Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pilot Review: Young Sheldon

Young Sheldon (CBS)
Premiered September 25 at 9:30pm

I’m not a regular watcher of “The Big Bang Theory,” but I’ve sampled many episodes over the years due to its frequent Emmy nominations. I’m in the camp of those who thought that this show wasn’t a good idea simply because it was unnecessary, and I found it hard to believe that anyone was clamoring for a flashback to what the incredibly precocious Sheldon was like as a child. Yet here this show is, and the good news is that it isn’t nearly as ill—fated as I had expected. What surprised me most is that it doesn’t have a laugh track, a signature both of CBS sitcoms and creator Chuck Lorre, whose new Netflix series “Disjointed” even has one. The effect of its absence is that this show is framed in a more dramatic way, showing one bright young boy whose own nature compels him to get ahead of himself on a regular basis. I’m not familiar enough with the original series to know about Sheldon’s past and if he has any relationship with his siblings or his father, but I do know that Laurie Metcalf has been Emmy-nominated multiple times in the past for her portrayal of Sheldon’s mother. I think that Zoe Perry, who plays Mary here, is the strongest part of this show, aside of course from Iain Armitage, who recently appeared on the Emmy-lauded “Big Little Lies.” This show could be fun, I’m sure, though like the one that spawned it, I don’t feel at all compelled to add it to my viewing roster.

How will it work as a series? This pilot took an expected course, and I’m not sure what else would come next. Sheldon doesn’t fit in – we know that – and so I don’t know how many people can embrace him before it feels like he’s having too easy a time navigating life. I do enjoy his repeated offers to become the leader for those around him, so there’s certainly entertainment to come regardless of quality or believability.
How long will it last? The reviews are pretty good, though of course that doesn’t mean all that much to the ratings-dependent CBS, which constantly depends high viewership. Fortunately, the ratings were extremely good, retaining almost everyone who watched the original show’s premiere Monday night. I expect a season two renewal soon – this seems like a great way to expand a very successful brand. And earlier today, it already got picked up for a full season. Talk about a fast and fantastic response!

Pilot grade: B

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