REVIEW: THE BIG BANG THEORY – SEASON 5

 

 

Starring

Johnny Galecki (Rings)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)
Kaley Cuoco (Harley Quinn)
Simon Helberg (Old School)
Kunal Nayyar (Trolls)
Melissa Rauch (The Bronze)
Mayim Bialik (Blossom)

Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons, and Kunal Nayyar in The Big Bang Theory (2007)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christine Baranski (Into The Woods)
Stacey Travis (Easy A)
Aarti Mann (Heroes)
Brian George (Ghost World)
Alice Amter (Never Have I Ever)
Carol Ann Susi (Sabrina: TTW)
Katie Leclerc (Switched At Birth)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG)
Casey Sander (The Ranch)
Laurie Metcalf (The Connors)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lance Barber (Young Sheldon)
John Ross Bowie (The Heat)
Joshua Malina (A Few Good Men)
Vernee Watson (The Kid)
Stephen Hawking (Futurama)

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)Season 5 picks up exactly where season 4 left off. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) has just spent a drunken night with Raj (Kunal Nayyar). While it wasn’t quite what it appeared, they quickly go back to normal, which isn’t hard when Raj will only talk to women when he’s drunk.Simon Helberg in The Big Bang Theory (2007)Meanwhile, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) tries to maintain a long distance relationship before putting his relationship with Penny back in a beta test. Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is forced to take his relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik) to the next level – and he insists they both sign a relationship agreement. Leonard finds a loophole in his relationship with Sheldon when he voids the friendship clause. And Howard (Simon Helberg) gets ready for a trip into space and his marriage to Bernadette (Melissa Rauch).That’s just a few of the bigger storylines of the season. Each episode is filled with laughs. Some people complain the show isn’t as funny as it used to be, but I find it hysterical just about every week. Yes, they have one or two weeks that fall flat, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. And even then, there are some great lines and classic moments. Howard and Bernadette have the biggest story arcs of the season, and I must say I love watching the two of them interact. Usually, they are so sweet together, although when they fight it can be pretty funny as well. Howard used to annoy me like crazy, but now I actually find I like him.Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)As far as guest stars we’ve got Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner, and Dr. Stephen Hawkins appear as themselves, and Leonard Nimoy voices a Spock doll. The show pasted the 100 episode mark this season, and that means the cast is very familiar with their characters. It shows, too, in the acting. Everyone is believable and comfortable with their parts, and it’s easy to just sit back and laugh as the show plays.

REVIEW: THE BIG BANG THEORY – SEASON 4

Starring

Johnny Galecki (Rings)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)
Kaley Cuoco (Harley Quinn)
Simon Helberg (Old School)
Kunal Nayyar (Trolls)
Melissa Rauch (The Bronze)
Mayim Bialik (Blossom)

Simon Helberg in The Big Bang Theory (2007)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Carol Ann Susi (Sabrina: TTW)
Vernee Watson (The Kid)
Laurie Metcalf (The Connors)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Aarti Mann (Heroes)
Eliza Dushku (Buffy: TVS)
Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG)
Eric André (2 Broke Girls)
Keith Carradine (Cowboys & Aliens)
Brian Thomas Smith (The Wedding Party)
Rick Fox (OZ)
Jessica Walter (Arrested Development)
Joshua Malina (A Few Good Men)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
John Ross Bowie (The Heat)
Brian George (Ghost World)
Alice Amter (Never Have I Ever)
Tiffany Dupont (9-1-1)

Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons, and Kunal Nayyar in The Big Bang Theory (2007)The writers introduced two female characters to the regular cast this year, although both did show up in season three. Melissa Rauch returns as Howard’s girlfriend Bernadette. And Mayim Bialik, who appeared in the final few moments of season three, is back as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s not girlfriend but friend who is a girl. Since both either have doctorates or are going for doctorates, that still leaves Penny as the only non-super smart person of the cast. However, everyone has trouble relating to us mere mortals, and that’s where Penny really shines. Her heart comes through in every moment she is on screen..Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)Over the course of the season, Sheldon breaks up with Amy Farrah Fowler over scientific differences and buys a bunch of cats to ease his loneliness. Howard’s past mistake comes out when the FBI investigate him for a security clearance. The guys enter a New Year’s Eve costume contest with some surprising additions to their group. Leonard’s idea for a smartphone app gets out of hand when Sheldon gets involved. Raj begins to have feelings for Bernadette while Leonard starts seeing Raj’s sister Priya (guest star Aartia Mann). Everyone winds up at an out of town science convention where friendships get tested. And in one of my favorites, Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon decide to experiment with gossip by starting rumors and seeing how long it takes the entire group to find out.George Takei, Simon Helberg, Katee Sackhoff, and Melissa Rauch in The Big Bang Theory (2007)Of course, with this show, some of the sub-plots can be just as great as the main plot. I’m especially fond of one involving Howard performing a magic trick that Sheldon can’t figure out. Another memorable one involves Sheldon and his new three person chess game. The new additions haven’t dampened the acting at all. The original cast knows their characters and invests everything they have in bringing them to life every week. Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik slip into the cast seamlessly and feel like they’ve been playing these characters just as long. Jim Parsons went into this season having just won a well-deserved Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy, and his work is just as impressive here.

REVIEW: NEVER HAVE I EVER – SEASON 1

 

Never Have I Ever (2020)

Starring

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
Lee Rodriguez (Class of Lies)
Ramona Young (Legends of Tomorrow)
Richa Shukla (Hollyweird)
Poorna Jagannathan (Awake)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (The Flash)
Darren Barnet (Turnt)
Jaren Lewison (Tag)
John McEnroe (Ocean’s Eight)

never-have-i-ever-review-759

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Martin Martinez (Runaways)
Adam Shapiro (Sense8)
Gilberto Ortiz (On My Block)
Hanna Stein (Good Jeans)
Alice Amter (The Big Bang Theory)
Aitana Rinab (UnStoppable)
Angela Kinsey (Laid In America)
Cocoa Brown (Ted 2)
Dino Petrera (Chicken Girls)
Aarti Mann (The Big Bang Theory)
Benjamin Norris (Superstore)

 

