|Narrated by||Jim Parsons|
|Theme music composer||Steve Burns|
|Opening theme||"Mighty Little Man" by Steve Burns|
|Ending theme||"Mighty Little Man" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||78 (list of episodes)|
|Cinematography||Fred "Buzz" Feitshans IV|
|Running time||18–21 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||September 25, 2017 –|
|Related shows||The Big Bang Theory|
Young Sheldon is an American period sitcom television series for CBS created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro. The series, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory and begins with the character Sheldon Cooper at the age of nine, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. Iain Armitage stars as young Sheldon, alongside Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Montana Jordan, Raegan Revord, and Annie Potts. Jim Parsons, who portrays the adult Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, narrates the series and serves as an executive producer.
Development of the prequel series began in November 2016, from an initial idea that Parsons passed along to The Big Bang Theory producers. The following March, Armitage and Perry were cast, and the series was ordered by CBS. The series premiered as a special preview on September 25, 2017, and two days later, CBS picked up the series for a full season of 22 episodes. From November 2, 2017, new episodes began airing weekly. In February 2019, CBS renewed the series for a third and fourth season. The fourth season premiered on November 5, 2020. In March 2021, CBS renewed the series for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season.
The series takes place in the late 1980s and early 1990s; and follows Sheldon Cooper as a young boy attending high school in the fictional town of Medford, Texas. As a nine-year-old boy (in the first season) attending high school, he tries to fit into the world full of people, including his own family and friends, who do not quite know how to deal with his unique intellectual capabilities and social ineptitude.
Date references are made within the series to anchor the series' time setting. In the series premiere, adult Sheldon states "nobody I knew in East Texas in 1989 cared about Newtonian physics".[a] The second season makes a couple of references to 1990. In episode 11 of that season there is an event called the "1990 East Texas Baptist Olympics", and in the season finale Sheldon is listening to a Nobel Prize announcement which can be inferred to have happened in October 1990. Episode 11 of season two has ALF, a series that ran from 1986 until 1990, featured on the television.[b] In episode 4 of the fourth season, Missy references the song "Ice Ice Baby", implying most likely early 1991.
Cast and characters
- Iain Armitage as Sheldon Cooper, a child prodigy with a "once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science". While well-versed in all types of math and science, he is shown to prefer theoretical physics, stating that he decided to pursue the field around the same time as the show began. While academically gifted, Sheldon lacks a full understanding of social cues and behaviors, in addition to having a sense of superiority over everyone around him due to his intelligence. Sheldon is prone to traveling his own path even if he gets into trouble along the way. Nevertheless, Sheldon has proven to love his family and almost always has his heart in the right place. He is age 9 in the first season and age 10 in the second and third. In season 4 he is 11 and starts college.
- Zoe Perry as Mary Cooper, Sheldon, Missy and Georgie's mother. She is very protective and patient with Sheldon, but also struggles to understand him at times. She is a devout Christian and objects to Sheldon's atheism and derision of Christianity. Nevertheless, she deeply loves her son and wants to protect him for as long as she can.
- Lance Barber as George Cooper Sr., Sheldon, Missy and Georgie's father and the head football coach at Medford High. George does not share Sheldon's intellect, sometimes leading others, especially Meemaw, to doubt his genetic relationship to Sheldon. However, he is often the voice of reason for Sheldon, most notably helping Sheldon convince Mary to allow him to go to college after freshman year of high school. Though he may struggle with understanding his intellectually gifted son, he is a loving father and has defended Sheldon on multiple occasions, earning Sheldon's love and appreciation. As is the case with most people, Sheldon often annoys him. Although he is Georgie's high school football coach, they often butt heads. He also struggles with Missy developing from childhood to adulthood. Barber appeared in an episode of The Big Bang Theory as one of Leonard's high school bullies, before making an appearance via videotape as his Young Sheldon character in a later episode.
