Pint-Sized Bazinga! ‘Young Sheldon’ Flashes Back to a Junior Cooper

Iain Armitage
Fall Preview
Benjo Arwas/TV Guide Magazine & Contour by Getty Images Portrait Studio at TCA
Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon

If you Ever wondered what The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper was like as a child, the new prequel Young Sheldon has your answer. The heartwarming sitcom is set in 1989 East Texas, when the 9-year-old socially awkward genius (Big Little Lies’ Iain Armitage) is just starting high school. “Sheldon is still very much an outsider,” executive producer Steven Molaro explains. “At one point he’s asked if he’s having trouble fitting into high school and his response is, ‘I have trouble fitting into Earth.’”

Family life with his parents, older brother and twin sister also poses a challenge for the brainiac. Viewers of Big Bang already know about Sheldon’s strained relationship with his dad, George (Lance Barber), who dies when Sheldon is a teen, but Young Sheldon offers “a cool opportunity to see a little bit more of what was going on between them beyond how Sheldon perceived it,” Molaro says. Big Bang star Jim Parsons, who is also an executive producer, narrates as adult Sheldon. (The sitcom debuts with a post–Big Bang sneak-peek episode and then returns in November.)

Keeping everyone in line—or at least trying to—is Sheldon’s mom, Mary (Zoe Perry, whose real-life mother, Laurie Metcalf, plays the character on The Big Bang Theory). “She’s very protective of her son,” Molaro says. “He loves her to the end of the Earth, and it’s quite a beautiful relationship to watch.” Mary knows that Sheldon “is exceptional in a lot of ways but has his very own unique struggle,” Perry adds. “She is a mama bear when it comes to her kids.”

Young Sheldon, Premieres Sept. 25, 8:30/7:30c, CBS (moves to Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, on Nov. 2)