never-have-i-ever-3Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is on a mission to up her cool status and, of course, the boys of SoCal are the fast pass to getting it done … Right? Freshman year was horrible for Devi. Her father died, she struggled with hysterical paralysis afterward, and her life as the coolest girl in “orchestra” turned into pity glances and people saying all the wrong things. Well, praises to tennis-god John McEnroe ’cause the bad times are over. This persona non grata has a plan to become “Grata as hell!”Screenshot-2020-04-19-at-10.45.10It’s sophomore year and the future means college and boys…all the boys. The only thing is, the past—and her family—keep bringing Devi back down to earth and she’s not the best at handling her feelings (no, really, she has a short fuse). This girl is a cherry bomb. No one, not her mom Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), not her therapist Niecy Nash, nor her nerd squad besties Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young), not even her trusted narrator (the tennis god and infamous hothead John McEnroe) can stop Devi from popping off with hilariously
heinous results.never-have-i-everSo Devi comes up with a Plan B, um, because her Plan A smelled too much like Mariah Carey (seriously, watch for yourself). Right, so Devi goes with her backup plan: To have sex with the hottest boy in school AKA Paxton H-Y (Darren Barnet). And, he might be up for it…or maybe he’s not. Who can tell with high school hot boys? The point is, our cherry bomb thinks she’s ready for some cherry popping like the SoCal South Indian Kardashian she wants to be. But she can’t do it alone. Nuh uh. Devi also drags her two best friends Fabiola and Eleanor into this plot to date boys who’ll upgrade their social status (because what’s a crazy scheme without your BFFs?). But, thankfully, it turns out there’s more to Paxton than meets the abs and Devi’s plans to get railed get derailed.never-have-i-ever-1Meanwhile, Devi also has to deal with her mom, who wants her daughter to be less American party girl and more of a focused filial daughter. More like her oh-so-perfect cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani) who’s deeply religious, dedicated to her studies, and is fine with an arranged Hindu marriage…sort of…probably…we’re not sure, Kamala has some secrets of her own. And ooh, the family arguments get heated. Which we can all relate to. Right? Praise be to tennis-god John McEnroe because at least Devi has the memories of her dad (Sendhil Ramamurthy) to help her figure things out. Each of the three Vishwakumar women handle their grief in different ways but it’s all painfully authentic.AAAABUYPfgChWv53daq_V4X2aCRHs13os1WUVN9dBatvfIr2B-mRfSwRHg0D4kjGQf06Y98pKA038R4gk-FPg-7BS-UOhl5_bRUfyx6h2adzH43ywlDUNever Have I Ever is a coming-of-age story that flashes back to the classic sitcoms of the 90s era but blossoms into something that reflects what teens are going through now. It’s awkward and way too honest, while dealing with the blues of being multicultural in a world that’s just starting to recognize how fabulous that is—just like its girl squad leads. You know these characters because they were once your friends or your nemeses (or those kids you wish you were at school). Devi is the orchestra nerd who would probably make Tik Toks featuring rocked out covers of pop hits on her harp, if her mom would leave her alone. Fabiola is the robotics nerd, with Black-American and Italian parents, who gets tongue tied because she’s not ready to tell her own truth, but she does know sick fashion from Kohl’s when she sees it. While Eleanor is the drama nerd with a bohemian style and a “suck it” attitude towards conformity—she also has a mom who could out melodramatic all the best K-Dramas on South Korean TV. We know these girls but we don’t get to stream them that often. Yay for us!never-have-i-ever-1Actually, every “high school stereotype” is presented and then smashed before any snap judgements can be passed. Popular jock Paxton is really caring and protective of his loved ones; annoying rich kid Ben (Jaren Lewison) is also sweet and geeky without being laughable; Devi’s life and her family are so much more nuanced than you usually see in teen stories. Which is why we loved this series so much we watched it twice.Screenshot-2020-04-19-at-08.31.26Yet, we do have to say that the start of Never Have I Ever might not grab you at first sight. It so closely resembles shows like The Wonder Years and Freaks and Geeks that you might think you’ve seen it before. Not true. This series allows these kids and their parents to be complex and imperfect and sometimes dead wrong; which allows us to giggle and grow right along with them. They suffer hardships but Never Have I Ever is a lift rather than a stone cold weight, unlike other teen shows that seem to glory in dragging us down.AAAABfWw4yMN_kwsEvaQtIVyVNql9acpS4Xx18BUN8qQiWwKfklPqfYGXA0MvEr5NbQ7-5DAQcGEkAfV483SxMuqMQkVq4PSCE1csYaEekoEFEYSxZLRBeyond Devi’s anger issues and self-involvement—which are so real—Never Have I Ever paints the world around her in bright hues. It shows the struggle of her widowed immigrant mother who feels alone in an America that snatched her husband away, while she’s left trying to parent a child who can’t easily be managed. The series shows the inner conflict Fabiola feels as she finds the courage to speak her truth. It shows Eleanor searching for her sense of purpose after some revelations in her own family. It’s heartbreaking and raw and real. It’s also hilarious. You’ll love this nerd squad for being the shining stars, all while being unflinchingly true to themselves.

HALLOWEEN REVIEW: THE BIG BANG THEORY – THE GOOD GUY FLUCTUATION

b21

CAST

Johnny Galecki (Vanilla Sky)
Jim Parsons (The Muppets)
Kaley Cuoco (Hop)
Simon Helberg (Dr. Horrible)
Kunal Nayyar (Dr. Cabbie)
Melissa Rauch (The Bronze)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Mayim Bialik (Blossom)

5x07-The-Good-Guy-Fluctuation-the-big-bang-theory-26465215-1280-720

GUEST CAST

Aarti Mann (Heroes)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)