- Montana Jordan as George "Georgie" Cooper Jr., Sheldon and Missy's older brother. Georgie resents the attention his parents pay to Sheldon. He is not very intelligent and so is mocked and teased by the rest of the family, particularly Sheldon and Meemaw. He attends Medford High with Sheldon and plays on the school's football team. George Jr. eventually discovers a talent for sales and becomes wealthy from it (as revealed in The Big Bang Theory).
- Raegan Revord as Melissa "Missy" Cooper, Sheldon's fraternal elder twin sister. She teases Sheldon along with Georgie, but not as much. She does not share Sheldon's intelligence, but is very perceptive. She does not always get along with Sheldon, but she finds in her twin brother a solid confidant and has admitted to not feeling as whole without him. She also shows love for her brother. In episode 21 of season one, she asks her father to call her Melissa, and in episode 71 (season four), it is verified that Melissa is her given name.
- Jim Parsons as the voice of adult Sheldon Cooper, who provides the perspective of an adult looking back at his childhood.
- Annie Potts as Constance "Connie" Tucker, Mary Cooper's mother, Sheldon, Missy, and Georgie's active grandmother, whom they refer to as "Meemaw". She can be sarcastic, and often mocks those around her, especially George. On the other hand, she is the most patient and understanding of Sheldon's quirks and advises Mary to trust that Sheldon will find his way. In the fourth season, she was said to be 68 years old.
- Matt Hobby as Pastor Jeff (season 3-; recurring seasons 1–2), the upbeat pastor at the Cooper family's church. Like Mary, he has friction with Sheldon's atheism, but he often challenges Sheldon to explore their line of thought through logic exercises. He was originally given the last name Hodgkins, but it was changed to Difford as of the episode "Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan".
- Wallace Shawn as John Sturgis, a college physics professor whose class Sheldon attended. He dated Meemaw with Sheldon's encouragement.
- Ryan Phuong as Tam Nguyen, Sheldon's Vietnamese-American childhood best friend and classmate. Tam is responsible for introducing Sheldon to many of his non-scientific interests, including comic books and role-playing games. Tam is Sheldon's only friend who consistently puts up with him.
- Wyatt McClure as Billy Sparks, the son of a neighbor to the Cooper family, who is even less intelligent than Sheldon's siblings. He was originally portrayed as Sheldon's nemesis, but becomes much friendlier early in the series.
- Billy Gardell as Herschel Sparks, Billy's father who owns a garage.
- Melissa Peterman as Brenda Sparks, Billy's mother and Mary's nemesis who works at the bowling alley frequented by Meemaw.
- Doc Farrow as Assistant Coach Wilkins, Sheldon's P.E. teacher and the assistant football coach at Medford High. He was originally given the name Roy, but it was changed to Wayne as of the episode "A Broom Closet and Satan's Monopoly Board".
- Valerie Mahaffey as Victoria MacElroy, Sheldon's homeroom and English teacher at Medford High.
- Danielle Pinnock as Evelyn Ingram, Sheldon's math teacher at Medford High.
- Brian Stepanek as Hubert Givens, Sheldon's science teacher at Medford High.
- Rex Linn as Tom Petersen, the principal of Medford High.
- Sarah Baker as Sheryl Hutchins, the Medford High librarian.
- Nancy Linehan Charles as Peg, Pastor Jeff's chain-smoking secretary.
- Isabel May as Veronica Duncan, Georgie's Halloween date who is introduced in "Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan". She converts to Christianity after seeing the "lust" room in Mr. Lundy's haunted house and loses interest in Georgie, who continues trying to win her over.
- Craig T. Nelson as Dale Ballard, Missy's baseball coach and Meemaw's current love interest; he owns a sporting goods store and hires Georgie to work there.
- Chris Wylde as Glenn, the owner of the comic book store King Kong Comics.
- Mckenna Grace as Paige Swanson, a child prodigy whom Sheldon views as his rival.
- Andrea Anders as Linda Swanson, Paige's mother.
- Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Grant Linkletter, a colleague of Dr. Sturgis. He regularly pursues Connie but is continually rebuffed.
- Mary Grill as Officer Robin, Pastor Jeff's second wife who works as a police officer
- Ava Allan as Jana, Georgie's girlfriend after he gives up on dating Veronica.
- Melissa Tang as Ms. Fenley, a music teacher at Sheldon's high school. Tang had previously played the character Mandy Chao in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
- Bob Newhart as Arthur Jeffries, a scientist who plays the title character of Professor Proton, Sheldon's favorite educational television series. The character is a homage to Mr. Wizard. Newhart reprises his portrayal of the character from The Big Bang Theory.
- Vernee Watson as Nurse Robinson, a nurse who caters to George when he suffers a mild heart attack and then to Sheldon when he has his gall bladder removed. Watson also plays a nurse named Althea in numerous episodes of The Big Bang Theory, including its pilot.
- John Hartman as Dr. Goetsch, the psychiatrist Sheldon sees when he has Phagophobia and when he loses at the Medford High science fair.
- Ray Liotta as Vincent, Meemaw's bookie.
- Jason Kravits as Dr. Ronald Hodges, a NASA engineer and college roommate of Mr. Givens. He makes a presentation about his work to Mr. Givens' science class, which intrigues Sheldon to solve the challenges of reusable launch systems.
- Elon Musk makes a cameo appearance in the episode "A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac®" in a flashforward scene set 27 years into the future.
- Dave Florek as Dr. Eberland, Sheldon's doctor.
- Karly Rothenberg as Mrs. Janice Veazey, Dr. Hodges' secretary.
- Frances Conroy as Dr. Flora Douglas, headmaster of the boarding school Sheldon briefly attends.
- Harry Groener as Elliot Douglas, Dr. Douglas' husband.
- Paul Yen as Le Nguyen, Tam's father. He runs Medford Mart with his wife.
- VyVy Nguyen as Trang Nguyen, Tam's mother and Mr. Nguyen's wife.
- Phil Morris as the voice of One and Anjali Bhimani as the voice of Zero in a dream Sheldon has.
- Richard Kind as Ira Rosenbloom, one of Meemaw's boyfriends.
- Zuleyka Silver as Selena, Pastor Jeff's ex-wife
- Anjelika Washington as Libby, an eleventh grade student who aspires to be a geologist and whom Sheldon and Tam befriend.
- Jason Alexander as Mr. Gene Lundy, Medford High School's resident drama teacher.
- Ella and Mia Allan as Bobbi Sparks, Billy Sparks' younger sister with a reputation for tormenting Sheldon.
- Cleo King as Mrs. Costello, a Medford High School counselor.
- Michael Cudlitz as a NASA supervisor who appears in Sheldon's daydream sequence.
- Josh Cooke as Barry Swanson, Paige's father.
- Ella Anderson as Erica, Paige's sister who bonds with Georgie and Missy, as they share common experiences being siblings of child prodigy.
- Paul Fusco appears as ALF in "A Race of Superhumans and a Letter to Alf" when he reads Missy's letter.
- Mauricio Lara as Ricky, Sheldon's hospital roommate in "A Tummy Ache and a Whale of a Metaphor"
- John Rubinstein as Rabbi Schneiderman
- Benjamin Stockham as Preston
- Maree Cheatham as Dorothy, Veronica's grandmother.
- Kaley Cuoco as the voice of the pool water in one of Sheldon's nightmares. Cuoco previously played Penny in The Big Bang Theory.
- Diedrich Bader as the voice of Batman in one of Sheldon's daydreams.
- Steve Burns as Nathan
- Reba McEntire as June, Dale's ex-wife.
- Taylor Spreitler as Sam, a member of Sheldon's project group.
- Nolan Bateman as Keith, a member of Sheldon's project group.
