shelly" and Lactose Lenny still my favourite odd couple and get the most laughs, but I hate to say it, being a gal myself but the ladies have kinda upset the Nerd chemistry!! I still love TBBT, but was hoping for a few more good seasons before it got that tired feeling!!! Would always recommend the early seasons to everyone though .......
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on 24 December 2011
I have loved Big Bang Theory for a while now, but the fourth series became very ordinary and this fifth series has become barely watchable.

If you don't want to know what happens via overviews then don't read the list below, you may end up just watching it like a soap and enjoying the odd good joke, but the plots are becoming pretty awful.

- Amy becomes depressed because the girls go wedding dress shopping without her and she seeks solace via Sheldon
- Sheldon forbids his friends from going to Wil Wheaton's party, goes himself and forgives Wil, while Wallowitz's women say he can't go into space in a russian rocket
- Leonard nearly has sex with a passably attractive comic book chick, confesses to Priya and it turns out she can't use the word "nearly" in terms of having sex
- Sheldon's mum visits and spends time with the geeks at Sheldon's displeasure
- Penny sets up Raj with a deaf girl who turns out to be in it for money/gifts, Raj takes obnoxious to a whole new level

They've run out of plot ideas by the looks of it, and having all the girls in it defeats the central comic theme of the series - three geeks who can't get women and another who doesn't want them. Amy is a terrible character and gone from being the female Sheldon to an unpopular girl trying to fit in. The other girls just detract from the comedy, Priya was done for too long. And how can they be in a University and not have had any of the geeks teaching?!?!? Their underuse of a place where there must be many many people employed is astounding. They live at least three floors up and yet we barely see their neighbours let alone have plots that involve any of them bar Penny. And the secondary characters only come out every now and then, Barry Kripke, Lesley Winkle and Stuart who can and are all excellent supporting characters. They abandon Sheldon's routines so frequently now that his head surely would have exploded.

And by nature of the direction they're taking it, they've done what Friends did to Chandler and others by changing the nature of the character that made them funny. Wallowitz as the creepy sex pest has gone, Raj the mute has become unfunny and that affliction is biting them on the backside, Amy is no longer the female Sheldon maybe in an attempt to make her less detestable, as well as changes in the others. Too many cooks spoil the broth, too many main characters spoileth the comedy.

If you're a fan of Big Bang Theory then you may well share my views and that it's becoming a coke with no fizz, you recognise it by taste, it isn't that bad, but you want the same drink but one with fizz. Big Bang Theory is now like drinking flat cola. If it wasn't for the characters being solid ideas I would stop watching altogether.
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on 31 December 2011
Having realised that I must wait until September 2012 to see this season on DVD, I have been watching the show on E4, here in the UK. First of all...E4...please stop editing the episodes! Some of the cuts made are intrusive and obvious. So season 5 is here. Having watched 10 episodes I can safely say that this show has lost something. And that something is the science! Yes the very crux of all the jokes and plots of the first 4 seasons has vanished. Rarely is there any mention of the work the main characters do. All the lovely science in-jokes have gone. Sadly season 5 has slipped into a 'Dhama & Greg' style of show. It is as if the writers became aware that they need to dumb down to get a larger audience. So the esoteric scripts have fallen into a 'Friends' meets 'Dhama & Greg' mould. Safe and not that daring. One other thing which struck me also was how much the cast have aged from season 4. What did they all do during the hiatus? The plots have lost their 'zazzle'. I'm glad to see the character Stuart appearing more. Sheldon has become docile, Penny is almost a bit part in some episodes. The character plots in general have floated out to sea. It all seems to be drifting aimlessly. So to sum up...Funny moments are there, but they are somewhat predictable. The science has all but vanished. It has become more sit than com. This show could rapidly find the shark nipping at its heels if it is not careful. 7 out of 10

Update - 13 April 2012 ;-

Having watched further episodes - 100 - 101 - 102. I can confirm what my worst fears were. That this show has made a wrong turn. The opening credits now list a string of 'Co Executive Producers', which in laymen's terms means people who are interfering with the show. It would appear that the makers of this programme are now allowing the outside world to shape the plots and the direction of each episode, which is always a bad move. The secret of this shows success was not its mainstream draw. But sadly the people high up want to see a return on their investment, so it needs to draw in a mainstream crowd. This is why the techno-geek science talk has all but vanished from series 5. A lot of compromises have been agreed on to get this on air again.

