CBS should end The Big Bang Theory with a flash forward. TV’s number one comedy is gearing up for its series finale this May after it was canceled barely a month before season 12 premiered – a move that boiled down to Jim Parsons’ (Sheldon) reluctance to return. Besides Parsons, the majority of the cast wanted to continue moving forward with the sitcom, but since Sheldon is a huge part of why the show works, CBS simply opted to end it altogether.
The Big Bang Theory is currently on a final extended break, with no new episodes airing until April 4. At this point, the show frankly doesn’t feel like it has properly set up the endgame for each character other than Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon, who are still pining for a Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on Super Asymmetry. Last month, executive producer Eric Kaplan revealed that the writers had yet to nail down the finale, a concerning development consider the criticisms of a direction-less season. A couple of episodes have passed since then, and there’s still no indication that The Big Bang Theory is building toward a clearly defined ending. This late in the game, the best chance at wrapping the Pasadena gang’s narrative in a satisfying way may be to have a flashforward in the series finale.
Assuming that The Big Bang Theory‘s ending will not be a major plot twist – such as that everything in the last 12 years is just a dream – then it’s difficult to see how it will resolve all the show’s lingering plot points organically. As previously mentioned, only the Coopers have a clear arc; the rest either don’t have a major storyline or are in one with little to no progression. Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) fits the former, and considering that their milestones were spread over the years, it’s understandable there’s not much shake-up in their lives right now. That said, it won’t hurt if we finally find out more about Howard’s mysterious father.
Meanwhile, both Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) are treading water in their storylines. Early in the season, the Hofstadters were faced with the dilemma of whether they’ll have a baby or not. After throwing a curveball with Leonard possibly becoming a sperm donor, he eventually declined the offer to the delight of his wife. This doesn’t resolve their initial issue, however, and it doesn’t seem like the show is planning to tackle it again. Raj arguably has got the shortest end of the stick here as his supposed marriage to Anu (Rati Gupta) is almost totally forgotten.
All that considered, rather than having the final couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory rush to resolve everything in real time with a tight bow, letting the characters and comedy breath before having a flashforward for the actual resolution would be much more fitting. Some might feel like it’s a cop-out way to finish the show’s 12-year-run as it will gloss over a lot of plot points leading to where they want these characters to be in the finale, but it’s still much better than putting up an unsatisfying and inorganic, yet nevertheless definitive ending.
A flashforward in The Big Bang Theory finale can be a nifty way to set-up a potential second spin-off with any of the characters outside of the Coopers. Revealing how the gang’s doing five or more years from now will definitely raise questions, effectively becoming the narrative entry that CBS can use to launch a another off-shoot.