The pilot episode of Young Sheldon is already on the air and this show is a spinoff of the show The Big Bang Theory. My friend wants to watch this show, but he hasn't watched TBBT.

So, is it required to watch The Big Bang Theory in order to understand the plots of Young Sheldon or traits of this character, or is there no real need?

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    Young Sheldon is prequel to big bang theory, its not necessory to watch TBBT before Young Sheldon. Expect plenty of The Big Bang Theory Easter eggs!
    – J M
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 4:59
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    @irsha Just because it's a prequel does not mean that it can be watched on its own. Prequels can be made with the assumption that the viewer has seen the source materials (and therefore skips on exposition, which a new viewer relies on to understand the narrative). However, the fact that it is labeled as a separate show should suggest that it can be watched on its own.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:05
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    After watching all the episodes till now my answer stays the same
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 16:04

5 Answers 5


Based on the premise set in the pilot, I will say No. As it looks fully self-contained.

It's a show about an odd-one-out kid which is apparently Sheldon, that's it. We get to know about his family dynamics when he was young. Though I have not seen The Big Bang Theory much, still I was fully able to understand it. It even gave no vibe of The Big Bang Theory to me and appear like a different show altogether.

And from the old cast, we just hear Jim Parsons doing voice over and Zoe Perry reprising her mother's younger version, which is played by her mother Laurie Metcalf in TBBT. And there is a possibility that we will be getting the answer of Sheldon's personality trait from the new show as we got about his inability of driving.

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    This is the second time Perry plays a younger version of her mom, BTW. The first time was on Roseanne.
    – Walt
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 6:28
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    @Walt ohhh, not following the show so didn't have knowledge about that
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 6:29
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    It's done very much like The Wonder Years (but set in the 80's and in Texas) I'm not really The Big Bang Theory fan (I watch a random episode once in while), but I really was taken with the Young Sheldon Pilot. In the Pilot, the older Sheldon also narrates in voice over--I don't know if that will continue or not, but if so, then I suspect if there is something more vital that relates to TBT, it probably will be addressed, even though surely there are probably easter eggs too! Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 16:47

It's not necessary to watch The Big Bang Theory to watch Young Sheldon. It would certainly enhance your enjoyment of Young Sheldon to have watched TBBT, as there should be plenty of references to TBBT within.

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    This this the most accurate answer I feel. "It's not necessary, but you should" watch TBBT before Young Sheldon.
    – RC0993
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 4:23

Based on what I have seen so far (one episode) I would say "No". As with most prequels/sequels it is likely that links between the shows which get included will be enjoyed/understood better if one is familiar with both, but the opener seemed to provide enough character detail to allow one to watch it without being familiar with "The Big Bang Theory".

On the other hand, I would recommend that your friend consider watching TBBT not just because it might enhance his enjoyment of "Young Sheldon" but because it's a great show. But that's just me. :)


There are really a lot of references to BBT in Young Sheldon. One misses a lot of the fun if one is not familiar with Sheldon's idiosyncrasies.

For instance, why he considers a good idea to bring a hot drink to anyone who is sad or upset.

One sees how they started. If one does not know them, the joke is lost. So though it is not absolutely necessary, I would strongly recommend watching at least a good fraction of BBT first.


I watched Young Sheldon's first four seasons without realizing it was a prequel to TBBT.

It is a self-contained show. You can absolutely watch at least a first few seasons without watching TBBT.

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