Martin Carr reviews the ninth episode of Young Sheldon…
With the usual abstract notions which accompany every Big Bang Theory we venture into another outing of its lesser sibling Young Sheldon. Nuanced, crackpot, scenario specific and nostalgic to a fault CBS keeps mining the solid gold character quirks of Mister Cooper with panache. Building a robust set of circumstances around this would-be sitcom as life lessons continue, Star Trek is referenced and characters develop.
However with everyone back in the house and only a short time span Young Sheldon leaves you wanting. It is this reviewer’s opinion that they could extend the programme by another ten minutes and lose none of the core audience. There is enough chemistry on screen, enough passion poured into those performances and years of ground to cover. That they choose to truncate these episodes down into minimal bite sized portions, may make it an easy watch but also leaves us open to disappointment.
Keeping the running time under twenty minutes may appease audiences with short attention spans but ultimately ruins it for the rest of us. Week on week we get little titbits which are relative to long term fans of Big Bang, often sweetened with minor character moments while not much happens. Charm, low key moments and situational humour have been the hallmark of both shows for some time, but somehow The Big Bang suffers less. Whether this is down to familiarity or the fact that it feels like a studio based comedy, while Young Sheldon feels less so might provide some answers.
In truth there have been very few teenage rites of passage type shows airing recently. Sheldon has proven a perfect fit for that market continuing to outstrip everything else on Thursday nights. That much of what is being shown are repeats has little to do with the programme’s popularity in my opinion. That lies squarely with the cast of unique characters which these showrunners have placed around Iain Armitage. In recent weeks they have moved away from a reliance on their central protagonist allowing others to share the limelight. Cooper the younger has developed into a conduit for everyone else as his interactions influence how others develop. This is done gently without fuss and consistently enriches each episode, as other members of the family are able to impart their knowledge and progress. Last week Sheldon did exactly this with his father who passed on valuable life lessons, while episode nine sees the turn of older brother George. These moments above all make Young Sheldon not only infinitely watchable but mildly addictive as a result. Not a bad thing for primetime television if you are after longevity.