5x07-The-Good-Guy-Fluctuation-the-big-bang-theory-26465673-1280-720Sheldon is working late in his office thoroughly frustrated since it’s after nine o’clock. After a sudden blackout, Sheldon finds “blood” dripping down the walls. Then he is scared by a phosphorus-covered skeleton on a zip line. Sheldon is not impressed as Howard and Raj join him in his office. Sheldon turns around to find Leonard in a Balok mask from Star Trek causing Sheldon to faint. At the comic book store, while Sheldon discusses his Texas background meaning that there will be revenge. A good looking girl wanders into the store which Stuart tries to talk to but can’t. She picks up a Hellboy comic book that Leonard was purchasing and then connects with her. (You’re cute.) She offers to make a trade for that one and gives him her phone number. Howard and Stuart were impressed. Stuart takes his picture for the store’s “Wall of Heroes” display.The Good Guy FluctuationSheldon booby traps the mailbox on Leonard, but Leonard turns the prank around and gets Sheldon with it. Sheldon might be from Texas; however, Leonard is from New Jersey. Leonard gets together with Alice, where he shows her a drawing Jim Lee drew of him at Comic-Con. Alice shows him a comic she drew based on her life including her having sex with half of a Chewbacca. She then kisses him and they start to make out, while she offers to trade Leonard her comic for the Hellboy comic. Leonard then offers her his car. Leonard admires the artwork of an amateur comic book artist named Alice. Sheldon’s next target: Raj where he hides a snake in Raj’s desk. Raj opens it and sees the cute snake and takes him to the biology lab to get it some mice.The Good Guy FluctuationLeonard goes over to talk to Penny about his personal relationship dilemma. He wants both Priya and Alice. He wants be one of those guys who goes sneaks around and sleeps with more than one woman. Penny tells him that he is looking for a way to sleep with both women and have everybody be happy about it. That’s what he’s looking for. Sheldon then approaches Howard with a joy buzzer and wants to shake his hand for various reasons. He hears Bernadette who now is sounding more like Howard’s mother. Sheldon shocks Howard who drops to the floor and collapses due to his heart condition. Sheldon freaks out and Bernadette insists that he has to jab a needle of adrenaline into his heart because she isn’t strong enough. Sheldon does it and then Howard wakes up because they pranked him. Sheldon can’t believe he got duped and face palms himself getting stung by his own buzzer.5x07-The-Good-Guy-Fluctuation-the-big-bang-theory-26465689-1280-720After consulting with Sheldon about his dilemma, Leonard actually had good advice from Nietzsche, morality is the fiction created by the weak masses to hold back the strongest in society. Leonard has a formal date with Alice. As they are heading toward sex, Leonard’s conscience gets the better of him. He tells Alice that he has a girlfriend which seriously annoys Alice who calls him just another jerk. Leonard explains that he is a good guy and wants to just be friends. She throws him out of the apartment. As Leonard walks down the hall, he calls himself an idiot. Leonard confesses the incident to Priya over videoconference, and she instantly forgives him. Leonard first thinks she is wonderful and then asks why. She confesses to having slept with an ex-boyfriend. Leonard is very unhappy. Priya explains that it isn’t a contest. Leonard disagrees and tells her that she won ending the call. And then Leonard gets the crap scared out of him by Sheldon hiding inside the couch jumping out dressed as a zombie. (Bazinga, punk! Now we’re even!)5x07-The-Good-Guy-Fluctuation-the-big-bang-theory-26465889-1280-720This was very enjoyable. The two plots were set up early on, both were clear and easy to get into with clear motivations for all involved. The Sheldon story played to his strengths. His inability to be subtle and hide his real motives make pranks ideal comedy.. Leonard’s story was really good. It was a simple moral dilemma that anyone and particularly guys could relate to.

REVIEW: HEROES – SEASON 3

Starring

Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Adrian Pasdar (Supergirl)
Jack Coleman (Spawn)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)
Hayden Panettiere (Nashville)
James Kyson Lee (Sleepy Hollow)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination)
Dania Ramirez (Mojave)

Sendhil Ramamurthy in Heroes (2006)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Brea Grant (Halloween II)
Ashley Crow (Minority Report)
Željko Ivanek (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jamie Hector (All Eyez on Me)
Ntare Mwine (Treme)
Blake Shields (The Hollow)
Robert Forster (Automata)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
Alan Blumenfeld (Pathology)
George Takei (Star Trek: TOS)
Dan Byrd (28 Days)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wofe and Kids)
Demetrius Grosse (The Rookie)
Lisa Lackey (Planet of The Apes)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Sonalii Castillo (The Outpost)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Loren Lester (Red Eye)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
David Anders (Izombie)
William Katt (Carrie)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Aarti Mann (The BIg Bang Theory)
Justin Baldoni (Jane The Virgin)
John Glover (Smallville)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Diana Scarwid (Psycho III)
Ravi Kapoor (Bones)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
Alexa Nikolas (Red State)
Cam Clarke (The Lion Guard)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)

Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia in Heroes (2006)I love the concept of a weekly show about people dealing with superpowers and an evil government agency coming to get them. I also really like that it doesn’t shy away from the violence, especially when it comes to the ruthless power collecting ultimate bad guy (who at times shows his good side) Sylar. What I don’t like is how scattered and uneven this show has become. I dare anyone to try and make sense out of the first half of the season titled “Villains”. The only crime committed was a lack of concern for a coherent plot. Luckily the second half of the season “Fugitives” got the show focused in and back on track. More after the jump…Masi Oka, James Kyson, and Brea Grant in Heroes (2006)The first half of the season “Villains” was advertised with big campaigns claiming that this season “Heroes will battle Villains.” I was super stoked because the way my mind pictured the structure of the show was switching the narrative focus over to the villains and showing the events through their perspective making all the good guys side characters. I realize this sounds a bit ambitious, but coming off of a lackluster sophomore season I thought the creators were pulling out all the stops. This is not what happened. Instead what came out of the first half was a jumbled, messy plot that had moments of brilliance mixed in with a heavy dose of confusion. I still was thoroughly entertained, but I’m an easy sell when it comes to anything comic book oriented.Zachary Quinto in Heroes (2006)The plot of “Villains” centers around the revelation that Arthur Petrelli is in fact alive and planning some dastardly things at Pinhearst, in his search for the catalyst (the nebulous source that gave all these characters powers). If Arthur can get his hands on the formula then he can create a whole slew of super humans to do his bidding. This is a pretty cool plot, especially when a ton of super baddies are released from Level 5 during a crisis leading to HRG and Sylar teaming up to round them up. Sylar has a lot of moral issues this season as he grapples with his true nature, is he a monster or was he programmed by the Company to be this way?Jack Coleman in Heroes (2006)There are some really fun things he gets to do this season, especially the buddy cop-esque episode where he and HRG are trying to stop a bank robbery being held up by super villains. The plot gets confusing when time travel keeps being thrown in and the actual source of the catalyst was jumbled for me. Is it Claire or Hiro’s mother or both or just a formula? I have no idea. There’s also a two-part episode where another eclipse happens and they all lose their powers. I understand why in the dramatic arc of the story this was put in, but it’s not fun to watch superheroes without powers and these two episodes dragged a bit. I liked the initial idea and towards the end the showdown with Arthur and the Petrelli boys is great, but this half loses steam here and there with just too many ideas on the table.Now comes the second half of the season “Fugitives,” which I thought was awesome! Nathan outs himself to the President as being a person with abilities and is then put in charge of rounding up all people like him in the interest of Homeland Security. Nathan’s motives are a bit sketchy, has he turned to the Dark Side or is this all a way to help Claire, or is it a way to work the system from the inside and eventually destroy it? I’m not telling, but there are a decent number of twists throughout. The reason this half of the season works so much better is because there is a clear through-line and the story is way more focused. Basically it’s the U.S. government versus everyone with abilities, as villains team with heroes and the lines of good and bad are blurred to fight a bigger enemy that threatens all their existence. It’s also a classic comic book plot that works well for a reason, because it seems realistic that this is how our government would react if living Weapons of Mass Destruction started popping up all over the country.Hayden Panettiere, James Kyson, and Brea Grant in Heroes (2006)“Fugitives” has a clear bad guy in the ruthless Agent Danko, who will stop at nothing to detain and sometimes simply destroy anyone with abilities. HRG and Angela start playing both sides and their characters have some great moments. Sylar takes a trip down memory lane to try and find out who his real parents are and some interesting new developments come up leading him down a darker path then before. And Sylar acquires his best power yet, when he kills a shape-shifter, could he be any more unstoppable? While Nathan grapples with the morals of the decisions he’s made and how to fix this manhunt he’s started. Not to mention a great deal is revealed when the gang of heroes goes to Coyote Sands to find out about a mysterious project called “Icarus” which turns out to be a concentration camp for people with abilities where some pretty bad stuff went down. Lots of action, suspense, twists, and a more focused plot makes “Fugitives” a bad ass return to form for a series that has had some ups and downs, but is still dear to my nerdcore heart.Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, and James Kyson in Heroes (2006)The first half of season three meandered a bit, but was still fun to watch. The second half reminded me why I started watching the show in the first place and gives a great deal of hope for season four, especially with the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of “Fugitives.” Let’s just say it won’t be politics as usual this coming season…