Sitcom spin-offs are a very mixed bag. For every Frasier there are a thousand Joeys just waiting to be commissioned by ill-advised television execs.
It’s therefore hardly a surprise to hear that a Big Bang Theory spin-off series is on the way.
In fact, the only real shock is that it’s taken show creator Chuck Lorre this long to hit upon this money-spinning way of continuing the sitcom phenomenon.
Now in it’s 10th season, Big Bang Theory continues to attract average audiences of up to 19 million people in the US alone. Despite the show’s continued success, however, it continues to divide audiences.
As difficult as it may be to believe, there are people out there that genuinely think Big Bang is one of the best sitcoms of all time and hold each of the show’s stars in pretty high regard.
Then are those who make it their mission to unmask the show as the fraud they believe it to be. One commonly witnessed technique on YouTube, sees naysayers remove the show’s laugh track in an attempt to reveal how devoid of actual jokes the show is.
More recently, Big Bang was exposed once again by a re-edit that saw the audience laughter replaced by that of Ricky Gervais.
In any case, these attempts have done little to prevent CBS from unveiling plans for a sitcom following the early years of the show’s breakout star, Jim Parson’s Sheldon Cooper and it sounds terrible in almost every conceivable way.
For starters, the show won’t necessarily utilise the comedic talents of Parsons.
Big Bang Theory may be a patchy show at best but, in Parsons and co-stars like Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, the programme does at least boast a cast with impeccable comedy timing.
And given that Sheldon represents a substantial part of why people continue to watch Big Bang, it seems strange that the show will focus on a nine-year-old version of the character with Parsons taking on the role of narrator.
The idea of Parsons narrating events certainly has shades of Chris Rock’s Everybody Hates Chris or The Wonder Years might sound like a neat enough idea but it fails to note the possible downfall of such an approach – Sheldon is no Daniel Stern.
How I Met Your Mother utilised the dulcet tones of Bob Saget to give the show a warmth and familiarity it otherwise didn’t warrant.
Quite how Sheldon, a character known for his social awkwardness, ritualised routine and hyper-sensitive, highly-educated approach to all areas of his life will serve as the anchor of a show about a nine-year-old is anyone’s guess.
Then again, the show may not end up being a straight-up sitcom of sorts.
John Favreau has been recruited to direct the pilot and, given his experience behind the camera comes primarily in the world of film rather than sitcom land, there’s every chance we could be heading into “dramedy” territory with a single camra format.
Lorre, who will produce, has worked almost exclusively in sitcoms and is likely to take more of a back-seat role in the series with plenty of other projects in the pipeline.
Then there’s the show’s high school comedy setting which, given Sheldon’s awkward character, is unlikely to provide much in the way of belly laughs – in Big Bang he famously recalls how his time at school – and his homelife – were far from enjoyable.
The pressure will also be on Parson, once part of an ensemble, to take on the mantle of an entire show, something Matt Le Blanc struggled with after Friends. Throw in the focus on the inexperienced child actor Iain Armitage as the Young Sheldon and you have a potential recipe for disaster.
High school sitcoms rarely have a long shelf life either and, should the show fail to find an audience immediately, then the show could be over before it has even begun.
It all amounts to an unoriginal and uninspired idea populated by tired characters and full of the usual TV clichés and tropes. The ideal show for fans of Big Bang Theory then.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.