The Big Bang Theory creators Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro have downplayed the immense levels of time, thought and planning that went into creating the show's spin-off prequel Young Sheldon; even billboards for the show are cheeky and self-depreciating, saying that Young Sheldon is from the "small brains" behind the juggernaut that BBT is.
Maybe they were being humble, as the most admirable people often are, or maybe they were genuinely terrified that the new show — so different from its predecessor — might not be the hit its big brother is. Either way, neither their coyness nor any anxiety is warranted, because Young Sheldon is good — and just might be the breakout show of the season.
What's in store when it premieres? Here's everything you need to know.
Young Sheldon premieres at a can't-miss time
Young Sheldon will debut its first episode Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS. Naturally, it'll air after The Big Bang Theory — back for Season 11 — and the Season 2 premiere of Kevin Can Wait. After the premiere though, Young Sheldon will be off air for a while, returning for its second episode Thursday, Nov. 2 at its regular time of 8:30/7:30c after The Big Bang Theory.
Young Sheldon is way different from The Big Bang Theory
Thanks to its a single-camera style (different from Big Bang's multi-camera approach), Young Sheldon is much more intimate, and comes without the laugh track we know from TBBT.
But it's got voices — and people — you'll recognize
Though the story is about Big Bang's leader of the pack, you of course won't see Jim Parsons, because seeing a grown man play a child version of himself would be kind of strange. You will feel his presence though, as his voice narrates the action and drama 9-year-old boy genius Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) experiences while navigating a high school too nonsensical for him, and a family that's not quite sure how to handle him. Other faces you'll recognize include Lance Barber (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who plays Sheldon's exasperated father George, and TV legend Annie Potts playing Sheldon's Meemaw. Fun fact: Zoe Perry, who plays his mother Mary, is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays Mary on The Big Bang Theory.
It's a fish-out-of-water, coming-of-age story for the ages
Young Sheldon's pilot episode reveals a comedy-drama with lots of heart and charm — portraying a precocious tyke made to be a misfit in the mad, mad world around him. It's endearingly sweet, capturing brilliant little Armitage-as-Sheldon navigate a school full of jocks and promiscuous teens, in the process asking probing questions that make us actually re-consider the strange ways our world works today. Set in East Texas in the late 80s, Young Sheldon immerses us in a world where football and faith rule and, to the chagrin of Sheldon, science and reason take a backseat. And thanks to its sympathetic, engrossing tale of a too-smart kid growing up in a confusing world, Young Sheldon has drawn comparisons to other classic kid smarty-pants series including Doogie Howser, M.D. and The Wonder Years.
Young Sheldon offers multiple ways to watch
CBS All Access will show new episodes of Young Sheldon once they air. New episodes be online the morning after they air, too, and available from YouTube, Amazon Video, iTunes and Vudu and Google Play.
Young Sheldon premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)
Liam Mathews contributed to this report.