Warning: Spoilers For The Big Bang Theory S11 Premiere Ahead
The Big Bang Theory returned to the small screen this week with an episode that saw yet another pair from the core cast getting engaged! Season 10 ended with Sheldon (Jim Parsons) proposing to Amy (Mayim Bialik), and season 11 started with her enthusiastic acceptance, leaving poor Raj (Kunal Nayyar) as the only member of the gang yet to make that commitment. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) are married after years of on-again-off-again romance, Sheldon found his soulmate in Amy, and even Howard (Simon Helberg) is now married to Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), with one child born and another on the way.
Of course, seeing every major character coupled up and starting families is usually the death knell for sitcoms like this, which begs the question: is this the beginning of the end for The Big Bang Theory?
Twelve Seasons And A Spin-Off
Things may seem to be wrapping up, but season 11 is not going to be the last. Earlier this year, CBS confirmed the sitcom was renewed for two more seasons, bringing it up to a bare minimum of twelve seasons in total. There's been no news of renewals beyond that, but that's not too surprising as most shows are renewed one season at a time based on how the current year is doing. The cast was also in extensive pay negotiations this year, as the core cast took cuts to bring up the pay-per-episode of Rauch and Bialik.
In addition to the confirmed twelfth season of the show, a new spin-off also launched this week—Young Sheldon. The prequel to the sitcom centers on a nine-year-old Sheldon (Iain Armitage) as he starts High School, and deals with many of the same issues that the adult Sheldon still faces. With a solid opening episode and strong premiere ratings, it looks like Young Sheldon may even continue beyond the series that spawned it.
A Thirteenth Season?
There is no news yet regarding much longer The Big Bang Theory will continue beyond season 12, but it does feel like the series needs to wrap up soon. Sheldon and Amy will be married, Howard and Bernadette will have two kids, and Leonard and Penny opened up a conversation about having their own children in the season 11 premiere. As a show that began with the story of nerds looking for love, it seems the series has to change significantly or come to a close. Jim Parsons, speaking to EW, said that while he wouldn't confirm an end after the season 12, he would be happy if that's when it ended, and would see Young Sheldon as a successor to the show:
There’s no way, as an actor, I’m going to feel anything other than: ‘We left that all on the table.’ It’s been a wonderful ride. I’m fulfilled in so many ways. Knock on wood, if [Young Sheldon] goes on for a little while, I hope it has a somewhat incidental therapeutic effect. Certainly on me, maybe on the cast as a whole. It may help the death not be quite as total.
It certainly sounds like Parsons feels that there isn't much story left to tell, and he's ready for the spin-off to carry the torch from that point on. While it's possible CBS keeps the show alive as long as it keeps raking in the money, signs are definitely pointing to The Big Bang Theory wrapping up at the end of season 12.