As a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular sitcoms of the 21st century, Young Sheldon has been an unsurprising hit since it debuted in 2017. While the show departs from its parent in terms of how it's filmed, and even contradicts its future show's canon, it's found a home among plenty of fans.
However, even though it's incredibly popular, there's plenty about Young Sheldon that most viewers, and even many fans, are completely unaware of about the show. That is about to change.
Although The Big Bang Theory was created to focus on four nerdy adult males, Jim Parsons made Sheldon Cooper the breakout character of the series. As Sheldon is one of Jim Parsons' best roles, it's no surprise that he got a backstory-spinoff; what is surprising is that Jim Parsons himself suggested it.
Parsons approached the Big Bang Theory producers at least a year before the show aired, and eventually, the idea reached fruition and became a reality. Parsons is also an executive producer on Young Sheldon, as well as its narrator.
Having adult Sheldon narrate his childhood as it plays out was inspired directly by the 1980s TV show The Wonder Years, which takes place in the 1960s and '70s. Both it and Young Sheldon focus on a young boy's journey toward adulthood, and have a focus on nostalgia for the time period depicted.
The other influence was Malcolm in the Middle, a show also about quirky family and with a number of great side characters that add a lot to the show. Both this and the Wonder Years connection have definitely helped Young Sheldon stand apart from The Big Bang Theory.
With Netflix and other streaming services like Disney+, HBO Max, and Paramount Plus producing their own content in droves, it would be a fair assumption to think that CBS's parent company, Paramount Global, was the one producing Young Sheldon.
However, Paramount's direct competitor, Warner Bros. Television, actually makes Young Sheldon, as well as its parent show The Big Bang Theory. This is why the show ends up streaming on HBO Max as opposed to Paramount Plus.
Speaking of Warner Bros., in the 2019 episode "Teenager Soup and A Little Ball of Fib", Batman himself (a Warner Bros. property) makes a cameo appearance in a daydream that Sheldon has. While it's a funny gag, the studio chose someone specific to play the role.
Diedrich Bader, veteran Batman voice actor since 2008 and Batman voice for Harley Quinn, actually provided the voice of the Caped Crusader. It begs the (silly) question, though: is Batman in this world voiced by an actor who shares Diedrich Bader's voice, or is Sheldon actually able to see the future, but only when it comes to Batman voices?
Jon Favreau's best movies are pop-culture icons, and his involvement with Star Wars TV shows starting with The Mandalorian has been part of what's gotten Star Wars fans so excited for Disney+ offerings in that universe.
Interestingly enough, Favreau also directed Young Sheldon's pilot episode. This is far from uncommon in TV shows, where a well-known director is brought on to helm the pilot for both publicity and aesthetic reasons. Favreau's Young Sheldon involvement ends there, but few know or remember it existed at all.
Sometimes, TV shows happen to bring actors back in a different role which then makes eagle-eyed fans start to question the continuity of the show or a universe of shows. With Young Sheldon, this notably happened with Sheldon's father, played by Lance Barber.
In a 2011 Big Bang Theory episode, "The Speckerman Recurrence", Barber played a high-school bully of Leonard's. Then, in 2018, he appeared as Sheldon's father on a VHS tape, which makes this funny instance of a continuity conundrum even more glaring... but also hilarious to try to explain away.
This casting decision doesn't break continuity like Lance Barber's dual casting did; in fact, if anything it does the opposite, by strengthening the connection between Young Sheldon and Big Bang Theory.
Zoe Perry portrays Sheldon's mother, Mary, in the 1980s-set spinoff, although the role was originally introduced on the parent show, where Mary is portrayed by Laurie Metcalf... who in real life is Zoe Perry's actual mother! Talk about a family business! So, there's a really smart reason for Perry's casting.
Laugh tracks were introduced into TV shows from nearly the beginning of television, because producers wanted to recreate the feeling of watching the show in a theater and laughing alongside others. The precedent remained for decades, from I Love Lucy to The Big Bang Theory itself.
However, when comedy shows like Arrested Development and The Office (U.S.) found massive success without the laugh track, the practice began to quickly fade out. Now, in the 2020s, a show with a laugh track stands out like a sore thumb.
Like it was for Jim Parsons, playing Sheldon Cooper has been young actor Iain Armitage's breakout TV role, but it wasn't his first. Before this show, he'd previously appeared on Impractical Jokers, Little Big Shots, Law & Order: SVU, and Big Little Lies.
Even though he was only born in 2008, Armitage has already made quite a name for himself in the industry, and it will be interesting to see where his career goes after Young Sheldon.
Of course, as stated, Armitage has won plenty of success already in this role, and that includes winning a Young Artist Award for playing Sheldon Cooper after only one season of the show had aired. There's making an impression, and making an impression quickly.
Armitage is an impressive young actor whose award was well-deserved. Although Young Sheldon had a built-in audience, the show rests on his performance, and he pulls it off very well.