Sit-com is most-watched TV program this side of the border
Times & Transcript
Published Thursday October 13th, 2011
Big Bang is making a lot of noise this year.
That’s the most logical explanation for the phenomenal – and continuing – supernova-like performance of The Big Bang Theory, Canada’s most-watched TV program in the present time continuum. Not just most-watched comedy, or most-watched sci-fi sitcom, but most-watched program. Period.
More than 3.6 million Canadians tuned in last week, placing Big Bang atop the ratings charts – ahead of Survivor, ahead of The Amazing Race, The X Factor, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI and (thankfully) even a certain sitcom starring Ashton Kutcher in lieu of Charlie Sheen.
Why, it’s almost enough to make one think Star Trek is cool again.
Star Trek is germane because, in tonight’s Big Bang episode, The Russian Rocket Reaction, the gang pays homage – again – to Star Trek: Next Generation with a party at Wil Wheaton’s house, with Wheaton playing himself. Brent Spiner, who played the cult character Data in the eight-year series, also appears as himself.
Big Bang devotees know that physics savant Sheldon Cooper (consecutive Emmy winner Jim Parsons) has had an ongoing feud with Wheaton, dating back to a 2009 episode in which Wheaton soundly thrashed Sheldon at a Mystic Warlords of Ka’a tournament. (You had to be there.) Wheaton has appeared in three Big Bang episodes so far; tonight will be his fourth. He is fast becoming Moriarty to Sheldon’s Sherlock Holmes.
The Big Bang Theory’s makers have managed to take a slender concept – mismatched misfits looking for love – and turn it into one of TV’s most ardently followed comic romances.
Tonight’s outing was co-written by Big Bang co-creator Chuck Lorre, the same writer-producer who created Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly, from an idea conceived by fellow Big Bang creator, Bill Prady.
That suggests the episode will be more weighty than a rote, run-of-the-mill outing from one of Big Bang’s junior staff writers. As with most sitcoms, Big Bang’s one-liners are hit and miss, and the quality varies from week to week.
Star Trek is low-hanging fruit for a comedy about science nerds with an obsessive longing for a TV show that’s no longer on the air. As Sheldon himself ruefully remarked in an episode from last December, The Alien Parasite Hypothesis: “In difficult times like this, I often turn to a force stronger than myself.”
Make it so. (CTV, CBS, 9 AT)