The Big Brand Theory ;-

Another notable feature of season 5 is the less than subtle product placements. Apple products are flaunted - albeit not by name, but they are obviously referring to that brand. Even Raj ends up dating the SIRI voice programme from the i phone! (They could have easily used a fictional device name ) Just to add insult - there is a disclaimer at the end of the episode. So why use the brand name at all? These things only distract from the stronger early episodes. (Which admittedly had some of their own subtle product placements) Sheldon now wields an i pad around too, although once again the 'bitten fruit' logo is missing. But the brand name is clearly inferred.

The 'not gays' formula ;-

OK this has been a running theme through BBT, but fortunately the whole 'we're not gay' jokes have subsided in season 5. However there have been some big changes to one particular character. In the previous 4 seasons Sheldon's sexuality was left open to interpretation. This has now clearly been snuffed out by Shelly getting a clear case of the 'not gays'. Now in a relationship with Amy, all the 'is he or isn't he?' vibes are put to rest. This fear of emasculation is a throw-back from the now dated 'friends', which would often do the 'not gay' bit. Normally relating to Chandler and Joey, or Ross's wimp-like persona. It all looks out of place in 2012. There is a later episode in season 5 that takes this throw-back a step further, involving Amy and Penny. Some have labelled it as veiled homophobia. The 'not gay' vibe is of course pandering to the mainstream demographics that all TV exec's worship. So the result is a carbon copy of 'Friends'. Right down to the Leonard and Penny - 'will they, won't they?' on off relationship plot.

Sorry to go on about this .. but it is sad to see a show that went against the grain - slowly slide into the gutter of mainstream sitcom bilge.

Some will agree...and some will not.

I just hope the later episodes improve.

Or it might just all end with the 'big bland'....bland.

7 December 2012 - UPDATE Season 6 --- So Season Six is now airing and it still looks tired and dull. The whole Howard in space just fizzled out fast. (Not helped by the fact that his heart defect would bar him from going up in to space...yes I know it's a sitcom) The latest episode consisted of the group playing parlour games. A weak and half baked plot. I almost stopped watching it...which has never happened before! It is just a cluttered mess, with no direction and all the characters aimlessly interacting. How I miss the feeling of the first 3 series. I loved Raj's parents awkwardly talking via a web-cam and Sheldon's small doses. The most interesting character now is Stuart...who epitomises the original premise of the series and only adds to demonstrate how off-course this programme has strayed.
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on 9 May 2012
What happened to TBBT? It's turned into Friends with far too much emphasis on relationships and become a usual stereotypical US comedy. Series 4 hints to this commercialisation but it's now full blown in series 5. Jim Parsons is excellent as ever and now he has won awards so unfortunately the trajectory of the show won't change. I miss creepy Howard and the wonderful science stuff as well as Sheldon's eccentricity and rigid schedule i.e. halo night, PJs for each night, eating in specific places etc as well as his odd couple friendship with Penny they seemed to have forgotten about all of these and don't use Penny enough. She spends time with the girls, when she is at her best and sharper with the boys. I know sound like a geek but too many girls not enough science!! 3 stars is mainly for Jim Parsons he's too good!
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on 26 February 2012
Its lost its way.... Series 4 foreshadowed some of the problems - Rajesh's sister was a horrible mistake - and series 5
compounds the problems.

Its turned into 'Friends'. The key themes of their effortless geek chic, their hopeless attempts at
romance - or in Sheldon's case trying to appear human - the smart use of science, the wit and the
intelligence..... they're not totally lost here but they only flicker into life occasionally.

Its mediocre and mundane and they've painted/scripted themselves into too many corners to allow
them to fully recover.

I LOVE this show so its a shame that its hit the deck so hard and so quickly.
I hate to say it but TBBT has 'jumped the shark'.
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on 9 April 2012
I've enjoyed Season 1-4 of the Big Bang Theory immensely. The jokes are often laugh out loud hilarious and all the characters are awesome. It's a very popular sitcom now (close to being as popular as Friends) and I haven't met anyone who doesn't know or who hates the show.

This leads me to my following point. It pains me to say this, but Season 5 is definitely the weakest season of the show so far. I can't put my finger on why this is. I've watched most of the whole season, and while there has been some standout moments, this season has been often more forgettable than not. The characters are quirky as ever, but I think some episodes/jokes have been a miss to a higher extent than previous seasons. Don't get me wrong, the show is still enjoyable and I'm a big fan. But I think the writing has faltered this season. Also, I think the feel/direction has changed somewhat to make it feel as though it's not about a group of science geeks anymore. The show is starting to feel a bit forced in catering to a wider audience (a disheartening but understandable move, given how popular the show has become).

I'm still going to continue to watch the show, but I hope it goes back to its Season 2-3 roots so that we can continue laughing at the Big Bang characters and their quirky, nerdy personalities!
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