Last Thursday marked the end of yet another Big Bang Theory season leading up to what could be the show’s untimely end. The CBS sitcom which has remained on the air since September 2007 will reach the coveted 10 year mark come September 2016, a slam-dunk for not only show-runners Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steven Molaro, but for the dedicated legion of fans whose dedication knows no bounds. The show has grown in this amount of time with half of the guys getting hitched and the other half not too far behind. It’s been a fun 9 years to say the least.
When CBS announced an optimistic three season order for the show, fans such as I rejoiced, finalizing that immortality is imminent for the gang of scientists (and Penny). Here’s the kicker, though. We’re about to reach that third preordered season with Season 10. Typically by now we’d hear word from either CBS, Lorre, the cast or somebody that the show has plans beyond Season 10. You’d actually assume that at least Season 11 was already preordered. It hasn’t. So what gives?
Now that it’s been a week since the season 9 finale, I’m no longer the only person wondering whether to start writing the show’s obituary or not. I mean if it’s ending, fine. Just let me know so I have enough time to transcribe it in Klingon… Anyway, this will no doubt be a big topic among fans this summer probably leading up to Comic Con, which by then we most certainly will get an answer.
Unfortunately, until pen is put to paper on a contract extending the show past Season 10, all we can do is guess. Many are already having the conversation of if the show is ending. So, I’d rather answer a more challenging question. Instead of will the show end, should the show end.
Before I go forward I want to make this clear. This is not a hate post for the show. I love the Big Bang Theory just as much as the next guy. It’s one of my favorite shows of all-time, ranking second only to Friends. Plus, it’s easily my most discussed show on this blog. I’ve been following it for years and have full intention on sticking with the show to the bitter end. This is just an interpretation of factors. It’s coming from a place of love, not hate.
First, let’s look at this from the perspective of those involved with show: the cast, crew and studio. Is there any reason on their end to cut the show short?
That seems to be a flat no for the most part. Anyone looking into this situation will find that everyone’s very on board for a hypothetical Season 11. Jim Parsons was even quoted saying he’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would walk away from a Season 11. This gives me the vibe that their in as long as everyone else is also in. Thankfully, this is the Big Bang cast, and they’ve handled the challenge of juggling sitcom with other projects very well. (Anyone who follows their social media knows that). The only thing that may cause a stir is another salary dispute, which I don’t think is likely.
The show-runners are cool with the show continuing, too. However, these comments are a bit more daunting than that of the cast. Steve Molaro in particular had to backpedal from a comment he made claiming the show is wrapping up. His new stance is that its possible, but that he wouldn’t be bothered by Season 10 being the end. As for co-creator Chuck Lorre, he’s optimistic of the show continuing passed Season 10, saying that fan demand is enough reason for him to keep going. The common theme among the two, though, is that their primary concern is making Season 10 great, with anything beyond that being an afterthought.
Could this be the two easing fans into the idea of the show ending? Maybe. The important thing is that they’re willing to write for the show long term, which is a good thing.
How about the studio? This in particular we don’t know. We have received little word from CBS as to their take, probably because the deal isn’t final and any comment from them would mark a definitive answer. Though simple numbers dictate that CBS would be very cool with the #1 comedy on TV continuing as long as money is still flowing. Sure the final numbers for Season 9 aren’t in yet, and I hear there’s a bit of a ratings decline from last year, but nothing too pronounced. Hell, say the show drops to even TV’s #2 comedy. It’s still an impressive number.
Now that we’ve seen where the major players stand on the show’s future, it’s all up to one factor: fan demand. This is where things get tricky.
I took to several popular sites that allowed fan reviews and ratings (Rotten Tomatoes, TV.com, Metacritic, IMDb). And to what I understand, fan appreciation for the show has been strong with the show…for the first few seasons. The general consensus seems that the last couple seasons have gradually went downhill to what is now a drastic point with Season 9. (And honestly I agree. Season 9 was pretty weak). People are now calling the show tired and no longer funny, some even suggesting the show would be cancelled.
I know that the Internet doesn’t speak for all of the show’s fans, but these critiques are at the very least telling of where the show is now. The fan demand is no longer as strong as it was in the beginning, such is the fate of most shows that exist for a certain amount of time. Though if we were to assume they’re right for a moment, then the easy assessment to make is that the longer the show goes on the more it’ll decline in quality. That goes back to the ratings which can continue to go down, which makes CBS want to drop it and the cast and crew less inclined to continue.
So going off of all that, the basic point is this: if the quality of the show maintains at least this level of quality or excel enough to compel audiences to sing a different tune, then I do believe the show should continue. Otherwise, if Season 10 ends up being worse received than Season 9, maybe ending the show isn’t a bad idea. It’ll be better to end the show good enough than to run it to the ground.
With a popular show like The Big Bang Theory, if the quality is good, everything else will fall into place. You already have everything you need to make the show last as long as you want: a cast and crew who are willing to go the distance, good ratings, and ironically loyal fanfare. Big Bang Theory fans are very dedicated to these characters and have pushed through the rough due to that dedication. The key is to simply capitalize on that. Make Season 10 kick ass, and we’ll be all-in for Season 11 if you so decide it!
Do you agree with my take? Should The Big Bang Theory go on for as long as they can or end before it has the opportunity to get worse? Let me know in the comments below.
If you like The Big Bang Theory, click here to check out “MY Top 5 Favorite Big Bang Theory Episodes“!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!