Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Science > Geeks > Pop Culture > Stand Up > Entertainment Industry > Ventriloquis > Big Bang Theory: The Complete Seventh Season (2013 - 2014/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD set)/Jay Johnson: The Two & Only! (2014/Jaysons DVD)/Mom: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014/Warner DVD set)

Big Bang Theory: The Complete Seventh Season (2013 - 2014/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD set)/Jay Johnson: The Two & Only! (2014/Jaysons DVD)/Mom: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014/Warner DVD set)

Picture: B & C+/C+/C+ Sound: B- & C+/C+/C+ Extras: B-/D/C- Main Programs: B

Here's some comedy that cannot fail to make you laugh, or think...

Big Bang Theory: The Complete Seventh Season (2013 - 2014) continues the winning ways of the most commercially successful sitcom since Seinfeld and one that continues to be as great as ever with few misses this season as the characters have more growth and change, yet the writers never forget how they or their situation work. The three male/female couples (Sheldon and Amy start having something akin to more contact, Howard and Bernadette have to deal with his mother (the voice of Carol Ann Suzi) being injured, Leonard and Penny hold steady) continue to hold steady while Raj still tires to find a gal with unusual results and Professor Proton (Bob Newhart) makes two very different returns.

To say more would ruin things and though you can pick up on any show and start laughing, the more you know and have seen the early seasons, the better. The cast and the writers are in top form, sharp as ever and from the first few lines that open an episode, the world these science geeks who happen to also love pop culture (that tends to not always be the case, leading to real life science and computer people seeing this show as stereotyping) always on. The shows can get a little gross, but I noticed some more sexuality finding its way into the humor and situations than in past seasons, so we'll see where the series goes with that.

I'll not ruin any of the other surprises, but am pleasantly surprised the show has managed that rare feat of overcoming the weekly TV grind, though some changes (like in later seasons of Daria) have upset some early fans. The one thing I am surprised is that no one has dared to try to put on a similar show, but as this was posting, Sony and NBC announced that they will take the 1985 spiritual feature film cousin of this show, Martha Coolidge's brilliant Real Genius, and make it into a TV series. However, it will be moved from a school to an office and be produced by Adam Sandler! Guess Big Bang Theory has nothing to worry about.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices and episode guide booklet inside the Blu-ray case, while the disc versions add a piece on the 2013 Comic Con Panel, Galecki crashing the BBT Writers Panel, four Behind The Scenes featurettes (String Theory Serenade, May The 4th, The Big Cendrowski: Backstage with the Coolest Director in the Universe & James Earl Jones: The Un-Convensional Guest Star) and a Gag Reel.

Over the years, we have covered the occasion ventriloquist concert and while they have been decent, none have really stuck with me. That has all changed with Jay Johnson: The Two & Only! (2014), the Tony Award-Winning stage play by coming to DVD running two hours and it is nice to finally see Johnson back and someone who is an expert in the artform. Most still know Johnson from the groundbreaking hit soap opera Soap (reviewed elsewhere on this site) as the family member with the wooden dummy who said things at the worst times; just one of the many wacky elements of of that classic.

Johnson manages to devote a nice chunk of the show to how he landed up on that show, but also makes this a semi-autobiography and a great crash course in ventriloquism that makes these two hours very compelling and Johnson shows himself off as the premiere artist in the artform. The comedy is as great as the stories and when all was said and done, I realized how much I missed his work. I strongly recommend this show and trust me, it is worth going out of your way for.

There are no extras.

Mom: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014) should have been a huge hit off the bat, a huge splash of a hit with all the talent involved, but something stalled. From the producers of Big Bang Theory, the underrated Anna Faris plays a mother doing her best to deal with her addictions by not using drugs or drinking anymore, raising a daughter who is very disappointed in her, a younger son hanging in there, an ex-husband who is inappropriate, a bit much and one of the reasons her life is a mess and all while trying to get help, maybe find someone and stay gainfully employed as a waitress. At a group meeting for addiction, her mother shows up, played by the amazing Allison Janney, who is also an addict.

That was the pilot episode, which along with the next few shows, establish the series tone and situations, but the makers dropped the ball by making them too slap-dash, typical and in the Two & A Half Men mode down to a cameo by one of its stars in the pilot. It cost the show early on, then it takes it cues from Big Bang Theory by focusing on the ladies and their issues, their world, even with most of the writers are male. That is when the show gets interesting and then it starts to get really explicit about certain personal situations and that is when it becomes shocking and a show network TV could have never broadcast 10 to 20 years ago.

The latter is not always a bad thing, as everyone in this world is more flawed than usual, especially when it comes to drugs and drinking. This mildly says no one has a moral center and what are the women to do. Some shows are suddenly particularly funny, meaning that versus the pilot, it took a while for the show to find its way, but it has and now has critical acclaim if not the big audience first expected. I don't know if it will continue to become a hit or find an audience, but thanks to the quick growth of the show, smart casting (including French Stewart as the perverted, corrupt head chef at the restaurant) and combination of Faris and Janney, this might turn into something special after all... the show I thought we;d get in the first place.

It should be said however that like Big Bang Theory, its fat suit episode is its worse.

A Mother Of A Gag Reel is the only extra on the discs, while an episode guide is induced on a paper pullout.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Bang are the same consistent, colorful, nicely shot transfers we've seen from every previous season Blu-ray set in what I one of the best-looking shows on TV. The DVD version are passable, but just cannot pull off the color and some depth and detail from the Blu-rays. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Jay and Mom are as good as those DVDs, but all a bit soft and limited as expected, though it is nice none of them gut their color.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Bang is well recorded, but being dialogue and jokes based, does not always use the full capacity of its soundfield all the time. That is more apparent as more TV shows push 5.1, but Bang should not change. Its DVD versions offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is fairly good, but lacks the nuance and warmth of the DTS versions. Mom also has lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, while Jay has lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (with loose Pro Logic surrounds), but they are even with the Bang DVDs in delivering what you need to hear, yet not much more.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com