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The Big Bang Theory Season 12 Set Up A Much Better Final Season

Given how uneven the storytelling was of The Big Bang Theory season 12, it would’ve had a better finale if it had been renewed.

In 2019, The Big Bang Theory season 12’s finale marked the end of the sitcom, but it could’ve actually led to a much better ending for the series. After more than a decade on the air, the popular CBS show finally wrapped up its run in 2019. This came as a surprise to many considering that The Big Bang Theory had remained popular, with consistent high ratings for the network. In fact, CBS was contemplating ordering at least another year for the show before the cancelation was announced.

The Big Bang Theory’s end came because of Jim Parsons’ decision to exit the show. Playing Sheldon Cooper, he’s one of only two characters who were in the original script — the other being Johnny Galecki’s Leonard Hofstadter. The sitcom’s pilot had to be reworked after a less-than-ideal response from the studio executives, resulting in the addition of Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar as Penny, Howard Wolowitz, and Raj Koothrappali. Later on, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch were promoted as series regulars as Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette Rostenkowski, rounding up the Pasadena gang. Instead of moving forward with an incomplete cast for season 13, series creator Chuck Lorre and the cast decided to wrap up the show altogether.

Surprisingly, despite some story and pacing issues in its final year, The Big Bang Theory delivered an emotionally satisfying ending. There was no massive life-changing incident that made it feel like the end of an era. Amy and Sheldon just won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on Super Asymmetry, while Penny and Howard revealed that they were expecting their first child. Amidst all these life milestones, the friends still went about with their usual lives, coming back to Apartment 4A to eat together. But as poignant as this ending was, the show could’ve had a better one if it continued with season 13.

The Big Bang Theory’s final season had terribly uneven storytelling: so much of it was focused on the Coopers, whether that’s their personal or professional arcs, that the rest of the cast felt like an afterthought. The other stories either felt rushed or inconsequential compared to Sheldon and Amy’s storylines. If The Big Bang Theory season 13 happened, the sitcom could’ve evenly spread out the focus of its narrative. It’s understandable that CBS wanted to build on Amy and Sheldon’s Nobel bid since much of the finale was about it, but the plot dragged and had unnecessary twists and turns. With their main arc already finished in season 12, the potential fresh year would have more time to develop the other characters’ arcs.

This would be especially useful for the Hofstadters, whose pregnancy arc felt rushed and unearned. The Big Bang Theory made a big deal out of their conflict about having kids, with Penny adamant about being child-free, while her husband desperately wanted them. This was the first significant arc that the couple has had since getting married, so many fans were thrilled to see their relationship making some progress after being stagnant for so long. But, in the end, it felt forced and inorganic as Penny, for some reason, was suddenly okay with being pregnant. With more time The Big Bang Theory could’ve fleshed out this storyline for a more satisfying pay-off.

The same could be said with Raj’s story in The Big Bang Theory season 12. He seemed genuinely happy getting a girlfriend in Anu (Rati Gupta), but in the middle of the season, the plotline was dropped, with the pair deciding to break up out of the blue. So, in the end, there was barely any progress in Raj’s overall arc. He was almost the same character at the start and the end of the show which was disappointing. Continuing with The Big Bang Theory season 13 could’ve brought the show back to its ensemble roots with more balanced storytelling.

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