- Louie Anderson as Ralph, the owner of a trophy shop where Mary wants to buy one for Missy.
- Ryan Stiles as Dr. Bowers, Sheldon's dentist.
- Cyndi Lauper as herself, Missy's poster.
- Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon's wife and the mother of his son, Leonard Cooper. This role is reprised from The Big Bang Theory.
- Melanie Lynskey as Professor Dora Ericson, Sheldon's college philosophy professor
- Wendie Malick as President Linda Hagemeyer, the president of Sheldon's university.
- Dave Foley as Gary, Sheldon's university benefactor.
- David Hasselhoff as himself
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Avg. viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||September 25, 2017||May 10, 2018||6||16.30|
|2||22||September 24, 2018||May 16, 2019||5||14.37|
|3||21||September 26, 2019||April 30, 2020||8||11.45|
|4||18||November 5, 2020||May 13, 2021||TBA||TBA|
In November 2016, it was reported that CBS was in negotiations to create a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory centered on Sheldon Cooper as a young boy. The prequel series, described as "a Malcolm in the Middle-esque single-camera family comedy" would be executive produced by The Big Bang Theory co-creator Chuck Lorre and producer Steven Molaro, with The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady expected to be involved in some capacity, and intended to air in the 2017–18 season alongside The Big Bang Theory. The initial idea for the series came from Jim Parsons (who portrays the older Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory), who passed it along to The Big Bang Theory producers. On March 13, 2017, CBS ordered the spin-off Young Sheldon series, which was created by Lorre and Molaro. Jon Favreau directed and executive produced the pilot. Parsons, Lorre, Molaro and Todd Spiewak also serve as executive producers on the series, for Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. On September 27, 2017, CBS picked up the series for a full season of 22 episodes. On January 6, 2018, the show was renewed for a second season, which premiered on September 24 of that same year.
On February 22, 2019, CBS renewed the series for both a third and a fourth season. The third season premiered on September 26, 2019. Warner Bros. Television suspended production on March 13, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the third season with only 21 episodes. Production for the fourth season began on September 22, 2020, but was paused on October 9, 2020, for one day, due to a positive COVID-19 test. The fourth season premiered on November 5, 2020.
On March 30, 2021, CBS renewed the series for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season.
In early March 2017, Iain Armitage was cast as the younger Sheldon, as well as Zoe Perry as his mother, Mary Cooper. Perry is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who portrays Mary Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Lance Barber stars as George Cooper Sr., Sheldon's father; he had previously appeared in one episode of The Big Bang Theory. Raegan Revord stars as Missy Cooper, Sheldon's twin sister; Revord getting the part only after repeatedly asking her mother to be allowed to read for the role. Also starring Montana Jordan as George Cooper Jr., Sheldon's older brother. Jim Parsons reprises his role as adult Sheldon Cooper, as narrator for the series. In July 2017, Annie Potts was cast as Meemaw, Sheldon's grandmother.
Overlap with the parent series
In most cases different actors are used to portray a given character in the two series, to account for the age difference. Jim Parsons is a notable exception in that he appears in both series as the same character, though in this series his appearance is limited to voice only. In the Season 4 episode "Graduation", Mayim Bialik (as Amy, the wife of Adult Sheldon) has a brief voiceover role while Sheldon describes the graduation party for their son Leonard, whom he reveals was named after Leonard Hofstadter and Leonard Nimoy. Bob Newhart appears as Professor Proton in both series; with the appearance in this series the character is made to look younger. Iain Armitage (Sheldon), Lance Barber (George), and Montana Jordan (Georgie) make a guest appearance in the parent series in a scene in which a VHS tape recorded decades earlier is played. There are other actors who appear in both series but as different characters. This includes Barber, who had another guest appearance in the parent series as a different character, and Kaley Cuoco who stars in the parent series and makes an uncredited voice appearance in this series, voicing an inanimate object. Elon Musk makes cameo appearances as himself in both series.
