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Young Sheldon - Pilot - Review: "A Bright Start"

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy phenomenon so imagining a spinoff of that was always going to be difficult, even though it was bound to happen sooner than later. Sheldon Cooper is The Big Bang Theory in so many ways, the show lives and dies with him. We've watched Sheldon grow as a character throughout the eleven seasons from a barely functioning adult to, now a character, who has just popped the question to his girlfriend (Whoever saw that when the show began).

“Young Sheldon” takes us back to the beginning though before we met all the characters we've come to love. This story is about Sheldon and how he grew up in his little town of Texas, with his annoying siblings we've heard so much about. Sheldon has talked about his upbringing on several occasions throughout the show, but now we get to experience it.

Sheldon has always struggled with social interaction, and everyday situations and we get to see that several times during the pilot. He has a hard time speaking to his family as he doesn't understand how he can be so clever and yet have siblings who are the opposite of what he believes is normal, but also situations such as walking through crowds which you can see make him nervous. Sheldon struggles with grasping everyday life. What he believes is normal, isn't what everybody else thinks is. Younger Sheldon is full of arrogance too and is completely oblivious to what is right or wrong, but he doesn't quite comprehend what he's saying or doing.

It's a pleasant surprise to see so much of the Sheldon we know carried over to the spinoff in terms of his quirky personality which I thought would be downplayed a little but it’s good to see it's not been and it's exactly like we remember from season 1. Jim Parsons has always done a brilliant job at portraying Sheldon, but Iain Armitage too does an excellent job of portraying Sheldon's emotions from a younger generation. Though I do wonder how far the show can go in terms of character development considering it must tie into The Big Bang Theory and they can’t develop Sheldon beyond that. We'll see, I guess.

Whilst the Big Bang Theory is a straight up comedy, Young Sheldon feels more like a drama. It has its comedic moments but it does make you feel like you're watching a half hour drama, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as there were many adoring moments throughout that really touched me such as Sheldon holding his dad's hands. Having a comedy play well into the drama aspect is a solid formulation for a successful show, I think. The jokes seemed funny and well timed, and not as cheesy as Big Bang's tend to me.

But, having said all that, the show felt a little forced. The jokes, whilst funny, at times, felt a bit too much - as if they were trying too hard to be funny. If the show doesn't over-push the jokes it will be something worth watching. If it does, prepare yourself for cringey television.

Mary Cooper is my favourite guest appearance on the main show, her presence always makes the episode better in so many ways, from her personality to her bold wittiness. Laurie Mefcalf is perfect in the role so I was a bit hesitant in getting behind Zoe Perry (Despite knowing she's her actual daughter) but she did not disappoint. Her interactions with Sheldon were some of the best bits of the episode. Both actors played of each-other just like we're used to with the older versions, but the rest of the cast, however, I'm still yet to be sold on. The two siblings just kept frustrating me throughout the show. I know Sheldon has talked about them being annoying, but boy was that an understatement. Every scene they were in I just wanted them to go away and not come back, maybe they will grow on me.


Overall, this was a solid premiere with a lot of potentials if they continue to play well with blending the drama and comedy aspects of the show and don't try to overplay the jokes or try too hard to be funny. It needs to be natural for it to work. Ian and Zoe were fantastic throughout and you can see the focus is going to be on them, but some of the other regular cast let the show down a bit. It takes time to get to like all characters so I haven't written them off just yet, I'm just not sold on them yet either. Lance Barber though did a great job in his scenes with Sheldon. Sheldon adores his father, and you can see that through the portrayal of both actors.

It's a real shame CBS decided to wait nearly a month to air the next one because by then I'm sure most people might have forgotten about this show, that could well be a hit.