Young Sheldon - First Look Review: Pre-nerd

Young Sheldon.jpg

Chad White

Young Sheldon
Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of CBS’s Young Sheldon starring Iain Armitage, Zoe Perry, and Lance Barber.

What is wrong with him?

Take a look at that subhead. It’s the one question viewers will be hearing for the rest of Young Sheldon’s run. And, if the ratings are good, it’ll run for a while. The Big Bang Theory prequel series isn’t a multicam and it’s not as crowd pleasing as its future counterpart. But what it does have is heart. It can be safely said that any non-fan of the original series (like this reviewer) can easily watch it without fear of being alienated with F-flat jokes. Young Sheldon is pretty alright.

The show, of course, is about the childhood of the older Sheldon Cooper in Texas. He joins his older brother (Montana Jordan) in high school, already on the course to be a genius. Sheldon’s life is stymied by familial troubles. His parents have very little money, his father is nonattentive, and his siblings dislike him. Add these to his list of other problems like students, other kids, and teachers hating him too. Maybe it’s a mental disorder he suffers from. Maybe he’s too smart. But it’s all funny because he’s a kid and we can laugh at that.

The pilot – which garnered a whopping 17.21 million viewers – does well enough to plant the seeds of exposition. Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro took up writing duties while Jon Favreau, who is also an executive producer, directed. This group coupled with the actors results in a welcoming introduction into the Big Bang universe. Again, there are no nods to the original series (though, those are bound to pop up) yet whatever is there already (Sheldon’s germaphobia) helps add to a developed character.

With a familiar yet new world, capable hands behind the camera and a big property, where does the show falter? It’s mild in terms of fresh jokes for one. And there’s at least one character that should die soon so viewers have that to look forward to. And there’s not much new the show is bringing to the single camera world. Young Sheldon doesn’t have to reinvent the form of sitcom but it sure doesn’t add to it.

Should you watch Young Sheldon?

Fans should like it. Outsiders don’t have to. Ratings are the only thing stopping this show from achieving CBS’s version of “greatness.” For now, it’s a harmless show that anyone can put on and enjoy.