The second-season finale episode aired immediately following the one-hour series finale of the parent series. In a tribute to the parent series finale, several references are made to the parent series in the Young Sheldon episode. The references are both general to the entire parent series, as well as to the series finale in particular. In one scene in the Young Sheldon episode, Sheldon promises his father that when he wins the Nobel Prize, Sheldon will mention him in his acceptance speech. In the parent series finale, Sheldon wins the Nobel Prize. In another scene in the Young Sheldon episode, Nobel Prize winners are announced out over a montage showing the main characters from the parent series Leonard, Penny, Raj, Howard, Bernadette and Amy as children. Christine Baranski and Carol Ann Susi, who respectively portray Leonard's mother and Howard's mother in the parent series, make a voice appearance in the montage (a posthumous appearance in the case of Susi). Following the montage, adult Sheldon says that he was wrong about feeling at the moment of the Nobel prize announcement that he would be all alone for the rest of his life.
The show's title sequence is played to the song "Mighty Little Man" by Steve Burns. The song is the first track in Burns' 2003 album Songs for Dustmites. The title sequence was changed in Season 3 to include the entire Cooper family. Prior to Season 3, the title sequence only showed Sheldon. Along with adding the entire Cooper family, season 3 also made some of the opening sequences unique by having Sheldon dress up in different costumes for different episodes.
Young Sheldon began airing weekly episodes on CBS from November 2, 2017, after The Big Bang Theory. It premiered as a special preview on September 25, 2017.
In the United Kingdom, Young Sheldon is broadcast on free-to-air channel E4, with the season 1 premiered on February 22, 2018. Subsequent seasons premiered on November 8, 2018 and October 10, 2019 for seasons 2 & 3 respectively. However, the season 4 release date has not yet been announced. In fall 2021, the series is set to enter syndication in local markets, covering roughly 90% of the United States.
In May 2020, it was announced that the first three seasons of the series would stream on the WarnerMedia-owned HBO Max service; no release date was announced at that time. The first three seasons were added on September 2, 2020. In India, season 4 can be streamed on Disney Cartoon.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Viewership
|1||Thursday 8:30 p.m.[c]||22||September 25, 2017||17.21||May 10, 2018||12.44||2017–18||6||16.30||3.3|
|2||22||September 24, 2018||10.58||May 16, 2019||13.60||2018–19||5||14.37||2.6|
|3||Thursday 8:00 p.m.[d]||21||September 26, 2019||8.24||April 30, 2020||10.14||2019–20||8||11.45||1.6|
|4||18||November 5, 2020||6.77||TBA||TBD||2020–21||TBD||TBD||TBD|
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 76% approval rating with an average rating of 6.61/10 based on 45 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Young Sheldon's appealing cast and relatable themes bring a fresh—and overall enjoyable—perspective to its central character's familiar story." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 63 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Awards and nominations
|2018||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress||Raegan Revord||Nominated|||
|Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Teen Actor||Montana Jordan||Nominated|||
|Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actor||Iain Armitage||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Breakout TV Star||Nominated|||
|2019||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Zoe Perry||Nominated|||
The first season of Young Sheldon was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Bros. on September 4, 2018. Similarly, the second season was released on DVD on September 3, 2019 around the same time the Blu-ray was released through Warner Archive Collection. The third season was later released on DVD and manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray on September 1, 2020 by Warner Home Entertainment and Warner Archive Collection respectively.
- Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Linkletter, two college physics professors who teach the classes in which Sheldon enrolls, are not introduced until Season 1 Episode 19 and Season 2 Episode 13 respectively.
- In the clip, ALF is reading a fan letter from Missy, so the footage is not from the original show.
- Both seasons premiered on a Monday, with all the other episodes in the respective seasons broadcasting at the designated time slot.
- The eleventh episode of the fourth season aired at 8:30 p.m. due to President Biden's address on the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 shutdown which aired on 8:00 p.m. on March 11, 2021.
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