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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Ranking this season's shows

November 11, 2010 |  8:30 pm

Once again, “The Big Bang Theory” plods along, finding its mojo at certain times but not putting together a satisfying episode overall. A lot of fans are wondering why the show is so uneven this season. Indeed, the show has been OK most weeks and inspired in only a few.

Thursday’s episode, “The 21-Second Excitation,” falls right in the middle. It’s not bad TV, and neither is it particularly good TV. It’s just average TV, and we already have plenty of that. If you need a strong whiff, just watch NBC for a couple of nights. Talk about a network that has lost touch with America.

But back to Bang. The most recent escapade finds the boys waiting in line to see a midnight showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  It’s a decent premise, but the bigger laughs come out of the B story, which finds the girls — Penny, Amy and Bernadette — having a girls' night out. Give it up for Kaley Cuoco, whose straight-faced deliveries seem to get better every week. Best line of the week comes when Bernadette compliments her nails, to which Cuoco's character, Penny, says: “I found a place in a basement in Alhambra. I think it’s a front for human trafficking, but they do a really good job.”

The boys’ story is just OK, as noted above. There’s a good pop at the end, when they're shut out of the midnight showing when Sheldon's nemesis, Wil Wheaton, shows up and receives VIP seating. To get even, Sheldon steals the canisters of film. The sight of him running down the street with 100 nerds chasing him is a nice final scene. In between, just middling stuff, from a show that should be doing better.

Seems they are starting to build toward some sort of Penny-Leonard reprise, so maybe it’ll be a strong finish for what was once one of the top two or three sitcoms on the air.

 What’s your take? Here is my ranking of this season’s eps, from best to worst:

1. Friends undermine Howard's high-security project, Nov. 4

2. Sheldon dates Amy Farrah Fowler, Sept. 23

3. Leonard has a date; Sheldon meets Amy's mom, Oct. 21

4. Sheldon tries to extend his life, Sept. 30

5. Midnight movie goes awry, Nov. 11

6. Sheldon seeks alternative companionship. Oct. 7

7. Leonard sleeps with Raj’s sister, Oct. 28

8. Howard and his fantasy lovers, Oct. 14

Photo: The gang goes to the movies in the Nov. 11 episode. Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS.