Will ‘Young Sheldon’ Be Able to Fill the Hole Left by ‘The Big Bang Theory’?
It’s unusual for a popular TV sitcom to have a direct spinoff of a character in real-time at a different age and still make it somehow work. Such a thing has never been tried on television, other than Saturday morning animated offshoots from popular live-action shows in the 1970s and ’80s.
Young Sheldon is now the live-action equivalent, including residing on the same network with its counterpart, The Big Bang Theory. Even if the younger (late 1980s) version of Sheldon is sometimes a bit outrageous, the adult character of Sheldon was already an over-the-top parody of the high I.Q. geek living at CalTech.
Fans have had fun watching the TBBT and Young Sheldon connecting strings. What happens when the former finally ends at the end of this season?
‘TBBT’ expanded the genre of the intellect vs. everyone else
The concept of an intellectual clashing with more average-minded people isn’t necessarily new. Cheers more or less started the idea with the role of Frasier Crane spouting his intellect to bored bar patrons. Their spinoff Frasier expanded this exponentially, making for a hilarious and instant classic sitcom.
The Big Bang Theory basically lifted from this idea, but took it even further. We saw a massive intellect who can solve complex theoretical physics equations in minutes, yet ultimately has no social skills and can barely function in the real world.
Jim Parsons made Sheldon Cooper into an iconic character and kept the above comedic setup going for 12 years. Wisely, Young Sheldon played up the very same concept while giving room to expand.
The two shows have purposely given clever connecting strings
Some of the characters we’ve all known on The Big Bang Theory also have childhood counterparts on Young Sheldon, including references to things we know occur later.
This co-existence of the two shows has been fun for fans who love ironic connections between the past and the future. Of course, we currently see this in one show thanks to NBC’s This is Us. Having it happen with two different shows, though, gives a chance to create separate universes and make individual points.
Young Sheldon has its own style and gave young Iain Armitage a chance to shape his own interpretation of what Sheldon was like as a kid.
Even more amusing is seeing how a kid like Sheldon tried to fit into a typical high school in 1989-1990 America.
‘Young Sheldon‘ may keep ‘TBBT‘ fans happy for years to come
With The Big Bang Theory ending this spring, a lot of its most ardent fans are wondering how they’ll cope with the loss. Based on ratings, Young Sheldon does almost as well in the ratings each week as TBBT. When YS first debuted, it also garnered the highest ratings of any spinoff in TV history.
Thanks to the show keeping the same tone as its adult counterpart, don’t be surprised to see it continue doing well and appease those who can’t live without Sheldon in some shape or form.
Plus, it’s not hard to imagine seeing some of the adult TBBT stars making cameos in future seasons of Young Sheldon. The two already had a crossover episode recently, giving a primer on how the two can cleverly blend each universe.
How long will ‘Young Sheldon‘ last?
After 12 years, the TBBT franchise has obviously developed an obsessive fanbase. Young Sheldon could stay popular enough where it continues almost as long as its original source.
At such a point, you have to start thinking about how much more meta the show could become. Imagine the show lasting for 17 years where it ends right at the year when TBBT began in 2007.
Doing this might require a real physics equation the teenage version of Sheldon would likely help explain.