We can’t prove it, but we think there may never be a comedy as big as The Big Bang Theory again. The CBS sitcom about a group of nerdy friends who know all about science and geek culture but have no idea about love and life was the highest-rated comedy on television for years, and its absence continues to be felt since it wrapped up its 12-season run in 2019 by fans and network execs. About half as many people who watched The Big Bang Theory look Young Sheldon, you know? No other comedy cracked The Big Bang TheoryThe exact equation of success. Luckily, there are plenty of shows that do something similar.
This list contains comedies and light dramas with like the one between Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco), eccentric characters like Sheldon (Jim Parsons), an appreciation for the scientist, a The Big Bang Theory actor, or a combination of all. We stopped Friends, which has similar friend group dynamics, and two and a half men, which was also produced by super-producer Chuck Lorre and set The Big Bang Theory‘s hits, because they’re a bit too obvious. But our choices are still as tight as Wolowitz’s (Simon Helberg) jeans.
Looking for more recommendations on what to watch next? We have a ton! We’ve also got handpicked selections based on shows you already love, plus suggestions for what to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Peacock.
After The Big Bang Theory complete, Kaley Cuoco has found a project that leverages her strengths as a bubbly personality while allowing her to push herself in a darker, more dramatic direction. The stewardess, produced by Cuoco, is a fun, fast-paced thriller about Cassie Bowden (Cuoco), who tends to drink too much from those airline-sized liquor bottles and makes bad decisions. One of those bad decisions gets her caught up in an international conspiracy after waking up next to the murdered body of the handsome passenger (Michiel Huisman) she ended up with in Bangkok. She tries to piece together what happened and clear her name, but she can’t remember. If Penny was your favorite part of The Big Bang Theory, you have to watch The stewardess, which is essentially what would happen if the FBI suspected Penny of spying. Season 2 is coming this year, featuring new cast member Sharon Stone.
Well, we have to include a super obvious show, because it’s essential for any big snap fan. Young Sheldon is The Big Bang Theory‘s spin-off about the early life of its most popular character, telling the story of boy genius (Iain Armitage) as he grew up misunderstood in East Texas in the late 80s and early 90s His parents (Zoe Perry and Lance Barber) love and protect him, but they can’t always relate to him. It’s cute, wonderful years-influenced sitcom that is more family friendly than The Big Bang Theory and has a very different look and style (it’s a single-camera comedy). But Sheldon has always been Sheldon, and Jim Parsons as adult Sheldon tells of the future.
how I Met Your Mother
For a large part of The Big Bang Theory, he shared space on the CBS program with how I Met Your Mother, which also followed a group of mostly single friends as they experienced romantic ups and downs. The New York series has a unique setting device for a sitcom, in that the show is a story told by Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) to the future to his children about his life as a young man. Like TBBT, it’s an ensemble comedy with a breakout character that puts the show on its back. HIMYMSheldon’s version is Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), a womanizing d-bag you can’t help but love, because there’s just something about him. You can skip the new spin-off how i met your father, although.
This highly rewatchable Fox sitcom is, like The Big Bang Theory and countless other sitcoms, about the romantic ups and downs of a group of friends in New York or Los Angeles (Los Angeles, in this case). What sets it apart are the truly hilarious performances from Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris, as well as the generally well-executed run between Johnson’s Nick Miller and Zooey Deschanel’s Jessica Day. It’s like Penny is adorkable and Leonard is a total lunatic.
Scorpio was conceived as a dramatic counterpart to the corny comedy of The Big Bang Theory. The premise is basically “What if the Big Bangers were action stars?” The four-season CBS action drama follows a computer genius named Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel), who leads a team of scientists, hackers, and other super-smart nerds as they carry out missions technological security for clients, most often the Department of Homeland Security, but also individuals and companies who need their expertise. Penny’s role is filled by Katharine McPhee, who plays a non-nerdy waitress who helps geeks understand the “real world.”
Another nerdy light drama that TBBT fans might find attractive is BONE. Emily Deschanel plays Temperance “Bones” Brennan, a forensic anthropologist who helps FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) solve crimes with the help of science. Bones has a lack of social skills similar to Sheldon’s, and there are several seasons of willpower between Booth and Brennan. And while BONE isn’t exactly a comedy, it provides plenty of laughs.
Mom doesn’t get much attention these days, but she’s been quietly and steadily going for eight seasons. It is produced by TBBTfrom Chuck Lorre, the reigning king of television comedy, and tells the story of Christy Plunkett (Anna Faris) and her mother Bonnie (Allison Janney), who are both in Alcoholics Anonymous and trying to put their lives back together on rails. Mum had a heart like The Big Bang Theory developed in its later seasons from the start, and covers addiction and recovery more thoroughly than most shows. Janney won back-to-back Emmy Awards for supporting actress in 2014 and 2015.
3rd Rock of the Sun
This sitcom aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC and is still funny today. It stars John Lithgow as the leader of a group of aliens who are on a research mission to Earth and pose as family in order to observe the behavior of these curious human creatures. And they’re not very good at it. He has a quirky sense of humor similar to The Big Bang Theory, and is about a group of strangers finding their place in the world. Lithgow’s character, Dick Solomon, even worked at a university, as did the big Bang gang.