Last season, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) tied the knot, but in a somewhat rushed ceremony since Howard was being sent up into space to join the crew of the International Space Station. Season Six has Howard still in space, and he stays there for several episodes, only interacting with the rest of the cast through phone and video calls. While Howard starts off loving his time in zero-G, the isolation and time in space does start to wear on his nerves.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group finds themselves down one friend. Raj (Kunal Nayyar) ends up filling the void with Stuart (Kevin Sussman), the comic book store owner. While Stuart has been a regular in the show before, he seems much more prevalent this time around, especially in the episodes where Howard is still on the space station. Stuart's role as a Howard-replacement is mentioned many times, in fact Sheldon (Jim Parsons) actually calls him fake-Howard on several occasions. Not only does Stuart show up at Sheldon and Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) apartment more often, but he and Raj end up spending quite a lot of time out on the town. Even when Howard comes back to Earth, Stuart stays Raj's friend and the two end up having the same kind of escapades that Raj shared with Howard before the new astronaut's marriage. Stuart isn't Raj's only companion this season. He actually ends up in a relationship that, if memory serves, is his longest one on-camera yet.
As for Howard's time back on Earth, he goes through quite a few changes this season. Not only is he constantly reminding people of his time in space, but both he and Bernadette are treading new territory in their relationship since they were separated almost immediately after their wedding. The first hurdle is, of course, getting Howard to move out of his mother's place, but even after that is settled, they have a fight over money, and even one on Howard's constant mention of being an astronaut.
For the most part, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard's relationship stays pretty steady this season. In Season Five, Leonard proposed to Penny in a rather unexpected way, and it seems the time between seasons led to the pair staying together, but cooling off a bit. This changes pretty early in the season, but even so, it seems like their relationship is less of a focus this time around.
A relationship that seems to get a lot of focus this season is Sheldon and Amy's (Mayim Bialik). While the two are still at arm's length as far as physical interaction is concerned, the pair really do grow closer together in a manner that would seem odd for any other TV couple. Well, okay, it's still odd, but given Sheldon's character, it isn't all that unexpected.
While the various romantic relationships are a major part of The Big Bang Theory, a major part of the show's magic is how the guys behave with each other. This season really excels at bringing back the classic feel of these relationships. These relationships are most obvious with episodes around playing D&D, episodes having the guys going to a convention dressed like Star Trek: The Next Generation characters, and even the semi-annual fight between Leonard and Sheldon that threatens their friendship. This season also helps to grow the relationships between the three girls too. One noticeable change is the lack of awkward semi-lesbian comments every time Amy and Penny are in a scene together. With that out of the way, it seems like more natural relationships could develop, especially when the girls discuss their guys. A particularly favorite moment involves Penny, Amy and Bernadette buying some comics in order to figure out why the guys enjoy them so much. The results are a nice bit of role-switching.
The Blu-ray's special features include a pair of featurettes that focus on Howard's time in space. One interviews Helberg, Mike Massimino and Buzz Aldrin (those last two played themselves in the show), about how the zero-gravity scenes were filmed compared to actual weightlessness. The other featurette on this subject is about the episodes themselves.
The release also comes with a series of interviews between the cast members about the various relationships. There is one for Penny and Leonard, one for Amy and Sheldon, one for Howard and Bernadette and even one featuring Nayyar talking about Raj and his relationships. Rounding out this list includes a half-hour panel from PaleyFest 2013 where the cast and crew talk about the show, as well as a lengthy gag reel.
After the last few seasons, I was starting to give up on The Big Bang Theory. I still found it enjoyable, but not nearly as much and not nearly as funny. It was nice to see that the showmakers were able to find the right way to mix all of the seven main characters together in a way that never left me feeling like someone was left out (last season that was Raj). Any waning fan should give this season a try, because it should win you back.